Brad Cole is currently Mayor of the City of Carbondale, Illinois. He was elected and re-elected to that position by a city-wide vote and leads a seven-member, elected City Council. As mayor, Cole sets policy direction for a home rule municipal government, with a $52 million annual budget and 270 employees in a 26,000+ rural residential community, which is home to Southern Illinois University (SIU), the second largest public university in the state. He was elected the youngest-ever Mayor of the City of Carbondale at the age of 31, in April 2003.
Mayor Cole previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor of Illinois. He joined the Governor’s Senior Staff management team in January 2002, and was charged with directing the operation of the Governor’s downstate office. He first joined the Governor’s staff in 1999, monitoring revenue/taxation, economic development, education, and transportation.
Mayor Cole serves as a member of numerous boards of directors for both public and private organizations. He has served as President of the Southern Illinois Mayors’ Association, Chairman of the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Center board of directors (a multi-state economic development partnership headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee), and as a board member for the National League of Cities. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors for Sister Cities International (an international, non-governmental organization focused on citizen diplomacy), Chairman of the Board of Managers for Illinois Masonic Outreach Services, and is a Vice President of the Illinois Municipal League.
The Mayor has a keen interest in international development. He has been actively involved with the American Council of Young Political Leaders, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the American Swiss Foundation. Through these organizations, as well as Sister Cities International, Mayor Cole has led or participated in group exchange missions to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the Republic of the Philippines, Germany and Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, and India. He has also presented at international conferences in The Netherlands, Ghana and Australia.
Before his public service roles, Brad Cole held the position of Assistant Director of the Southern Illinois University Alumni Association from 1995 until 1999, and previously had been a research assistant in the SIU Office of Economic and Regional Development.
The Mayor is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, with a bachelor’s degree in a double major of political science and biological sciences and a Master of Legal Studies degree from the SIU School of Law.
Brad Cole, age 39, resides in Carbondale, Illinois.