Why you should care
These Democrats are turning heads and taking names as they command national attention for their policies, governing styles and dash of controversy.
When Gina Raimondo, a Rhodes scholar and a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law, decided to seek the office of Rhode Island’s state treasurer, she came with a tough message: The state is going broke, and reforming state pensions, she declared, is the only way to save it. That straight-shooting message helped her win by a landslide, and her political tactics are bringing her national attention. Rumor has it her next title could be governor.
“Never underestimate the power of good analytical thinking and looking at the math,” she says. “So much of what I’ve done as treasurer has been cutting through the emotion … cutting through the game of politics to focus on the substance and to remember that at the end of public policy, and the end of politics, it’s all about helping somebody.”
Geologist-turned-brewpub-owner-turned-politician John Hickenlooper has been skillfully adept at running Colorado while maintaining mostly high approval ratings throughout his career as mayor and as governor. He has an ability to broker deals on divisive issues and cater to the Democratic base while maintaining support and approval from Republicans and Independents. Hick’s also not afraid to jump out of a plane or wear a blue bear costume for a cause or two. This past year he’s faced his share of challenges, culminating with the recent defeat of an educational ballot measure he was hoping would make Colorado a model for public education in the U.S.
Allow us to reintroduce you to Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. She evokes her fair share of controversy, and we respect her for it. The fiery 43-year-old made her name in human rights, calling out U.S. foreign policy for blindness, hypocrisy and arrogance. She’s still thought of as a human rights specialist — she wrote a career-making, Pulitzer prize-winning book on preventing genocide — but we peg her as a “humanitarian hawk,” not a feel-good peacenik. That means Power supports military strikes to prevent atrocities, even at the risk of civilian lives. Most recently, she made headlines by defending Obama’s stance on Syria.