Back to former Indiana governors
Frank O’Bannon

Gov. Frank O’Bannon

  • January 13, 1997 - September 13, 2003
  • Democrat
  • January 30, 1930
  • September 13, 2003
  • Kentucky
  • Indiana University
  • Married Judy Asmus; three children
  • Died in Office
  • Air Force


FRANK O’BANNON was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but his family resided and he was raised in Corydon, Indiana–Indiana’s first state capital. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in 1952. Following graduation, he served in the U.S. Air Force for two years before returning to Indiana University, where he earned a law degree in 1957. After law school, he practiced law and worked part time for the O’Bannon Publishing Company, publisher of weekly newspapers in Harrison and Crawford counties. The O’Bannon family has owned this business since 1907. He was elected to the Indiana State Senate in 1970, where he served as Democratic floor leader from 1979 to 1988. In 1988 he was elected lieutenant governor; he was reelected in 1992. As governor, he made improving public schools his top priority, particularly in the areas of assessment of student achievement and accountability of students and their schools. O’Bannon vastly expanded the children’s health insurance program, making it one of the most successful such programs in the nation. He established the state’s first community college system. He was committed to advancing Indiana as a true crossroads of America, both for highways and fiber optics.


Indiana Historical Bureau

Recent Indiana Governors