Meet the CAJ Team


Executive Director

Michael has spent the last 20 years of his career navigating the politics of infrastructure related to transportation, transit, water, and goods movement funding. Since his appointment as Executive Director of CAJ in 2016, Michael has help lead efforts to secure hundreds of billions of dollars in new funding that have built thousands of infrastructure projects across California. In 2016 the Alliance successfully worked to pass over $30 billion in local transportation measures across four different counties. In 2017, the Alliance led a coalition of over 500 groups supporting the passage of SB1, a historic $52 billion state transportation funding package. That coalition continued into 2018 with the success of the No on Prop 6 campaign, defeating a ballot measure that would have repealed the SB1 gas tax increase and funding for over 6,700 local transportation projects. Currently CAJ continues to advance responsible investments in Californias road, transit and water infrastructure that support a stronger economy and middle-class jobs.

His broad portfolio covers strategy and communication related to effecting successful outcomes in legislative, political, and regulatory issues, as well as statewide ballot initiatives and local infrastructure measures. Michael paid his way through college by working in the construction industry before attended New Mexico Military Institute while serving in the Army National Guard.  He graduated in 2002 from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in History and Political Science. He currently lives in El Dorado county.


Deputy Director

Manuel S. Leon (“Manny”) is Deputy Director of CAJ and is responsible for transportation policy, and regulatory and legislative affairs. Prior, he served as the vice president of government relations for the Associated General Contractors of California where he developed legislative strategies and managed the day-to-day operations of the government relations team consisting of local government relations, regulatory affairs, and state legislative advocacy. 

From 2015 to 2020, Manny served as the principal consultant to the California State Senate Committee on Transportation and senior consultant for the California State Assembly Transportation Committee 2013-2020. In 2017, he served as the lead staffer for Senate Bill (SB) 1 (gas tax) and SB 595 (Regional Measure 3).

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach. Upon finishing graduate school, Manny was selected to the Assembly Fellows Program, where he worked for then-Assemblymember John Laird.

In his free time, Manny enjoys a variety of sports leagues, running races, and giving back to the community. He was elected to the Sacramento Natural Foods Cooperative Board of Directors in October 2020 and is the board’s current Chair. From 2014-to 2020, he served on the River City Food Bank, also in Sacramento, serving as Board Chair in 2017, and was appointed by the Sacramento City Council to the City of Sacramento’s Administration, Investment, and Fiscal Management Board serving as board Chair from 2019-2021.


Director of Operations

Jennifer is the glue that holds the Alliance together. As Director of Operations, she’s responsible for CAJ’s internal operations, provides administrative support to the Executive Director, and serves as liaison to the Board of Directors. Prior to her time with CAJ,  Jennifer served as an Administrative Assistant in the Senate Policy Unit for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and was a Committee Assistant for the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Born and raised in Sacramento, she enjoys hiking with her dog Vinnie. While Jennifer also loves to travel when time allows, she’s frequently surrounded by her wonderful friends and family, including her nieces and nephews.