A well-financed bipartisan nonprofit group made its formal debut Wednesday in Sacramento, saying its initial efforts will be directed at reforming California government’s dysfunctional budget process and pushing to reform the rules for drawing legislative district.

California Forward is co-chaired by Leon Panetta, former congressman and chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and Thomas McKernan, chief executive officer of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The organization pledges to work toward reforms of the state’s governing process.

“We know this will be difficult, but we are committed to building a constituency for change,” Panetta said. “If given the chance, we believe people will look at the big picture and realize that good governance is in everyone’s interest.”

Financial backers include the James Irvine Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the California Endowment.

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