By Adam Pagnucco.
Are you tired of reading about the coronavirus?
Are you tired of staying locked up in your house?
Are you tired of having to fight for toilet paper like it’s the Zombie Apocalypse (strangely without zombies)?
Well so am I, so let’s have fun. This is Part One of a series. It’s something we have not done since 2009. It’s a grand survey, the grandest of all on MoCo’s political stage. And YOU get to see the results!
We call this event MoCo’s Most Influential.
I have been writing about state and county politics off and on for 14 years and during that time I’ve picked up a lot of sources. They tell me useful things, like where money gets wasted, who blew up his or her own campaign, who really killed that bill and – nowadays – where toilet paper can be found. So this time I went back to them with a question:
Who are MoCo’s most influential people in state and county politics?
Here are the rules I sent to my sources:
1. You may nominate up to 10 elected officials in government who you believe most influence state or county politics and represent all or part of Montgomery County. This includes statewide officials and officials who represent other jurisdictions in addition to MoCo (like members of Congress).
2. You may also nominate up to 10 non-elected people who you believe most influence state or county politics in Montgomery County.
That’s right, there are two lists: elected and non-elected. You get up to 10 nominations for each of them.
3. You don’t have to agree with your nominees, you just have to believe that they are influential.
4. You may nominate yourself – if you judge it necessary!
5. You may provide comments justifying your picks but you don’t have to.
6. No nominations or comments will be attributed. No one besides you and me will know how you voted or what you said. I PROMISE.
7. Responses are due in two weeks.
A total of 85 people made nominations. They come from all over the county, from Damascus down to Takoma Park. A few live outside the county but have business and/or political interests here. Almost half (40) are elected officials, former elected officials or government staffers. Thirty-two are women. They are active throughout the county’s many communities – civil rights, civic activism, progressives, environmentalists, education folks, business leaders and more. Many of them are household names that would be immediately recognized by every Seventh State reader. Others operate behind the scenes. I didn’t get responses from everyone I asked, but on a collective basis, I am confident that these people know this county as well or better than any other respondent pool that could be accessed.
Any one of these folks could have developed a compelling list of influential people all on their own, and most of them did. But what makes this exercise interesting is that it sums up their cumulative judgment. To have a large group of influential and knowledgeable people pick the folks that they truly believe are the most influential is quite a thing to behold.
So let’s do some beholding! Part Two – coming to your inbox soon – will get us started.