SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced his nomination of Robert N. Klein for chairman of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, which oversees the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

“Since California voters passed Proposition 71 in 2004, California has taken a leadership role in stem cell research, bringing hope to millions of people suffering from life debilitating diseases, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Bob has played a vital role in establishing California’s prominence as a leader in stem cell research. His vision and leadership as chairman of CIRM has led to advances in stem cell research that will benefit both California and the world for generations, and I am confident he will continue California’s global leadership in this groundbreaking research.”

Klein has served as chairman of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee since 2004. During his tenure as chair, over 600 new stem cell research discoveries have been published on research funded by CIRM, 14 multi-institutional disease research teams have been funded with the goal of reaching human trials within four years, and four CIRM-funded research projects are in clinical trials or have received FDA approval to commence a clinical trial. Klein authored Proposition 71 and also served as chairman of the California Proposition 71 committee, the “California Stem Cell Research and Cures” ballot initiative in 2004.

Klein has been president of Klein Financial Corporation, a real estate investment banking consulting company focused on affordable housing finance and development, since 1985. In 2002, Klein was a principal negotiator, as a part of a JDRF team that worked successfully to pass a $1.5 billion mandatory federal funding bill for an additional five years of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes supplemental National Institutes of Health research funding.

Klein serves on the Board of the Global Security Institute, dedicated to reducing the global risks from nuclear weapons, and previously served six years as a board member for the California Housing Finance Agency.

“I am honored to be nominated chair of CIRM’s governing board by Governor Schwarzenegger,” said Klein. “California was the first state to support and fund stem cell research, and I want to continue to build on California’s global leadership including growing our national and international partnerships and forging new ones that will help carry on this important research.”

Klein, 65, of Portola Valley, earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Stanford University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Stanford University. The Governor’s nomination will go before the entire Independent Citizens Oversight Committee Governing Board later this month. Klein is a Democrat.

In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger championed and voters approved Proposition 71, making California the national leader in stem cell research. Proposition 71 devoted $3 billion to stem cell research and created CIRM. The Independent Citizens Oversight Committee governs CIRM and is composed of 29 members, including the chair and vice chair, representing the University of California campuses with medical schools; other California universities and California medical research institutions; California disease advocacy groups; and California experts in the development of medical therapies. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer and Controller each nominate a chair and vice chair candidate to be considered by the 27 appointed members of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee.

Thanks to the efforts of Governor Schwarzenegger and California voters, the Golden State leads the nation in stem cell research. Since taking office, the Governor has been committed to advancing stem cell research:

Governor Schwarzenegger has helped forge international partnerships to advance cancer stem cell research. In May 2007, the Governor traveled to Canada to highlight the depth of collaboration between Californian and Canadian stem cell research scientists, and Canada’s Premier of Ontario announced the creation of the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium (CSCC), meant to coordinate and fund cancer stem cell research of both Canada and California researchers, universities and private industry.

When President Bush vetoed federal funding for stem cell research, Governor Schwarzenegger immediately authorized a $150 Million loan to keep this potentially life-saving research going. When legislation went before President Bush that would have allowed federal funding for stem cell research, the Governor called on the President to sign the bill. When the President vetoed it, the Governor immediately authorized a $150 million General Fund loan to CIRM to keep stem cell research going.

The Governor Signed Legislation To Protect Women Facilitating This Revolutionary Research. In September 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1260 which established guidelines, consent procedures and standards for financial compensation for women donating eggs for stem cell research funded outside of Proposition 71.