29. Chris Woods
Chris Woods, as the budget director for Senate Leader Toni Atkins, is Jason Sisney’s opposite number (No. 28). Woods, too, crunches the numbers to find out what’s available, and he must be smiling a bit these days. Instead of the $54 billion shortage that – briefly – confronted lawmakers last year, the state showed a $38 billion surplus as the 2021-22 fiscal year got under way. Atkins and her fellow Democrats share many of the same priorities, and one of Woods’ unenviable tasks is to find ways to get them funded, then sell that to his own house, and then to the Assembly and administration. To do all this, Woods needs to know politics, and he does. As we mentioned last year, Woods has a law degree from UC Davis, which means he’s well suited to follow mind-numbing detail of California’s budgets. Better him than us.
(Updated Aug. 25, 2021)