32. Janet Napolitano
Janet Napolitano is president of the University of California, a sprawling, prestigious education system that includes more than 250,000 students, 21,000 faculty members, 144,000 staff members and 10 campuses. UC gets about $3 billion annually from the state, roughly 43 percent of its total budget, and Napolitano rides herd over it all, usually relatively smoothly. But this year, she ran into a two-pronged whammy. First, she drew fire for UC’s penchant to recruit out of state students in place of California students – out of state students pay more – and many people were not pleased, including lawmakers. Then State Auditor Elaine Howle (see No. 7) came out with a blistering report about UC’s flawed money-handling. Despite the turmoil, Napolitano appears solid in the saddle. The UC Regents stand behind her – at least for now. Napolitano, who’s had an unusual career, is no stranger to balky bureaucracies. She headed the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama Administration (Forbes Magazine, which loves lists even more than Capitol Weekly, dubbed her the 9th most powerful woman worldwide in 2012), and before that she was governor of Arizona.
Updated Aug. 29, 2017