OZY in the Leaders' Lounge

OZY in the Leaders' Lounge

Why you should care

Because it’s good to know the person behind the politician.

Sounding Off Senator

As Bob Corker digs in to his second term in the Senate, fellow senators on both sides of the aisle — not to mention the White House — have come to realize that they’re probably going to need this garrulous Tennessean on board to get any big, controversial policies passed. That’s because from the day he came to Washington in 2007, the silver-haired 61-year-old has made it clear he wants to be a player and jumped feet-first into some of the most complicated issues facing Congress — from Dodd-Frank to a mortgage industry overhaul to what should be done about the slaughter in Syria. “I still look at the term as a lease,” Corker insists. “I don’t really look beyond that. I’m not just saying that, I really don’t.” In doing so, ”I never feel handcuffed politically,” he says. “I just feel like I can call ’em like I see ’em and always be direct and transparent and controversial if need be.” That part, at least, is undeniable.

The Anti-Politican Reinventing Michigan

Rick Snyder, the 55-year-old Battle Creek, Mich., native is relentlessly punctual — and, as OZY D.C. correspondent Emily Cadei writes, the man has no charisma. As in none. Still, that never stopped a good nerd. Nasally, brainy and earnest, this former tax accountant and Gateway Computers executive very much fits the “one tough nerd” moniker he embraced in his offbeat, out-of-nowhere Republican run to the statehouse in 2010, upsetting several far more established politicians along the way. His father’s stint as city commissioner in Battle Creek was his closest brush with political office up to that point, but Snyder and his election team played that lack of experience to his advantage, tapping into Michiganders’ disgust with politics-as-usual and their hunger for fresh economic ideas after decades of malaise. In the end, he won the general election by a surprisingly wide margin in this politically divided “purple” state.

Oklahoma City’s Renaissance Man

How often do you meet a man who can convince people to pay money for city improvement while simultaneously persuading them to lose weight? About as often as you find a TV sportscaster turned four-term mayor. Meet Mick Cornett, Oklahoma City’s mayor. The 55-year-old was just re-elected to his fourth term with 65.7 percent of the vote, becoming the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. It’s unusual for mayors to make it into the national consciousness unless they govern a major coastal metropolis or fall into abysmal scandals. But this landlocked mayor is on the radar because of the way he’s effectively reviving the city by keeping lines of communication open between residents and other government officials. His health and quality-of-life measures have already earned him international attention and raised the city’s profile.

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