78. Fabian Núñez
Former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, now a top strategist for Mercury Public Affairs, is plugged into the Capitol – definitely. He’s a lifelong friend of Senate Leader Kevin de León, and he knows the Assembly operation backwards and forwards. Mercury is a major player in Sacramento; in fact, it seems to be a major player everywhere, with 300 clients worldwide and 17 offices – its biggest client here is the California Endowment – and its staff tracks the Capitol’s political wars closely. There’s a lot to track, but Núñez is a good fit, especially this year, when lawmakers approved and Brown signed the cap-and-trade extension. Núñez was a co-author of AB 32, the bill to fight global warming, and he knows the issues, which became apparent during the negotiations over the legislation.