We Rank the Politicians of ‘Parks & Recreation’ in Honor of Election Day

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation is one of TV’s most lovable comedies, despite — or perhaps because of — its crop of good and bad politicians.

Set within the walls of City Hall in Pawnee, Indiana, the Mike Schur-created series follows Parks Department head Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her eclectic team of cohorts. During the show’s seven season run, it featured not only a slew of real-life political figures, but fictional ones who depicted the turmoil, for good and bad, of public service.

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Below, we rank, from worst to best, the political figures fans have come to love, and hate, on Parks and Recreation. Scroll to see how your favorites stack up.

Parks and Recreation, Seasons 1-7, Streaming now, Peacock

Parks and Recreation Bill Dexhart Kevin Symons

10. Councilman Bill Dexhart (Kevin Symons)

Fans first meet Councilman Dexhart after he’s linked to a public indiscretion. The womanizer falsely names Leslie as one of his partners, sullying her pristine name in the process. Dexhart’s impact on the workings of government is mediocre at best, making him one of Pawnee’s worst, and grossest, politicians.

Parks and Recreation Fieling Milton

9. Councilman Fielding Milton (James Greene)

As a member of Pawnee’s Council since 1948, Milton is a man stuck in amber who indulges in daily Caesar salad lunches and spouts offensive sentiments about women and people of color. While still a key member of Pawnee’s government, this racist politician should have been kicked out of office long ago.

Bill Murray Parks and Recreation

8. Mayor Walter Gunderson (Bill Murray)

Pawnee’s Mayor was repeatedly mentioned throughout the series, but fans never met him until his funeral in Season 7. Bill Murray stepped into the role and while it’s hard to get a read on Gunderson as a character, considering the shenanigans going on in Pawnee and his near-constant absence, his approval rating from us is rather low.

Jeremy Jamm Jon Glaser Parks and REc

7. Councilman Jeremy Jamm (Jon Glaser)

Councilman and local orthodontist Jeremy Jamm is antagonistic toward Leslie the entire time they’re on the Pawnee Council, working hard sell her labor of love, Lot 48, to Paunch Burger. Add in his signature phrase, “You just got jammed,” and you have one of the show’s most obnoxious people, let alone politicians.

Parks and Recreation Kristen Bell

6. Councilwoman Ingrid de Forest (Kristen Bell)

Hailing from Pawnee’s rival town of upscale Eagleton, Councilwoman Ingrid falls from grace there when it’s discovered that its City Council’s mismanaged funds. When Pawnee absorbs Eagleton’s government to help relieve the debt they’ve built, the snobby Ingrid does herself no favors with her poor management skills.

Parks and Recreation Bobby Newport Paul Rudd

5. Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd)

Bobby Newport, who loses the City Council election to Leslie, is the rich, privileged and politically clueless heir to the Sweetums fortune. He may not know what he’s doing, but we sure are happy he had a recurring role.

Parks and Recreation Howser

4. Councilman Douglass Howser (Yvans Jourdain)

Also a councilman, Howser, who plays a small role in the show, is a Leslie ally. Despite Leslie’s knack for running into Howser at inopportune and awkward times, they seem to have a mutual respect for each other and care about the welfare of Pawnee. Howser’s alright by us.

Parks and Recreation Jerry Gergich Jim O'Heir

3. Garry Gergich (Jim O'Heir)

Those who feel bad for punching bag Garry/Jerry/Larry Gergich, are rewarded when he takes over for Mayor Gunderson (Bill Murray) when he suddenly passes away. Thanks to Jerry’s many future terms teased in the finale, we suspect the underdog character is quite the sharp politician.

Parks and Recreation Ben Wyatt Adam Scott

2. Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott)

Ben Wyatt, ever the supportive husband to Leslie, had a rocky past as Mayor of Partridge, Minnesota, where he effectively bankrupt the town. But his savvy allows him to climb the ranks and leads to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Parks and Recreation Leslie Knope Amy Poehler

1. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler)

Is there any question who would take the top spot? From Day 1, fans know Leslie is the picture of a perfect public servant. Her ambition and unyielding efforts to do what’s best for her town make her the finest figure in politics. No huge shock she becomes president in the show’s flash forward finale.