64. Bill Wong
Single-payer health care has blossomed as a major issue in California (George Skelton’s columns notwithstanding), spurred at least in part by Washington’s failure so far to repeal, replace, or even patch up the Affordable Care Act. And right in the middle of the Sacramento single-payer action is veteran Democratic strategist Bill Wong, a widely known expert in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. He is the political director of the Asian American Small Business PAC and an aide to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Wong, no stranger to political battles, found himself in a fierce fight this year when Rendon decided to shelve Senate-passed legislation (SB 562) aimed at establishing a single-payer system in California. Rendon’s action set off a recall drive, which Wong helped to blunt. Wong called the recall petitions full of “misleading and false allegations” from people who don’t even live in Rendon’s southeast Los Angeles district.