84. Shawnda Westly
Shawnda Westly is the California Democratic Party’s senior strategist and has served for years as the party’s executive director. But whatever the title, her function is basically the same, colleagues say: She manages the party apparatus – no easy task given the size of the party, its faction and its dominance – and, like Cynthia Bryant for the Republicans (see No. 53), she makes the trains run on time. Democrats can look with satisfaction at the state political landscape: They hold all the statewide constitutional offices and they have hefty majorities in both houses of the Legislature, and much of that success belongs to the well-organized Westly. She and colleague Angie Tate (see No. 49) plan to leave their posts next year, when Chair John Burton steps down. Westly, who set up her own consulting firm in 2005, also worked six years for the California Professional Firefighters and served as a senior adviser to S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom, Treasurer Bill Lockyer and the Consumer Attorneys of California.
Updated Aug. 9, 2016