The departing head of the SEIU had a profound effect on California's politics and economy.
Andy Stern has arguably been the most influential non-Californian in the affairs of California in the past 15 years. The organizing director of the Service Employees International Union from 1984 through 1996, and the SEIU's president since then, Stern has shaped the state's politics and much of its economy.
During Stern's tenure atop the SEIU, the union doubled in size to roughly 2 million members, and in California it grew to nearly 700,000 members, far more than any other union in the state's history. Stern, who stunned the liberal and labor worlds by announcing his resignation last week, turned the SEIU into the nation's single biggest and most influential liberal political player. The union turned out the most precinct walkers, spent the most money and financed organizations that mobilized new immigrant voters and turned out the vote in key swing states.