TIME's 25 Most Influential Americans

  • (11 of 18)

    Bonnie Campbell, law enforcer
    One victim at a time. One police officer at a time. One community at a time. Stumping in the manner of an itinerant preacher, Bonnie Campbell is the force behind a grass-roots shift in the way Americans view the victims — and perhaps more important, the perpetrators — of crimes against women. Director of the Violence Against Women office at the Justice Department, she is the first person ever to occupy her bully pulpit, handpicked by the President in 1994 to focus on one of his pet concerns. It is Campbell who applies gentle pressure on Clinton to keep telling the world how his stepfather hit his mother, and Campbell who, by traveling around the country and speaking to small-town sheriffs and big-city D.A.s, is making sure the words domestic violence remain part of the national conversation.

    It is not so much what she says, though, as how she listens that makes Campbell so effective. With gracious self-assurance, she forms unlikely alliances between state troopers and rape victims, prosecutors and hot-line operators. Then she returns to Washington to work with the feds to help put teeth into new laws in the Violence Against Women Act, like the one prohibiting people who violate restraining orders from carrying firearms. As part of the 1994 Crime Act, she has some $1.6 billion to divvy up among the states over six years — money that puts beds in shelters and specially trained community police officers on the streets. And amazingly, Campbell then stops by, all the clout of the Attorney General's office behind her, to help recipients find ways to spend the money effectively. She preaches, then makes sure the conversion goes smoothly.

    Campbell, 49, brings to her job the rock-solid credibility of having been both a prosecutor and, during her successful 1990 campaign for Iowa attorney general, the victim of a stalker — which led her to write one of the nation's first stalking laws. She has a darker personal motivation as well: in 1975 her half brother Steven Pierce was sent to prison for life for the brutal rape and murder of a teenage girl in upstate New York. Campbell is haunted by this crime. "I have some sense that I should try to make amends in some small way," she says. She is doing more than that, one step at a time.

    Babyface Edmonds, pop musician
    You don't have to listen to one of his songs to get a feel for what Kenneth ("Babyface") Edmonds is about. That nickname says it all: Babyface. Think smooth. Think innocent. Think everything that today's often raucous pop music usually isn't, and you'll have Babyface. He is yin to gangsta rap's yang; his music champions a return to romance, to candlelight dinners and kissing in the rain. And when big stars are looking for big hits, they turn to Babyface: he's collaborated on songs with Mariah Carey, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Eric Clapton. Even the Rolling Stones have enlisted him to work on their forthcoming album. All told, Babyface, 39, has produced 16 No. 1 hits. Now he is trying to branch out into the movies, producing Soul Food , starring Vanessa Williams, Nia Long and Vivica A. Fox. Says Quincy Jones, a legendary producer himself: "I can't really rank Babyface because Babyface is by himself. There is no competition."

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