I guess the single most important figure in my political outlook was Edgar Wiggins Waugh, professor of political philosophy at Eastern Michigan U. and roommate of William Faulkner at U. of Mississippi. He is considered to be the principal author of the 25th Amendment. He was an unabashed progressive. I didn't want cut his classes as there were often debates between Waugh and the Birchites. Waugh always prevailed with great knowledge and humor. An impromptu debate between Waugh and Mississippi Gov.( at the time) Ross Barnett was a classic that left Barnett tongue tied in the end.
My maternal grand parents were very active in the political trenches. They were always active in the cause for the common man. Besides raising 8 of their own children, they also provided foster parentage to 27 other children.
I'd have to round it up with the influence of John Kennedy. While his life was cut short before he could accomplish much he was able to get the country looking at itself with pride and purpose.