- Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale
Of all the legislation passed in 2015, perhaps no bill has offered such a strong indictment on abusive government as SB 5, authored by Schmitt. While the bill received bipartisan support, Schmitt and Republican leadership made it a significant priority. The impact of the legislation has serious implications on the state of St. Louis County and its multitude of fractured municipal governments.
With his authorship of additional legislation that benefited seniors and those with special needs along with raising over $2,000,000, Schmitt cemented himself as the Republican nominee for 2016’s state treasurer race.
- Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens
A few months ago Eric Greitens would have only been known as a name floated to run for senate a few cycles ago. Today he has changed parties and is now a leading candidate for governor of his new party raising money faster than any candidate in recent memory.
He wisely brought on Victory Enterprises early on, and made an adjustment that shows savvy early on when he did a course correction to his campaign staff bringing veteran Austin Chambers onboard. Even when his phone calls were being recorded the look behind the curtain was fascinating. His transformation has been fascinating and seeing if he can pull it off will be likely land him on the list next year.
- Communications Consultant Brittany Burke
A former staff member to Governor Jay Nixon turned head of communications consulting firm Tactas, she turned a controversy that would have been the last thing heard for most people into a crusade for victims’ rights.
Shortly after the story broke, longtime Capitol reporter Virginia Young retired from the paper’s staff, although Young is now back writing freelance editorials. Burke’s efforts led to an editor of a Post-Dispatch cancelling teaching a class at Webster University, and was recently as last month promoting an online petition demanding a public apology from the PD. Burke is certainly one of the most fascinating personalities of 2015.
- President of the Missouri Alliance for Freedom Ryan Johnson
Johnson’s group has quickly become one of the more influential right wing groups in the state, and has played a key role opposing a prescription drug monitoring program in the state as well as supporting right-to-work.
Johnson’s scorecard is taken seriously in many circles and perhaps has key showing of influence, while others were slow to act, Johnson was an early supporter of Sen. Kurt Schaefer’s work to get the University of Missouri out of the abortion business.
- Stephen Miller, Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Chair
Miller has sprung onto the scene in 2015 with a reliable column highlighting the needs, successes, and failures of Missouri’s transportation system, in a time where there are questions coming from every nook and cranny of the state directed towards the issue. The active chair, ushered in the long-awaited new director of the Missouri Department of Transportation. This is a man who has provided answers and cried for a solution in a time when a solution is needed, but also continually criticized by many of those asking questions, in a time when the chair needed to be relevant and provide leadership. Miller has ensured that transportation was one of the most talked about issues in Missouri politics in 2015 and that it will continue to be part of the discussion for years forward.
Jason Hancock is the reporter with the Kansas City Star who broke the story about the former speaker’s text messages with a former house intern that put the political world on its head. It was a big break, and still has Republican caucus members actively looking for who leaked the images to him. Proof of a big story.
- Catherine Hanaway’s campaign for governor seemed over after the death of former opponent Tom Schweich with several criticizing her campaign in the aftermath. However, she has handled the scrutiny and continued on to be right in the thick of the primary fight, which is a testament to her determination and inner strength.
- Auditor Nicole Galloway hit the ground running upon her appointment to statewide office, effectively continuing an aggressive audit shop while promoting messaging of cybersecurity in conjunction with audits. The young statewide officer holds promise for the Democratic Party and seems to have a lot of tools in her toolbox to succeed as auditor and a potential star.