Change of leadership at the Courage Campaign

One of California’s most prominent liberal activists – and that’s saying somethin’! – is taking a leave of absence from the group he founded in order to become Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s deputy chief of staff.

Rick Jacobs will step back from his post as founder and chairman of the Courage Campaign, and will be replaced there by Dr. Paul Song, who has been a member of that organization’s board.

Paul SongSong, 48, of Santa Monica, is a radiation oncologist on the faculty at the Samuel Oschin Cancer Center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and is the Chief Medical Officer of American River Nutrition. An outspoken advocate for universal healthcare, he was named by Jones in January as the California Department of Insurance’s first visiting fellow. Song also serves as an executive board member of Physicians for a National Health Program California, as well as on the boards of Liberty in North Korea and People for the American Way. His wife is journalist and talk-show host Lisa Ling.

Song’s involvement in state and local politics has included working to help elect Democratic U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Tim Kaine of Virginia; House members Tammy Duckworth, John Garamendi, Mark Takano and Henry Waxman; state officials including Controller John Chiang, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones; state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg; and Garcetti.

The Courage Campaign claims an online grassroots activism network of more than 750,000 members.

“Paul is made to order to lead Courage to the next level,” Jacobs, who’ll remain on the Courage Campaign’s board, said in a news release. “He shares the political and moral convictions that have made Courage a leader in state and national progressive work. I look forward to continuing to work with him over the years ahead.”

Song said after having watched the Courage Campaign fight for last year’s state income and sales tax increase, for same-sex marriage and for other liberal causes, he’s thrilled to take the group’s helm. “Courage Campaign, and our members, are fighting everyday for a more progressive California and country, and I could not be more excited to lead the team.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.