He has a BA and an MA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Masters degree from Stanford. In 1989, he was the Arthur S. Moreau Fellow in International Relations and Diplomacy at Stanford. He was adjunct professor at U.C. Berkeley from 1995 to 1998.
Nate was elected for a four-year term as District 1 Supervisor, 2005-2008 and was selected Chairman for 2006. In 2008 he was elected to a second term for 2009-2012 after running unopposed, and was selected Vice-Chair for 2009 and Chair for 2010. He won a third term in 2012, served as Vice Chair in 2013 and Chair in 2014. Nate serves on a number of advisory boards and commissions, including the Nevada County Transportation Commission and Transit Services Commission; the Area 4 Agency on Aging Governing Board, the Traffic Safety Committee, and the Transit Services Commission. In addition, Nate serves as Nevada County's representative to the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Regional Council of Rural Counties (RCRC), the latter for which he serves as Chair for 2014.