36. Alma Hernandez
Labor leaders pop up on this list all the time, and the reasons are clear: Unions can make a lot of noise, they can marshal get-out-the-vote troops at election time, and they vote in large, disciplined numbers. The largest union in the state is the 700,000-member Service Employees International Union, and the executive director at SEIU is Alma Hernandez, who joined the union as a political director and quickly built a rep as a shrewd campaign strategist and coalition builder. Hernandez became executive director in 2016 – the first Latina to hold the job. SEIU’s issues include immigration policy, affordable housing, homelessness, immigration, health care and opposition to all things Trump. She earlier worked as a staffer in the California Legislature for five years, was a lobbyist and worked on a number of statewide campaigns. Hernandez, who is a member of the board of directors of the nonprofit California Budget and Policy Center, graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in rhetoric and political science.
Updated Aug. 11, 2020