26. Chris Woods
Chris Woods is the budget director for Senate Leader Toni Atkins, so he tries to figure how much money is available and what it should be spent on, keeping in mind Atkins’ priorities. Being a budget expert amid a $54 billion shortage comes under the heading of “challenge,” but Woods clearly is up to it. Woods does more than follow the money: He knows politics, too, and in a Capitol where politics, policy and money inevitably converge, that’s a valuable skill indeed. He also has a law degree from the UC Davis School of Law – which means he closely follows detail and won’t doze off reading those compelling fiscal analyses. His undergraduate degree, also from UC Davis, was in American Studies.
(Updated Aug. 12, 2020)