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Mike Johanns

Gov. Mike Johanns

  • January 7, 1999 - January 20, 2005
  • Republican
  • June 18, 1950
  • Iowa
  • Cabinet secretary, Senator
  • St. Mary's College, Creighton University
  • Resigned


MIKE JOHANNS was born in Osage, Iowa. He received a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota, in 1971 and a Juris Doctor from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1974. After graduating, he clerked at the Nebraska Supreme Court and then joined the O’Neill, Nebraska, law firm of Cronin and Hannon. He moved to Lincoln and became a partner at Nelson, Johanns, Morris, Holdemann, and Titus. In 1982 he was elected to the Lancaster County Board and in 1989 to the Lincoln City Council. He was elected mayor of Lincoln in 1991 and reelected in 1995. Johanns became the first Republican governor to be re-elected in 2002. He focused on tax relief; less government; building a strong, statewide economy; protecting families; and ensuring the health, safety, and success of Nebraska’s children. Among his accomplishments were $85 million dedicated to direct property tax relief, a smaller governor’s office staff, and restrictions on using state cars that save taxpayer dollars. He advocated statewide economic development by supporting construction of ethanol production plants in rural areas and recruiting job creation and investment in urban and rural areas. His criminal justice successes included tougher penalties for methamphetamine dealers, criminalizing child enticement, and adding state troopers. Children’s priorities included enhanced early childhood programs, promotion of foster care and adoption, quality child care, and a campaign against infant mortality. Johanns led delegations on trade missions to Asia, Australia, and South America. He is past chair of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition and the Midwest Governors’ Conference. He cochaired the Governors’ Public Power Alliance and the Governors’ Bio-Tech Partnership, and was vice-chair of the Western Governors’ Association. Johanns also chaired the National Governors Association Committee on Economic Development and Commerce. Governor Johanns resigned on January 20, 2005, after he was confirmed as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Recent Nebraska Governors