Best Politician - 2013
In today's screwy political landscape, it takes a certain amount of boldness to defy the party line on any issue, let alone one as vital to the platform as gay marriage. So we imagine it wasn't an easy call when Branden Petersen came out as the first Minnesota Republican co-author of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Raised in Coon Rapids, 27-year-old Petersen was elected in 2010. His father-in-law has been in a same-sex relationship for two decades, which perhaps explains why Petersen isn't as terrified of the concept as the rest of his party. To be sure, signing onto the bill was a politically risky move, especially coming just months after voters defeated the Republican-backed constitutional ban on gay marriage. It could cost him come campaign season. But surely knowing all of this, Petersen made the call anyway, and we admire him for that. We could use a little more boldness in politics these days.