9. Jennifer Siebel Newsom
The governor’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, clearly belongs on this list, but where? With Jerry Brown’s wife, it was easy: Anne Gust Brown managed the governor, advised him on politics and policy – she even reviewed legal briefs when he was state attorney general – and organized his life. Siebel Newsom may not wield such large clout, but she definitely is a powerful force. Newsom consults her and pays close attention to her advice on early education, gender equity, toxic masculinity and childhood health care, among other issues, and she reportedly had a decisive role in the appointment of the state’s first surgeon general, Nadine Burke Harris. She doesn’t like the title “First Lady,” but prefers “First Partner” – and that’s how she appears on the Byzantine official flow chart of the governor’s office. She grew up in Marin County and holds an MBA from Stanford. A filmmaker, she created the documentary Miss Representation, which detailed the media’s flawed depiction of powerful women.
Updated Aug. 25, 2021