61. Yana Garcia
Another newbie to the list, Yana Garcia is the first Latina to ever lead the California Environmental Protection Agency. A native of Oakland, Garcia lived in Mexico during the heyday of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), where she developed a passion for advocating for environmental justice. And her power to do just that now is pretty broad – CalEPA oversees three departments, two boards, and one office, including the State Water Resources Control Board, the Air Resources Control Board, Cal Recycle, and the Department of Pesticide Regulation. California has always led the nation on environmental protections, and Garcia intends to keep it that way. She has said that her top priority is to focus on policies that work for everyone, including the most vulnerable Californians, both environmentally and economically. She is also bullish on water quality and access. It’s a task that requires a lot of interaction with a wide multitude of players, from the state and federal government to local officials. Previous to being appointed CalEPA secretary, Garcia was Special Assistant to Attorney General Rob Bonta.
Updated Aug. 18, 2023