Laura Neuman

48, County executive, Anne Arundel County This year, Anne Arundel County's government shifted leadership from the well-known John R. Leopold -- perhaps we know too much about him now -- to relative unknown Laura Neuman, who was selected to finish Leopold's term after he resigned. Neuman's previous gig was running economic development for Howard County, and she has a background with tech companies. She's also a survivor of rape and took a nontraditional educational path, earning a master's degree without having earned a bachelor's degree. Neuman hasn't been shy with county government, replacing Leopold's confidants with her own team and vetoing the County Council's stormwater fees. But will Neuman succeed in her efforts to change the government culture in Anne Arundel? Will she woo the county's skeptical Republican establishment? And will she win a full term of her own in 2014? This month, she confirmed that she'll run, saying she needs more than a partial term to make progress in the county. "I enjoy serving," she said, "and certainly plan to continue." -- Pamela Wood
Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun photo
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