4. Diana Dooley
Diana Dooley has been right by Gov. Brown’s side since the beginning of it all. During his first two terms, she served as legislative secretary and special assistant. Dooley – Brown’s first appointee when he was elected to a third term in 2010 – now serves in his cabinet as the secretary of Health and Human Services. But she also chairs the board of Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange. That means she is making decisions about the way the Affordable Care Act is put into effect in California. It’s been a bumpy road, and it may get bumpier: Anthem Blue Cross, the nation’s largest health insurer, said it was pulling out of most of the state’s individual markets. There have been double-digit rate increases two years in a row, and on top of that, Congress – again – is talking about rewriting all of federal health care law. Dooley has been a calming force to those concerned about health care since the new president took office in January.
Updated Aug. 29, 2017