Commissioner, Missoula County, Mont.
Nicole “Cola” Rowley is a County Commissioner for Missoula County, Montana. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology. After spending time working in research, she transitioned to public service, working as a child health and nutrition manager and then as an environmental health specialist while teaching at the local college. Since her election in 2014, Rowley has worked to bring data to the forefront in local government, including the county’s criminal justice initiatives. She has spearheaded several data-driven projects, including developing a city-county jail diversion plan, establishing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, and launching a collaboration to more effectively provide services and support to families involved in dependent neglect cases. Missoula County and its partners have received national recognition for their work, and in 2018 received a MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge grant.