Governor Dave Heineman was sworn-in as Nebraska’s 39th Governor on January 21, 2005, when Governor Mike Johanns became the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Governor Heineman was elected to his first full term on November 7, 2006 and re-elected on November 2, 2010. He was elected by the largest margins in recent history. Prior to becoming Governor, he served more than three years as Lieutenant Governor and nearly seven years as State Treasurer. Currently Governor Heineman is serving as the Vice Chair of the National Governors Association.
Governor Heineman’s vision for Nebraska is based on four priorities: education, economic vitality, efficiency in government, and protecting families.
Since becoming governor, he has worked with the Nebraska Legislature to pass the largest tax relief package in the history of the state and the most comprehensive revision of Nebraska’s economic development incentives since the 1980s. Governor Heineman has also signed into law a bill making the Department of Health and Human Services more efficient, more effective and more accountable. Governor Heineman is a strong proponent of local control of schools and a quality education for all children. He supports high academic standards and increased parental involvement in education. Heineman is on the Board of Directors of Achieve, a bipartisan, non-profit organization working with states to improve education.
A leader for Nebraska’s agricultural industry, Governor Heineman has secured a $400 million trade agreement with Taiwan for Nebraska wheat, soybeans and corn. He also signed two $30 million trade agreements with Cuba for Nebraska wheat, soybeans, dry beans, pork and beef. Additionally, under his watch, Nebraska opened its first-ever international trade office abroad, The Nebraska Center in Tokyo, Japan.
Governor Heineman served as Chairman of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition in 2007. Heineman was elected Lieutenant Governor in 2002, and as Lieutenant Governor, he served as Nebraska’s director of Homeland Security, chairman of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission (NITC), and the presiding officer of the Nebraska Legislature. As the state’s Homeland Security director, he led Nebraska into the national spotlight helping the state be recognized for its innovative approaches to homeland security.
Governor Heineman was first elected to a statewide office in 1994, as Nebraska State Treasurer. He was re-elected to that post in 1998. As Treasurer, he implemented the Nebraska College Savings Plan, which has been recognized as one of the best college savings programs in the country.
The Governor is a native Nebraskan. He was born in Falls City and grew up in Fairbury, McCook, Benkelman, and Wahoo, where he graduated from high school. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served
five years in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of captain. He is also a graduate of the Army’s Airborne and Ranger Schools.
Governor Heineman’s wife of more than thirty-three years, Sally Ganem, is a former elementary school principal and teacher. They have one son, Sam.