4. David Ralston

Illustration by Alex Fine
Illustration by Alex Fine

Focus Politics
Age 61
Georgia’s 73rd House speaker, who’s held the lower chamber’s top spot since 2010, has served as a voice of moderation in the state’s increasingly fragmented Republican party. The Blue Ridge attorney has guided his 180-person chamber through debates on touchy issues such as transportation funding and medical marijuana, while urging caution on measures like the “religious freedom” bills, despite backlash from the far right. Still unknown is how he’ll support or suppress future debates over expanding Medicaid—or MARTA.

Casino quandary Ralston says he’s “open” to potentially legalizing casino gambling, which could make its way to Georgia soon, but he has stopped short of a full endorsement.

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This article originally appeared in our October 2015 issue.