A bunch of incredibly talkative people represent your interests at all levels of the American power structure. If you live in Seattle, at least 27 people take care of civic business for you: one mayor, nine Seattle City Council members, one King County executive, nine King County Council members, two representatives to the Washington State Legislature (representing your district), one state senator (representing your district), one governor, one congresswoman (or congressman, depending on your Seattle neighborhood), and two US senators.
And that's not even mentioning an elected state attorney general (who's sued Trump more times than we can count), plus a ton of nonpartisan elected judges working in places that range from Seattle Municipal Court (where you go to contest traffic tickets) to the fancy Temple of Justice in Olympia (our state supreme court).
So who's the most powerful among them? That answer shifts all the time, but if you're asking me right this minute:
1. US SENATOR PATTY MURRAY (Democrat) Patty "Mom in Tennis Shoes" Murray is the senior United States senator for Washington State. She was the first woman ever to represent Washington in the Senate, she's been on the job for more than 25 years, and she's helped bring home everything from Obamacare to light-rail funding. She's a no-nonsense, nuts-and-bolts, get-it-done kind of person and she's only five feet tall (in tennis shoes).
2. CONGRESSWOMAN PRAMILA JAYAPAL (Democrat) The first Indian American woman ever elected to the United States House of Representatives, Pramila Jayapal sits on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, which delivered the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. She's also a force on Twitter, a reliable standout in hearings, and "a bit like water on a rock," as Jayapal put it to The Stranger last year. "I believe in erosion."
3. GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE (Democrat) He ran for president, he looked like he was actually having a good time, he forced climate change onto the debate stage, he peaced out at a respectable hour, and now he's back to full-time governor-ing here in Washington State—while gearing up to run for a third term. Jay Inslee has had some hits (a moratorium on the death penalty, tireless advocacy for a green economy) and some misses (giving Boeing a record $8 billion in tax breaks in 2013), but he's probably going to win in 2020.
4. ATTORNEY GENERAL BOB FERGUSON (Democrat) Like we said, we can't keep count of all the times Attorney General Bob Ferguson has sued the Trump administration (over the environment, immigration, guns, and more). But you can be sure that Ferguson, whose résumé includes "internationally ranked chess master," is keeping a list. The most recent, publicly available version of the list that we could find was released in September, on the occasion of Ferguson's 50th lawsuit against the president. At the time, AG Ferguson noted that he "has not yet lost a case against the Trump administration."
5. COUNCIL MEMBER KSHAMA SAWANT (Socialist) Seattle's big-business community hates her and has spent millions to defeat her, but Seattle socialist Kshama Sawant keeps on winning elections (three at this point) to the Seattle City Council. Now, fresh off her most recent victory, Sawant is gunning for a new tax on Amazon and other local corporations that she says are trampling the working class and being tightfisted with their excessive riches. Over the years, she's called for nationalizing Boeing, backed Jill Stein for president, and been accused of letting the Socialist Alternative party control her council vote, but she's pretty much not apologizing for anything, ever.