Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Meet the 2018 Public Officials of the Year

These honorees didn’t just set goals; they set ambitious, attention-grabbing goals that they're accomplishing.

“Make no little plans,” the Chicago architect Daniel Burnham once remarked. “They have no magic to stir men’s blood.” 

If Burnham, the most famous builder of his era, could meet the 10 men and women being honored as 2018 Public Officials of the Year, he would be pleased. Not a single one among them has little plans or modest goals. They’re focused on very big ideas: providing free college to all; ending the practice of solitary confinement in state prisons; addressing agricultural pollution and the food desert problem in our cities; eliminating all traffic fatalities; making voting accessible and secure for every citizen; stoppring opioid overdose deaths; and tackling the culture of sexual harassment within state capitols.

Goalsetting, of course, is the most basic responsibility of any executive. But these 10 honorees didn’t just set goals; they set ambitious, audacious, society-changing goals. Through their hard work, they’re not only accomplishing these goals, but carrying out some of the most striking public policy achievements in the nation today.

For 25 years now, Governing has honored outstanding public officials who have made an indelible impact on the lives of the people they serve. We are pleased to honor the achievements of these 10 dedicated individuals.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
Special Projects