It should be Jay Inslee enjoying a nod as the state’s most influential pol during his freshman year as governor, but putative Democrat Rodney Tom (Bellevue) stole his thunder and blocked his agenda. After agreeing to form a coalition with a narrow minority of Republicans and Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch) last December, Tom got himself appointed leader of the Majority Coalition Caucus. Motivated, he says, by the goal of writing a pro-education budget without raising taxes, the shape-shifting former Republican from Medina headed a disciplined coalition that was effective in its mission—allocating $1 billion for education while simultaneously blocking efforts to close tax exemptions and adding more than a dozen new ones; killing the Portland-Vancouver bridge replacement; and kiboshing a popular bill that would have enabled the children of undocumented immigrants to apply for college aid. As columnist Danny Westneat wrote in The Seattle Times, “This is Rodney Tom’s state now.”
The Full List: Most Influential People of 2013
Their finger prints are all over Seattle. From protecting honeybees to regulating marijuana to popping and locking, these 54 men and women (and in one case, a machine) are shaping our neighborhoods, economy, attitudes and future. In the case of our person of the year—for the first time in our nine years of compiling this list, it’s a tie!—the impact is on a global scale. We may not always like the direction they are taking us in but it’s hard to deny: these folks are taking us somewhere.