8. Ann Patterson
Newsom’s legal affairs secretary is Ann Patterson, which means she’s the governor’s top adviser – and negotiator – on the state’s legal business. Much of her time earlier was spent on the intense negotiations between the state and PG&E, a pre-pandemic priority of the governor. But that may have been supplanted more recently by the issues surrounding the pandemic, including challenges to the governor’s rules concerning masking, closures and back-to-school policies. Patterson got the gig after she replaced Catherine Lhamon, who departed for the Biden administration. Lhamon’s chief deputy had been Kelli Evans, who Newsom named in July to the Alameda County Superior Court. Before coming to the administration, Patterson, a graduate of the McGeorge School of Law, was a partner at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, where she was a co-leader of the public policy unit. Husband Nathan Barankin is president of Oak Tree Strategies Group, a communications consultancy, and former chief of staff to Kamala Harris when she was state attorney general and U.S. senator.
Updated Aug. 25, 2021