29. Lia Lopez
The job of the Chief Administrative Officer for the Assembly Rules Committee is one that requires equal amounts finesse and political acumen, and a definite knowledge of carrots and sticks. In addition to overseeing the administrative business of the Assembly, the committee assigns bills to the various other committees, oversees staffing and budget issues for those panels and approves office space for the Committee members and staff. It’s a big job, but one that has had minimal turnover for the last few decades: John Waldie had the position for 17 years, while Debra Gravert held it down for almost another decade. Enter Lia Lopez, who took over for Gravert last December. But it’s not her first rodeo either – she has been working in the Capitol since 1997 and was Gravert’s deputy chief. It’s also something of a family business. Her father also worked in the Legislature, and Lopez has been in and around the building since she was a little girl. She holds a master’s degree in public administration and degrees in political science and history from UC Davis.