The Yellowhammer Power & Influence 40 is a list of the 40 most powerful and influential players in Alabama politics. For a more in-depth explanation of the list and how it was compiled, click here. To see last year’s list click HERE.
Here’s the schedule of when the names will be released:
Monday, Feb. 18: Names 31-40
Tuesday, Feb. 19: Names 21-30
Wednesday, Feb. 20: “Who’s Next?” a preview of the next generation of power players
Thursday, Feb. 21: Names 11-20
Friday, Feb. 22: Names 6-10
Monday, Feb. 25: Names 1-5
Ross has quickly built a reputation as one of the hardest working lobbyists in the game, but his political work is what sets him apart from most of the other folks walking the halls of the State House. His time as Executive Director of the ALGOP and his subsequent campaign work make him one of the most seasoned political operatives in the state. On top of that, his relationship with House Speaker Mike Hubbard is as close as anyone’s. “In some ways, he’s Hubbard’s closest confidant,” one insider told Yellowhammer. “The Speaker trusts him implicitly.”
Philip Bryan | Chief of Staff | Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh
Bryan is now in his his third year running the Pro Tem’s office. His influence is enhanced by his craftiness and political savvy, skills he honed during his time as communications director at the ALGOP. Information is the grease that keeps the State House wheels turning, and Bryan has positioned himself as a one-stop-shop for intel on issues of politics, policy and Senate operations. He makes sure the trains are running on time on the 7th floor.
Angi Stalnaker | Political Adviser | Governor Robert Bentley
Very few people exercise their power and influence as much as Stalnaker. As the Governor’s political adviser, she’s in the game almost every moment of the day. She’s working the phones constantly, and when she calls people know the weight of the governor is behind her. She has been intensely loyal to Bentley since long before he rose to the Governor’s office. Now she’s the go-to person for his day-to-day political operation. She’s also become the conduit between the administration and grassroots conservatives across the state.
Johnny Johns | CEO | Protective Life Corporation, Chairman | Birmingham Business Alliance
If you’re looking to run for statewide or federal office, or if you’re a prominent elected official launching a major initiative, Johnny Johns is one of the first people you call. The longtime Birmingham area CEO has been a staple in Alabama politics for years. He’s one of a handful of Alabama businessmen who has unfettered access to any politician in the state. His network of business leaders is second to none. He’s also getting more and more involved with the University of Alabama system, something that will likely continue.
John McMahon, Jr. | Chairman | Ligon Industries, Board of Trustees | University of Alabama
McMahon has his hands in every major political issue in Alabama. He continues to keep an eye on the courts where he played a major role in years past in the effort to flip them Republicans. Like other business leaders on this list, it’s challenging to quantify his political power and influence — and he probably likes it that way. But we can at least know this for certain: when McMahon calls, people always answer.
Sellers is a fast riser inside Alabama Power with a wealth of experience in both politics and public policy. He worked under Joe Perkins at Matrix and was Governor Siegelman’s policy director before becoming the power company’s federal legislative director. He also previously worked for the Alabama Republican Party, making his political background extremely diverse. Those who know him or his work say his Party affiliation is neither D, nor R — it’s A, as in APCo. Because Alabama Power is a regulated utility, his current role overseeing regulatory affairs is one of the most important at the company. He’s developed good relationships with federal and state elected officials along the way, and has a reputation for knowing every nook and cranny of APCO’s business. “He’ll continue to rise,” one insider told Yellowhammer. “Don’t forget, [APCO CEO] McCrary once held this same title.”
Clay Ryan | Head of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs | Maynard Cooper & Gale
Since serving as Governor Bentley’s transition coordinator, Ryan has been a central player in the Bentley Administration. At the time we published last year’s Power & Influence 40, he was Special Counsel to the Governor. Since that time, he has returned to private practice, where he represents a blue chip list of corporate clients. Ryan coordinated the successful Sept. 18 referendum and the Jobs Amendment campaigns on behalf of the Governor. Bentley political world is heavily influenced by a group of Tuscaloosa confidants with whom Ryan interfaces on behalf of the Governor. He also continues to be an important bridge to the Birmingham business community for the Governor and other elected officials. Campaign season may propel Ryan up next year’s list as his role inside the Bentley re-election effort will be significant.
Judge Moore defeated two big names to reclaim his old job as Chief Justice. However, his appearance on the Power & Influence 40 is less about his position as head of the judicial branch, and more about his unique appeal to the conservative base and his national profile. Although he’s had mixed electoral success, he has gained a well deserved following among evangelicals and grassroots conservatives who view him as the foremost authority on religious liberty and other social issues. Judge Moore is one of only a handful of people in Alabama politics who can take their message directly to the people and move the needle. That’s a different type of power than most people on this list carry.
Dave Stewart | Senior Advisor for Government Affairs & Economic Development | Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings
Stewart’s time as Governor Bob Riley’s chief of staff gave him the opportunity to establish relationships with people in seemingly every government agency. He’s extremely effective for his clients when dealing with executive branch agencies and in influencing the budget process. Stewart maintains close ties to Republican leadership in the legislature — and their staffs — which keeps him in the mix on both the 5th and 7th floors of the State House.
Anita Archie | Senior Vice President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Advocacy & Legal Advisor | Business Council of Alabama
Archie is the head of governmental affairs at the BCA, which was named Yellowhammer’s top Association in 2012. Her relationships on both sides of the aisle make her one of the most liked and respected people at the State House among both legislators and her fellow lobbyists. Her time at the two year college system, which is one of state government’s most wide-reaching agencies, provided her with a vast network and gave her significant experience on education and workforce development issues. BCA’s Progress PAC continues to be one of the largest contributors in state level politics.