6. Richard Figueroa
Richard Figueroa has had quite a roller coaster ride. He went from the California Endowment to join the Newsom administration – two other Endowment people, Daniel Zingale and Maricela Rodriguez, also came over — and he moved into the Horseshoe, where he was a deputy cabinet secretary. Then Newsom tapped him to temporarily lead the state’s Department of Health Care Services, which supervises Medi-Cal, the huge multibillion-dollar state-federal program through which about a third of Californians get their health care. Now he’s back in the Horseshoe. But whatever his title and wherever he is, Figueroa’s function doesn’t change: He’s one the governor’s top health advisers. That position during a worsening pandemic is especially important now, so he works closely with Mark Ghaly (No. 4) and Ann O’Leary (No. 1). Apart from his expertise in health policy, Figueroa knows his way around the political world. He was Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger’s deputy cabinet secretary, Democrat Gray Davis’ deputy legislative secretary, and legislative director for former state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, who is now in Congress.
Updated Aug. 11, 2020