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The Quiet Ones: 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done

While right-wing Republicans gridlock Washington, a dozen leaders are demonstrating just how effective government can be
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Kamala Harris
Attorney General, California

What She's Done Narrowly elected in 2010 despite a million-dollar barrage of attack ads directed by a group loyal to Karl Rove, Harris quickly demonstrated why the GOP's corporate backers wanted to keep her out of office. Last fall, she blocked a $25 billion settlement with the nation's too-big-to-fail banks – Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo – for fraudulently foreclosing on hundreds of thousands of homeowners. The White House had endorsed the deal, which would aid many struggling homeowners, but Harris said the settlement didn't do enough to compensate victims – while providing the banks with immunity for wrongdoing that has yet to be investigated. In December, she launched an "investigation alliance" with Nevada to target the major banks with civil and criminal penalties. "The mortgage crisis is a law-enforcement matter," she declared, "and we will prosecute those who are responsible."

Admirers Say "She's looking out for people who are suffering," says fellow bank-buster Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. "And she's going to take every action necessary to hold people and institutions accountable for the mortgage fraud she's seeing in her state."

Enemies Say Her GOP opponent blasted her as a "radical" who poses "a tremendous threat to public safety" and "doesn't value" the business community.

Gives Us Pause Her political ambitions. Is she truly committed to rescuing homeowners, or just after headlines?

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