CARPINTERIA, Calif. - Former Environmental Protection Agency Regional Director Mike Stoker paused in Carpinteria this morning near his home to reflect on his quick exit from President Donald Trump's administration.
Stoker was let go Wednesday, the day after the State of the Union speech.
He did not see it coming. He did not get an answer from the higher up staff that made the call. He would not resign when given the option. He stands by his record and defies anyone to find fault with his effort.
As this chapter ends, there may be more to tell another day.
Stoker said he worked on the road most of the month, not always in the San Francisco regional headquarters and more often his desk in the Los Angeles office was a common stop.
His district covered four states, 148 tribal lands and the Pacific Islands.
Stoker said when he was hired, he was asked if travel was an issue because a lot of it would be ahead. He agreed and often worked on planes and in airports between cities.
He said it was "no vacation."
His turf covered, "eight times zones, 50 million people, 22 million of those 50 million live in Southern California which is served by the Los Angeles field office which is my duty station office."
A typical month was "me in Los Angeles or me in San Francisco 4-6 days a month and the rest of the time I was waking up in a hotel room wondering for the first 30 seconds where am I at today."
Except for decisions that were our of his control from up the chain of command Stoker said of his job, "I loved it."
But then there was that letter and picture on the wall of his San Francisco office that may have caused a simmering problem.
"More and more it looks like is my working with speaker Pelosi and having a letter from her commending my work and restoring integrity for the EPA with a picture of the speaker and me," said Stoker.
That letter read, “Many thanks for your commitment to the clean up and transfer of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Your work to ensure public health, hold a transparent process that engages the public … is critical and greatly appreciated.”
Late last week other staff members in the administration were let go in various departments.
" I guess it is a badge of honor when the President went on a firing frenzy I was the lead off hitter. I was the first to go of many."
No other details of life within the Trump Administration have come out at this time. "In a region where you have California which is a state the President likes to engage in in a negative way, there are all kinds of red flags that I am aware of trust me, " said Stoker.
Hoping to escape the phone calls and analysis for a few days Stoker joked on social media saying, "Mike Stoker you just got your butt fired by the President of the United States what are you doing next? 'I'm going to Disneyland!' " Stoker says he plans to be there later this week.