A state in fiscal crisis. A shell-shocked city struggling to piece itself together after a storm. A community marred by years of ethics scandals. Mistrust of police. Broken health care. Partisan gridlock. 

These are some of the toughest, most entrenched problems in the country. And they’re precisely the situations that have been faced by Governing’s 2015 Public Officials of the Year. These nine outstanding leaders looked at the challenges in their communities and took decisive action.

Their collective efforts are a lesson in transformation. Today California is once again thriving, and New Orleans is rebounding in ways that were unimaginable just five years ago. Prince George’s County, Md., has stamped out corruption and regained the public’s trust. In New York, officials are pioneering new ways to deliver better health care, and in the Kentucky statehouse, bipartisan cooperation has become the norm. An innovative transit system has remade Cleveland; decades-old criminal cases are being brought to justice in Detroit; and in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, police and residents have learned to trust one another, resulting in a historic drop in crime.

Their stories are inspiring. And their tireless dedication to public service is truly remarkable. It’s with great appreciation that we honor these men and women as Public Officials of the Year.

Kym Worthy, County Prosecutor

Phil & Emada Tingirides, Commander & Sergeant

Robert Stivers, Senate President

Mitchell Landrieu, Mayor

Joseph Calabrese, CEO and General Manager

Edmund Brown Jr., Governor

Rushern Baker III, County Executive

Jason Helgerson, State Medicaid Director