Donald Cole was born in Barnesville, Georgia and moved to Bonaire, Georgia with his family. He graduated from Warner Robins High School in 1971.
He graduated from Gordon College in Barnesville, GA and served in the US Army from 1973 – 1977 as a Military Police Investigator in the Panama Canal Zone and later at Hunter Army Air Field Savannah, GA. He earned a Bachelor’s degree and later Master of Public Administration from Georgia Southern College in Statesboro, GA.
While earning his MPA, Don worked as a field intern in the office of 1st District Congressman Ronald “Bo” Ginn in Brunswick, GA. He also worked as an intern with the Coastal Area Planning and Development Commission. After graduation with his MPA, he was selected to serve as the first City Administrator of Woodbine, GA, county seat of Camden County, home of Kings Bay Naval Base.
In 1983, Don moved to Fort Worth, Texas to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned a Master of Divinity Degree. While in seminary, Don worked as Assistant Precinct Administrator for Tarrant County, Texas and later as City Administrator of Dalworthington Gardens, Texas.
Don has served as pastor of Southern Baptist Churches in Georgia, and also returned to the former Panama Canal Zone to serve as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Balboa. While serving in Georgia, he made annual visits to the Georgia legislature to meet with members of the legislature and promote public policy that reflected his values of limited government and individual freedom.
Don became active in the Republican Party in 2000 and helped with the Dylan Glenn for Congress and Bush Presidential campaigns. In 2002 he served as the Dougherty County Co-Chair for Sonny Perdue for Governor Campaign. After Sonny Perdue’s historic upset victory as Georgia’s first Republican Governor since reconstruction, Don authored a book about the campaign, “Grassroots: Leading Others to Accomplish the Impossible.”
Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Don to the Board of the Georgia Department of Human Resources in 2003 where he served as Board Secretary and Chair of several committees including Public Health and DFACS.
During his tenure on the DHR Board, Don became an advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities. He pushed for additional Medicaid waivers which gave individuals with developmental disabilities and their families an avenue to live more independently out of institutional settings. Because of his advocacy, Don was one of two nationwide to receive the National Easter Seals Advocacy Award.
In 2009 Governor Perdue appointed Don to the newly formed Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. He served as Chairman until the end of his term in 2013.
Don later served as Chairman of the Dougherty GOP, Chairman of the 2nd Congressional District GOP, and on the State Committee for the Georgia GOP and also on the Nominating Committee for the Georgia GOP.
In 2010, Don stepped down from his position as 2nd District Chairman to campaign for Mike Keown for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District. Mike Keown came within 5000 votes of a major upset over incumbent Democrat Sanford Bishop.
In 2012 Don was elected as a Delegate to the GOP National Convention.
In 2013, David Perdue asked Don to serve as Co-Chair of the David Perdue for Senate Steering Committee.
Don writes a conservative editorial e-mail, “Note from Don Cole” that reaches an audience of conservative leaders across the State of Georgia.
Don currently lives in Cordele, Georgia with his wife Leslie. They have been married 36 years and have one son.