40. Richard Figueroa
When the talk turns to health care policy, one name always pops up – Richard Figueroa. He’s a deputy cabinet secretary under Gov. Newsom, and “Fig” combines health care knowledge with a background in financial analysis – a potent combo when it comes to negotiating legislation for the governor. Figueroa is part of the top-drawer triumvirate that Newsom snagged from the California Endowment – the others are Daniel Zingale (No. 13) and Maricela Rodriguez, who is taking a lead role in the census. Figueroa earlier served as deputy cabinet secretary under Arnold Schwarzenegger and a deputy legislative secretary for Gray Davis. He also was legislative director for former Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, and was a consultant for the Senate insurance and budget committees.