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Top Ten Reveals More Women Lead In The County

"Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception." - Ruth Bader Ginsburg


September 24, 2020

This past week, with the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there has been plenty of attention to the accomplishments of this remarkable woman - and all women.

That is perhaps a harbinger of what will take place Oct. 10, when The Countywide & Sun honors the top 25 people - and announces the top ten - in its once-every-ten-years poll of the most powerful people in Pottawatomie County.

Gala invitations have been mailed to the top 25 of the 58 Pottawatomie County leaders nominated as the most powerful and influential, the people who make things happen. The gala is set for Oct. 10 at Crossing Hearts Ranch in Tecumseh. The in-person event will feature U.S. Senator James Lankford as the guest speaker and announcement of the Top Ten, who will later be interviewed about their views on leadership. Those interviews will be published in The Countywide & Sun over a four-week period beginning Oct. 15.

Letters initially went out to more than 50 people asking them to name the five people they think are the county's most influential. The letters went to local leaders and those who made the list in previous years. As the responses came in, letters were sent to any new names not on the original list. The rolling poll began in late July and closed Aug. 30.

The 2020 nominees include 21 women, the same number as in 2010. But this year will be different - more than half of the top ten are women. And could it be that the #1 most powerful and influential person is female?

That would be a sea change from past polls. In the first poll, in 1990, not a single woman made the top ten. Ten years later, two women - Marilyn Bradford and Chris Harden - tied for tenth, and 18 women were nominated - three times as many as in 1990.

By 2010, 21 women were nominated, but again, only two - Bradford and Linda Peterson - made the top ten.

This year will look very different, but you'll have to wait to find out the details. Make out your own scorecard and guess who you think will make the top ten. The 58 nominees, in alphabetical order, are:

Mike Adcock, Chance Allison, John A. "Rocky" Barrett, Tim Barrick, Casey Bell, Jennifer Bell, Tom Bierd, Ed Bolt, Marilyn Bradford, Michelle Briggs, Tim Burg, Suzie Campbell, John Canavan, Linda Capps, Tom Dahlman, Melissa Dennis, Susan DeWoody, Richard Driskell, Cami Engles, Bob Evans, Richard Finley, Travis Flood, Bill Ford, Joe Ford, Randy Gilbert, Suzanne Gilbert, April Grace, Tina Hanna, James Harrod, Kaye Harrod, Dell Kerbs, Katie Landes, Charlie Laster, Kathy Laster, Marty Lewis, Marion McMillan, Rachael Melot, Angi Mohr, Gene Rainbolt, Anthony Rhone, Ron Sharp, Ronnye Sharp, Daniel Shaughnessy, Nick Shepherd, Misty Smith, Randy Smith, Larry Sparks, Jill Spencer, Danny Sterling, Joe Taron, Heath Thomas, Gloria Trotter, Bob Weaver, Sarah Weeks, Terry West, James Wilder, Matt Wiley, and Tom Wilsie.

The Top Ten in 2010 were, from first to tenth, Kris Steele, Bill Ford, Randy Gilbert, John A. Barrett Jr., Joe Taron, Charlie Laster, Linda Peterson, Marilyn Bradford, Brad Henry, and Marion McMillan.

Barrett, Bradford, Ford, Henry, and Taron also made the list in 2000, but only Taron made it all three times. Of course, several of those in previous polls are deceased or out of public life.

Sponsors are already coming on board for the gala. Platinum sponsors are First United Bank and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and Gold sponsors are Gilbert Insurance/Gilbert & Sons Trucking, Vision Bank and the Tecumseh Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, ads congratulating the nominees are running in the newspaper through Oct. 8. To participate in the advertising or sponsorships, contact Suzie Campbell at 598-3793.


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