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Best Politician 

Rep. Jason Kander

Most people hate politicians because legislators tend to fall into two camps: overbearing jerks who confuse arrogance for integrity and wishy-washy pawns who default to partisanship over substance. Missouri state Rep. Jason Kander is neither. In his freshman year, the young Kansas City Democrat was the model of style and substance. In his first few weeks, Kander had the nerve to call bullshit on the partisan shenanigans of the Republican budget chairman. When the session devolved into a nasty fight about the expansion of health-insurance coverage, Kander was determined to get more low-income children covered. But he did more than rant and rave at the cruelty of the obstructive Republicans. He scoured the tedious budget and found a way to put naysaying conservatives in an impossible position: Vote to keep their free lapel pins and bottomless coffee or cover poor kids with cancer. Checkmate, Kander. But here's the kicker: Kander wasn't a showoff. While legislators on both sides of the aisle painfully belabored the floor debate with repetitive diatribes, Kander was never one of the microphone-clutching prima donnas. He managed to make a name for himself at the capital and restore a little shine to the political profession at the same time.

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