Contact Information

Riki Rafner
Director of Media & Public Relations
For Immediate Release

Richard Rubin Named Commonwealth Club Board Chair

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.  (January 9, 2017)  Richard Rubin, an attorney and the founder and president of Richard Rubin Associates, a public affairs management and business development consulting firm, has been named the chair of the Board of Governors of The Commonwealth Club of California. The Club is the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum.

As chair of the Commonwealth Club Board he succeeds John Farmer, former general partner and senior director of Goldman Sachs. Mr. Rubin has served as vice chair of the Club’s Board for the past two years. Now Rubin joins the ranks of an illustrious group of men and women who have served as Board Chairs of the Commonwealth Club, including actress and diplomat Shirley Temple Black. 

 “I am honored to preside over this important non-partisan organization—especially in such historically tumultuous times,” noted Mr. Rubin. “The Commonwealth Club continues to serve as a critical venue where the gamut of views and opinions are aired, debated and explored. I am especially excited about welcoming our guests, members and donors as we move into our new home at 110 The Embarcadero.” 

Dr. Gloria Duffy, president and CEO of the Club, remarked, “With over 40 years of experience in public policy, law, business and teaching, Richard is ideally suited to lead the Club at this time. He possesses tremendous business and public affairs acumen, which will facilitate our transition into our new HQ and play a pivotal role in leading the Club to enrich public debate and dialogue at this contentious time. He has been incredibly committed to the Bay Area community for decades, and to the Club for over a decade.”

Currently Mr. Rubin, who is an attorney, lectures extensively on contemporary public policy issues and writes a regular column on political and government issues that appears in the Marin Independent Journal and on the blog site Fox & Hounds.  In 1987 he launched Richard A. Rubin Associates, a government relations/business development firm, which over the years has offered counsel to hospitals, insurance companies, hi-tech startups, transit providers, water technology and environmental engineering firms, architectural firms, commercial and residential developers, and non-profit organizations. 

Mr. Rubin is also a visiting professor at the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco, where he teaches courses on the presidential and congressional elections. He has also served on the graduate faculties at the U.C. Berkeley Extension in the School of Business and at Golden Gate University. 

Mr. Rubin has been a California resident since 1974 and was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

In 2007 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Mr. Rubin to the California Workforce Investment Board, to which he was reappointed by Governor Jerry Brown as a member of its Executive Committee. Former Governor Gray Davis appointed Mr. Rubin to the California Small Business Board where he served as vice president. He has also been a member of the California LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) and is the only Marin resident ever to have been elected to the State LAFCO Executive Board. Mr. Rubin was also a long-time member and vice president of the State Bar Board of Governors. 

He has advised numerous elected officials and candidates at state and national levels.  In earlier years, he served as legislative assistant to U.S. Senators Harrison “Pete” Williams (N.J.) and John V. Tunney (CA) in Washington, D.C, and was executive director of the New Jersey Urban Affairs Council. Thereafter he organized and directed the Navajo Nation Office of Congressional Affairs in Washington, D.C. 

He  has held numerous positions in Marin County for more than four decades, including chairing the Strawberry (Mill Valley) Recreation District Board, and serving on the Corte Madera Board of Adjustments and on the College of Marin Community Foundation Board. 

Mr. Rubin is also the president emeritus of the Berkeley Repertory Theater Board of Directors.  His philanthropic interests have included the San Francisco Girls Chorus, where he served as vice president, and a stint as Board president of San Francisco’s Self Help for the Elderly. 

Mr. Rubin is a past trustee of Kenyon College in Ohio, where he was an honors graduate in political science and the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award “for personal contributions by an outstanding alumnus.” He also received the Gregg Cup, the college’s most prestigious award given annually to a graduate “for history of service to the college.” 

In addition to his law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C, Mr. Rubin holds a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College, and a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University in New York. 

Richard Rubin and his wife, well-known San Francisco government relations consultant H. Marcia Smolens, live in Marin County. 

At least 1 million people listen to The Commonwealth Club’s weekly radio broadcasts on more than 230 public and commercial stations across the country. The Club’s podcasts are downloaded about 2.5 million times each year. The Club’s videos also appear on the California Channel, C-SPAN,, and YouTube, where they have been viewed millions of times. For the past eleven decades, the Club has fostered free speech and civic dialogue on a wide range of topics, addressing key issues in society, culture, politics, the economy and more in over 450 live programs each year. For more information, visit