Though most of his work has been behind the scenes this year, the Donald remains a force in state and regional politics. As chairman of the Democratic caucus in the state Senate, he brokered the deal with Republican Delegate Manoli Loupassi that paved the way for the Republican-controlled House to confirm the state’s first openly gay judge, Tracy Thorne-Begland, who sits in Manchester District Court. Next year, McEachin will be instrumental in reinventing the Regional Metropolitan Authority. The plan is to turn it into a body capable of bypassing the individual localities to unilaterally take on the area’s transportation problems, and it’s likely to be one of the most significant local items to come out of General Assembly’s next session. Publicly, McEachin has emerged as the strong Democratic voice on issues as wide-ranging as women’s rights, marriage equality and Medicare expansion. Given the ongoing importance of the topics, McEachin is pretty much guaranteed a place in the spotlight.