Albuquerque native, Charna Lefton is the new congressional and governmental liaison for BLM California, replacing Jan Bedrosian, who is now the deputy state director for external affairs.
"I have some very big shoes to fill," said Lefton. "I have no illusions about being able to fill to them, but I do aim to follow in Jan’s footsteps."
Charna is not a stranger to BLM. This is her second go around having previously served seven years as the public affairs specialist in the Albuquerque district office from 1992 to 1999. Since late 1999 to 2005, she worked for the U.S. State Department as the deputy country director for the Peace Corps in Bolivia. After a few months readjusting to life in the USA, Charna wanted to put her public affairs skills to work and rejoined BLM. She comes to us with a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Charna received her bachelor's degree in psychology, graduating magna cum laude from the University of New Mexico in 1975. She worked for both the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles County departments of social services, and later for a number of non-profit organizations, including the mental health association in Los Angeles county, and the American Red Cross. In 1984, she help coordinate the American Red Cross’s disaster emergency services at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. In 1987, she accepted a position as a public affairs specialist for Peace Corps in Southern California and Arizona. Charna eventually became a volunteer for the Peace Corps and spent two years in Ecuador. Upon her return she began working for BLM in Albuquerque.
Not one to sit idle, Charna obtained her master's degree in public administration with honors from California State University-Dominguez Hills in 2004. She has received an Environmental Excellence Award from the Environmental Protection Agency and has been recognized with a President's Council on Sustainable Development Award. She is a member of the Native Dispute Resolution Network.
Charna is settling into her new house in Sacramento with her Bolivian cat, Kantuta -- which is the name of the Bolivian national flower.