19. Kip Lipper
Kip Lipper has been a presence on this list since we started it more than a decade ago, and the reason is always the same: Lipper is the go-to person for the Senate leadership on environmental legislation. He’s done it for so long, it’s hard to remember a time when he didn’t. From a tiny, paper-clogged, debris-strewn office on the 4th floor of the Capitol’s refurbished wing, Lipper analyzes bills, meets lobbyists, negotiates with warring factions, and generally avoids the press whenever possible. His influence is felt on virtually every piece of major environmental legislation in the Capitol – and many of the minor bills, too. Many in the Capitol accept Lipper as a force of nature, but over the years, not everyone has been happy with that. “He has more influence than some senators,” former state Sen. Tony Strickland, a Thousand Oaks Republican once told the LA Times. “You can’t fault Kip for being good at what he does, but I personally believe the voters would rather that the power lies with the people they elected.” Maybe.
Updated Aug. 11, 2020