The appointment by Gov. Jerry Brown was announced Wednesday.
Voorakkara, 46, ran for state Assembly in the 79th District in 2012 but was eliminated in the June primary.
A partner at Ten Page Memo LLC since 2012, he was statewide program officer and San Diego regional program officer at the California Endowment from 2005 to 2011.
He also was field director for public affairs at the United Nations Foundation from 2003 to 2004 and director of production and client services at Home Front Communications from 2000 to 2002.
Voorakkara was communications advisor in the Office of House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt from 1999 to 2000, western communications strategist for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 1997 to 1998 and was a staffer on several federal, state and local campaigns from 1993 to 1997.
The position, which does not require Senate confirmation, pays $110,004 a year.
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