53. Jennifer Kent
Medi-Cal: A government health care program with some 4,000 employees serving about 13.5 million people, and with an annual expenditure of about $100 billion. As executive director of the Department of Health Care Services, Jennifer Kent has responsibility over the whole enchilada. Former Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her to the position in 2015, and Newsom has kept her on. Kent is familiar with the upper levels of state health care operations. She was a senior health and regulatory analyst at the California Optometric Association, and later became the group’s director. She went to the Department of Health Care services as deputy director, then moved to the Health and Human Services Agency to handle legislative issues. Kent, a graduate of St. Mary’s College, has a Master’s in public administration from the USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy.