Best Local Politician/Palm Beach County Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 1999 - Nancy Graham
Readers' Choice: Jeb Bush
Say what you will about West Palm Beach's Mayor Nancy Graham. She's a tad cold. She's unresponsive to her constituents. She's out of town a lot, visiting foreign dignitaries and discovering the virtues of Italian architecture. And she's hardly the most photogenic of Palm Beach County politicians -- that honor goes to the stunning Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus. But take a look at Graham's city. Within the last decade, she's been instrumental in transforming downtown West Palm Beach from a crime-ridden, drug-infested neighborhood where nobody wanted to shop, much less sit down for a cup of coffee, into a family-friendly strip of bars and restaurants, coffeehouses, and weekly outdoor music festivals. With West Palm's latest improvement project, CityPlace, under way, the best is yet to come. But, alas, Graham decided not to run for reelection, and she'll soon be leaving office. Her vision and influence, though, will surely outlive her career in city politics. Unless, of course, the economy goes sour.