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Edward Thomas Schafer
North Dakota

Gov. Edward Thomas Schafer

  • December 15, 1992 - December 15, 2000
  • Republican
  • August 8, 1946
  • North Dakota
  • University of North Dakota, University of Denver
  • Married Nancy Jones; four children


EDWARD T. SCHAFER was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in business administration in 1969, then earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Denver. He became president of the Gold Seal Company in 1978. He was elected governor in 1992 and was reelected to a second term in 1996. Governor Schafer fostered a growing economy that generated millions of new dollars for education, health, and safety programs, without income tax increases. Under Governor Schafer’s leadership, North Dakota achieved record low unemployment rates and a 10 percent increase in jobs. He lowered unemployment insurance tax rates and reduced workers’ compensation rates to make millions of dollars available to employers. Governor Schafer significantly increased funding for education and directed more than $70 million to help care for the state’s elderly. He supported significant investments in technology and water development projects to improve the delivery of services to people in remote areas and to provide solid infrastructure for continued economic growth. He reduced the number of state government employees and the cost of the state government as a percentage of personal income. Governor Schafer is a past chair of the Republican Governors Association, the Midwestern Governors’ Association, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact, and the Western Governors’ Association. He was appointed Secretary of Agriculture by President George W. Bush in 2007.

Recent North Dakota Governors