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No. 19: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Illustration by Chris Shary

19. Kip Lipper

Water, fires, drought, oil exploration, sea level rise, environmental justice – you name it, Kip Lipper is involved. Lipper is the Senate’s environmental adviser, and his fingerprints are on every major piece of environmental legislation to emerge from the house. He’s been in the Legislature for nearly four decades and served as chief of staff to the late Byron Sher – first in the Assembly, then the Senate – for 25 years. Former Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg called him “a force of nature;” others call him the 41st senator. Lipper does not promote himself: “I’m not interesting, hate attention and like to hide in my office,” he once told the L.A. Times after reluctantly agreeing to an interview. A big win this year: A landmark budget offering billions of dollars for one-time new investments in natural resources and the environment. Another milestone: Kip also is staffing SB 1, which he wrote, the first bill to expressly address sea level rise in California and to fund poor communities.

Updated Aug. 25, 2021

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