Best Behind-the-Scenes Mover-and-Shaker

Michael Flores’ grandmother took him to feed hundreds of homeless when he was 8, instilling a spirit of empathy and a passion for community involvement. Now, at 24, after earning a degree in public administration from UNLV, the Las Vegas native is the communications director for ProgressNow Nevada, a nonprofit advocacy network, through which he promotes education and immigration reform.

Among his most recent accomplishments: He helped political newcomer Patricia Spearman stun two-time state Sen. John Lee, a conservative Democrat in the District 1 primary in June. And during the 2011 Legislature, Flores organized more than 1,300 college students to protest education budget cuts. In addition, Flores tutors children at the Sherman Gardens housing project.

“I’ve got a scary kind of passion, because I won’t stop,” Flores says. “We live in a city that has an abundance of wealth, and whenever I see poor people, that’s the one thing that gets me going.” One political observer says he’s “absolutely the real deal.” In nominating him, a Vegas Seven reader declared Flores to be the “future governor of Nevada!”