28. Donna Lucas

Communications strategist Donna Lucas of Lucas Public Affairs worked as a campaign press aide and learned the insides of the Capitol during the Deukmejian administration. She learned her lessons well: She has developed into a major communications force and is a go-to person for companies and people — State Fund, Chevron, Maria Shriver (Lucas was Shriver’s chief of staff), assorted businesses, health care issues, etc. — looking for communications advice in the byzantine world of Capitol politics. She’s also connected: Her brother, Kip Lipper, is a top Senate staffer Kip Lipper (you’ve met him, No. 23) and her husband is State Librarian Greg Lucas, the former Sacramento bureau chief of the San Francisco Chronicle, the founder and editor of “California’s Capitol.” When we created Open California, a public benefit corporation to publish Capitol Weekly, we needed a board of directors — she was our first pick.