91. Jacob Mejia
There’s an old saying that success has many fathers, and the hard-fought effort to put a sports gaming initiative on the 2022 ballot is no exception. A consortium of 18 tribes, including the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, submitted more than 1.4 million signatures — most gathered during the pandemic — to qualify the proposition. Jacob Mejia, a familiar face to anyone who closely follows tribal affairs, was a key strategist and the official spokesperson for the initiative effort. An interesting wrinkle about the initiative: The tribes could withdraw their proposal before the election and replace it with a measure preferred by the legislature. As is often the case elsewhere in the political world, Mejia wears several hats; he is Director of Public Affairs at Pechanga, and Executive Director at the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations. And, full disclosure: he’s also on the Board of Directors of Open California, publisher of Capitol Weekly.