In many ways, it’s a brutal time to be a public official. The past year has seen an exhausting slog of political scandals, personal attacks, negative headlines and anti-government outrage. Government, we've been told from both sides of the aisle, is broken.

Which is why it’s all the more vital to highlight the outstanding accomplishments of Governing’s 2016 Public Officials of the Year. These eight remarkable men and women know that public service isn’t about casting blame or pointing fingers. It’s about forging real solutions to real problems.

For our eight honorees, it’s about taking on issues of social inequality through new solutions for housing, public transit, early childhood development, and the health and wellness of an entire community. It's about seeing a nationwide opioid crisis and coming together to address it. It’s about helping those struggling with mental illness, rather than locking them up in overcrowded jails. It’s about ensuring that taxpayer dollars are managed well, and that state revenues are aligned with the reality of the 21st-century economy.

True public service, as these eight exemplary leaders know, is about working together.

Governing is pleased to honor the achievements of these dedicated individuals, and we’re proud to recognize them as Public Officials of the Year.

Charlie Baker, Governor

Dow Constantine, County Executive

Kristen Cox, Executive Director, Office of Management and Budget

Michael Hancock, Mayor

Steven Leifman, County Judge

Keith Parker, General Manager and CEO, Transit Authority

Deb Peters, State Senator

Nick Macchione, Director of Health and Human Services