The Yellowhammer Local Leader 20 is a collection of 20 of Alabama’s brightest local leaders. The criteria for making this list was fairly broad. Some members of the LL20 are up-and-coming elected officials who will likely go on to higher office in the future. Other members of the list are grassroots leaders who organize activists on the ground and influence elections and elected officials. Others we are featuring are just doing such a good job in their current role that they deserve some recognition or are notable business leaders who are primed for a run in the future. No members of the legislature or statewide office are included in this list (see our Power & Influence 40 for that).
Over 150 individuals were nominated for the LL20 by a wide range of people including Representatives, Senators, Montgomery insiders, Republican Party leaders, activists, judges, district attorneys, county commissioners, mayors and more.
In the end, we did our best to narrow the list down to a diverse group of 20 local leaders who should be on your radar — even including a few Democrats from their beleaguered ranks. We will be releasing the list 5 at a time throughout the week. Enjoy a look at some of Alabama’s most notable local leaders.
[Editor's note: Yellowhammer does NOT agree politically with all of the members of the LL20. Remember, Henry Mabry made our Power & Influence 40. We obviously don't support much of what he does but can't deny his power and influence. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement.]
16. Gordon Stone: Mayor of Pike Road
Pike Road is poised to be to Montgomery what Hoover is to Birmingham. A Pike Road population boom is imminent and Stone continues to lead the city through a period of unprecedented progress. As an added bonus, his past work in the Montgomery association community gives him strong relationships in the capital city.
17. Jim Hughey: Democratic Nominee for Circuit Court, Place 9
Hughey is one of the new darlings of the Democratic Party. He became the Democratic nominee for Circuit Judge after coming in second in a three-way primary and then winning the runoff. If Hughey wins the general, he will be giving up a job as a partner at a large law firm. That has impressed a lot of people in Jefferson County. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if he decides to run for another office. It’s hard to say if any Democrat can win statewide at this point — even a wealthy Democrat from Mountain Brook.
18. Joe Williams: Martha Roby’s District Director
Few Congressional staffers are as well-known and well-respected among key leaders in their boss’s district as Williams is in AL-02. Williams is a campaign veteran and has continued to get high marks from constituents for how well he’s run Roby’s district office since she was elected in 2010. Rep. Roby has a real asset working for her in the district.
19. Dr. Roger Richardson: Urban Economic Development Specialist for Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University
Richardson failed in his State Senate bid against fellow Republican Paul Sanford (and a host of others in that race) but he continues to get rave reviews from conservatives in North Alabama. He is extremely sharp and has an excellent grasp on conservative policy. It’s only a matter of time before he’s recruited to make another run at elected office.
20. Zan Green: Founder, Rainy Day Patriots
Few grassroots conservatives have been as passionate and effective as Zan Green. The Rainy Day Patriots are probably Alabama’s most well-known Tea Party group. If you’re going to run for office in the Greater Birmingham area or statewide — you’d be smart to get to know Zan.