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.
Governor Heineman served as the Chair of the National Governors Association from July of 2011 to July of 2012.
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 Nebraska history and the most comprehensive revision of Nebraska’s economic development incentives since the 1980s.
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. He worked with the State Board of Education to require all high school students to take four years of English and three years of math, science and social studies, the first update to Nebraska’s high school graduation requirements in twenty-five years.
A strong supporter of higher education, Governor Heineman worked with the President of the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska Legislature to fund a two-year (FY 2014 and 2015) tuition freeze for Nebraska students attending the University of Nebraska. Governor Heineman and the President of the University also worked with the Nebraska Legislature to secure $25 million for Innovation Campus in Lincoln, $50 million for the Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, $15 million for an allied health professions college at the University of Nebraska Kearney and $6 million for a veterinary diagnostic lab at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
A leader for Nebraska’s agricultural industry, Governor Heineman has secured several trade agreements for Nebraska wheat, soybeans, corn, pork and beef. Additionally, under his watch, Nebraska opened its first ever international trade offices in Tokyo, Japan and Shanghai, China; completed more than ten successful foreign trade missions; and hosted two Reverse Trade Missions. Governor Heineman also 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 a graduate of the Army's Airborne and Ranger Schools.
Governor Heineman’s wife of thirty-five years, Sally Ganem, is a former elementary school principal and teacher. Sally is a graduate of Omaha South High School and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. They have one son, Sam, who is a graduate of Midland University in Fremont. He also received a Masters in Accounting from Midland. Sam is married to Jessica, who is a graduate of the University of Nebraska’s Business College. Sam and Jessica own a small business in Fremont.
In March 2010, Gov. Heineman visited Walnut Creek Elementary School in Papillion where they surprised him with this presentation about him and his life.