Brownback – No area politician had a bigger 2012 than Gov. Sam Brownback. With a heavy dose of persuasion and a shake of trickery, he convinced the Legislature to drastically reduce state income taxes. His administration shook off concerns of “too much, too fast” and forged ahead with a massive privatization of the state’s Medicaid program. And a political apparatus closely tied to the governor purged the Kansas Senate of most moderate Republicans, who had united with the small contingent of Democrats to block some of Brownback’s initiatives. Two years into his first term, Brownback has the uber-conservative Legislature that he wanted and a glide path for more big changes.