politics and

Rob Caughlan

Rob Caughlan (left) and Jerry McNerney 2006Rob Caughlan (left) and Jerry McNerney 2006

Above: Rob Caughlan (left) and newly-elected Congressman Jerry McNerney on election night 2006

2006: Press Secretary and Communications Director

In 2006, then California Congressman Richard Pombo was named “Wildlife Enemy Number One” by the Sierra Club. Vowing to stop Pombo, Rob Caughlan spent the entire year working as Press Secretary and Communications Director for BOTH of Pombo's opposing candidates – Pete McCloskey (Republican) and Jerry McNerney (Democrat). In the end, McNerney won what was labelled “the upset of the decade.”

1984 to 1991: Surfrider Foundation

Rob Caughlan was the very first president of the Surfrider Foundation. He served a total of six consecutive terms. The Surfrider Foundation sued the paper pulp mills in Humboldt County, California.

Rob worked closely with attorney Mark Massara. The case was filed charging the paper mills with 40,000 violations of the Clean Water Act over a ten-year period. The Surfrider Foundation won their case and settlement papers were signed in 1991 on Massara's 30th birthday.

In terms of money the mills were fined, it was the second largest victory for clean water in American history. But in terms of violations, it was the largest. (read more...)

cartoon of man clapping for Pete McCloskey documentary

©1993 Paul Duginski

1980-1983: California Solar Cal Council

Caughlan was a board member appointed by Tom Hayden.

1977- 1980: White House

Caughlan worked as Special Assistant to the Deputy Administrator Barbara Blum, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Caughlan also worked as White House staff for President Carter’s Solar Energy Task Force and The Global 2000 Report to the President. (read more...)

Conservationists for Jimmy Carter decaldecal produced by The Roanoke Company for the Conservationists for Jimmy Carter presidential campaign in 1976

1976: Conservationists for Jimmy Carter

Caughlan was the California Chairman.

1973: Friends of the River

Headwaters Newsletter cover 2009Headwaters is a newsletter that is published two times a year by Friends of the River (FOR)

Rob Caughlan, David Oke, Jerry Meral, and David Kay came together and founded Friends of the River in order to prevent the deliberate flooding of a long scenic stretch of the Stanislaus River as a result of the construction of the New Melones Dam and Reservoir. (The Stanislaus River flows through the deepest limestone canyon in the western United States.)

Friends of the River (FOR) gathered signatures to place an initiative on the statewide ballot to protect the Stanislaus as a California state Wild & Scenic River. Although the flooding was not prevented, Friends of the River remains and today is a statewide river conservation organization that provides political action, conservation information, river trips and action alerts.

1970's (early): Speech Writing and Consulting; his clients included –

Dianne Feinstein : Dianne Feinstein (Democrat) is currently the senior United States Senator from California and has served in the Senate since 1992. She also served as 38th Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988.

Alan Cranston : Alan Cranston (Democrat) was California State Controller from 1958 to 1968. He was then a Senator from California from 1968 to 1992. He also unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1984 election.

Jay Rockefeller : John Davison "Jay" Rockefeller IV (Democrat) is currently the senior United States Senator from West Virginia and has served in the Senate since 1984. He was elected to the Senate while still in office as Governor of West Virginia, a position he held from 1977 to 1985.

1972-73: Effort to impeach Richard Nixon

Rob Caughlan, David Oke, and six others started the National Sam Ervin Fan Club. (At the time, Sam Ervin was the chair of the Senate Watergate Committee.) They ended up with 75,000 members and sold 10,000 Uncle Sam T-shirts. Then they organized "The Impeachment Ball" to raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Common Cause to help in the impeachment effort. (read more...)

Rob Caughlan - collegeCaughlan during his trip to DC to promote the National Sam Ervin Fan Club, photo by The Washington Post

1968-72: Field Representative for the late Assemblyman and Congressman Leo J. Ryan

In 1962, Leo J. Ryan (Democrat) was elected mayor of South San Francisco and served less than a year as mayor, before taking a seat in the California State Assembly's 27th district. He held his Assembly seat through 1972. Ryan served as a U.S. Representative from California's 11th congressional district from 1973 until he was assassinated in Guyana by members of the Peoples Temple shortly before the Jonestown Massacre in 1978.

1967: San Francisco State College

Caughlan obtained his degree in Political Science and International Relations.