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Russell W. Peterson

Gov. Russell W. Peterson

  • January 21, 1969 - January 16, 1973
  • Republican
  • October 3, 1916
  • February 21, 2011
  • Wisconsin
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Married twice-- Lillian Turner, four children; June Jenkins


RUSSELL W. PETERSON was born in Portage, Wisconsin, on October 3, 1916. Peterson received a B.S. in 1938 and a Ph.D. in 1942, both from University of Wisconsin, and became a chemist. Peterson was not a career politician and only ran for public office twice, both times as governor. A staunch environmentalist, Governor Peterson was the guiding force behind the Delaware Coastal Zone Management Act of 1971 which protected the state inland bays and waterways. This piece of legislation has since been used by other states to protect their shorelines. During his tenure as governor, Peterson chaired the Education Commission of the States from 1970 to 1971. He died on February 21, 2011.


Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors' Conference, 1972.

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