9. Lauren Sanchez
Lauren Sanchez is Gov. Newsom’s senior climate adviser, a position that didn’t even exist – either in title or substance – until relatively recently. Her title includes “senior” – a real stretch, since she’s only 32 years old – and she is the governor’s go-to political staffer on climate change. Sanchez, a Fulbright Scholar with a Master’s Degree from Yale, was a climate adviser to the Biden administration, and served as deputy secretary for Climate Policy and Intergovernmental Relations at the CalEPA. She also served on the Paris Agreement negotiating team. The Democrats view the politics of climate change as part of their home turf, and Sanchez is situated right at the epicenter. As the impacts of climate change become clearer each day Sanchez has the governor’s ear – in terms of both science and politics. Who knows, she may wind up back in D.C. if Newsom makes a presidential run.