6. Robbie Hunter
As president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, Robbie Hunter, an iron worker and champion of the prevailing wage, fought hard and successfully to pass SB 1, the bill raising gas taxes to help fix the state’s roads and highways. Now Hunter finds himself in yet another battle — this time against the Republican-led effort to repeal the measure. The Nov. 6 ballot contains a proposal, Proposition 6, to dump the tax, and a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll had 51% of registered voters favoring the idea. California may be a deep blue state, but people still don’t like paying taxes. Repeal has been a linchpin of the Republican candidates’ campaigns, including GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox. Hunter, however, heads a formidable organization. The SBCTC has 160 affiliated local unions with more than 350,000 members, and when they talk, people listen. In addition to that, Hunter has a powerful ally in his fight against repeal: Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown has been an outspoken opponent of repeal, and he has a formidable war chest in excess of $14 million that he could put into the campaign. And not content with the gas tax battle, Hunter is also pushing Brown’s high-speed rail project. It’s a busy year for a busy man.
Updated Aug. 16, 2o18