1: Jim DeBoo
Jim DeBoo is the governor’s chief of staff – executive secretary is the official title – and he was named to the post in December following the abrupt departure of Ann O’Leary, who reportedly left to take a position in the Biden administration (thus far, she hasn’t). DeBoo, a devout 49ers fan, is a jack-of-all trades: He’s been a lobbyist, a political strategist and a ranking manager in the Legislature, including interim chief of staff to former Speaker John Pérez, to temporarily filling the position of Greg Campbell (see No. 95). A governor’s chief of staff is sort of like a traffic cop presiding at the highest intersection of politics and management, and DeBoo fills the bill. Newsom brought him in for his political acumen as much as his executive smarts, and it was a good move: The Republican-dominated recall, once viewed with contempt as just another smack at the governor, has gained traction and DeBoo is coordinating the fight against it. DeBoo also holds a Capitol Weekly record: He has jumped the most ground in one year on the Top 100, moving from No. 64 last year to No. 1 today. We make no apologies. The announcement of his appointment as chief of staff to “lead the Office of the Governor alongside Cabinet Secretary Ana Matosantos” caused confusion – okay, Capitol Weekly was confused – so the obvious question was, “Who’s running the show?” Opinion is divided here, but the bottom line is that this is a year of intense political turmoil with drought, wildfires, a stubborn pandemic and, of course, the recall. The administration’s task is to define for the public a positive answer to the essential question: What’s Newsom doing about all this? That’s where DeBoo comes in.
Updated Aug. 25, 2021