Dave Heineman

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David Heineman
Dave Heineman official photo.jpg
Governor of Nebraska
Former officeholder
In office
January 20, 2005 - January 8, 2015
PredecessorMike Johanns (R)
Base salary$105,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 2006
Next generalTerm-limited
Campaign $$6,725,213
Term limitsTwo consecutive terms
Prior offices
Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska
Nebraska Treasurer
Bachelor'sUnited States Military Academy at West Point (1970)
OtherArmy's Airborne and Ranger Schools
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Date of birthMay 12, 1948
Place of birthFalls City, Nebraska
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
David Eugene "Dave" Heineman (b. May 12, 1948, in Falls City, Nebraska) was the 42nd Governor of Nebraska. He served in the office from 2005 to 2015.

Heineman originally assumed the role when Mike Johanns was appointed United States Secretary of Agriculture in President George W. Bush's Cabinet on January 20, 2005. In 2006, Heineman ran on the Republican ticket for his first full term as governor, and was officially elected on November 7, 2006. He won re-election in the 2010 midterms.

Heineman was term limited from running for a third consecutive term as governor in the 2014 elections, and was succeeded by Republican Pete Ricketts on January 8, 2015.

In January 2013, Heineman became the longest-serving governor in state history. A number of previous governors have been elected to the limit of two consecutive four-year terms, but since Heineman first took over the role while serving as lieutenant governor he had nearly two years in office prior to running for election.[1]

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Heineman as the 27th most conservative governor in the country.[2]

Heineman previously served as Lieutenant Governor from 2001-2005 and was state treasurer from 1995-2001. He was chair of the National Governors Association from July 2011-July 2012. Among his accomplishments as governor, Heineman pointed to the passage of the largest tax relief package in state history and the most comprehensive revision of the state's economic development incentives since the 1980s.[3]


After graduating from West Point, Heineman served for five years with the United States Army, leaving with the rank of captain. He graduated from the Army Ranger training program during his years of service.[3]


  • Bachelor's degree in economics - United States Military Academy at West Point (1970)

Political career

Governor of Nebraska (2005 - 2015)

Heineman originally assumed the governorship upon Mike Johanns' appointment as United States Secretary of Agriculture in January 20, 2005. He was officially elected to the position in November 2006 and re-elected in the 2010 midterms.[3] Heineman reached his term limit in 2014 and was succeeded by Pete Ricketts (R).[4]


Response to the 2014 illegal immigration surge

See also: 2014 illegal immigration surge

In response to the 2014 illegal immigration surge, Heineman wrote a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Health and Human Services Secretary. Heineman complained about the lack of a system of notification to communities in place for when immigrants were placed there with sponsors or relatives.[5]

Capitol design

In January 2014, Heineman opposed spending $2.5 million of taxpayer dollars on four bronze water fountains for the state capitol. The fountains were part of a 1920s-era plan to update the state capitol’s design.[6] The fountains were the last phase of the capitol design. “Spending $2 million on fountains is a nice thing to do, but not needed,” Heineman said during a recent briefing with reporters. “I cannot imagine any Nebraskan who wants to spend money on a fountain… that can only be used two, three months out of the year. That’s not a priority expenditure.” However, 31 Nebraska lawmakers supported a bill to spend the $2.5 million on building and installing the fountains.[6]

Tax reform

In January 2013, Heineman announced he would seek to eliminate the state income tax and replace it by eliminating many sales tax exemptions. He said he believes eliminating the income tax would make the state a magnet for jobs.[7] However, on February 16, 2013, he asked the Nebraska State Senate to kill two tax reform bills, which had been introduced by Senators Beau McCoy and Brad Ashford on the governor's behalf and referred to the Revenue Committee. LB 405 would have repealed the state personal and corporate income taxes while also eliminating $2.4 billion worth of sales tax exemptions.[8] The more limited LB 406 would have repealed just the corporate income tax and eliminate $400 million worth of sales tax exemptions while also exempting up to $12,000 of retirement income from the income tax.[9] The Platte Institute for Economic Research, a pro-market think tank, supported eliminating both the personal and corporate income taxes.[10][11] After his proposal met with significant opposition from businesses and others who would have been affected by eliminating the sales tax exemptions, Heineman said he wanted the bills pulled so that Revenue Committee Chairman Galen Hadley could develop a more comprehensive tax reform plan.[12][13]

Tax cut

In Dec. 2006, Heineman presented the Nebraska State Legislature with a middle class tax cut which promised $1 billion of tax relief over the subsequent four years.[14] After finagling with state legislators, he signed LB 367, the largest tax relief bill in the state's history. The bill provided $425 million in tax relief over a two year period. Heineman also pushed for legislation that would make the state's Department of Health and Human Services more accountable to citizens.


In a state where agricultural issues are important, Heineman has made them a top priority. The governor helped to negotiate trade deals with the Republic of China and Cuba for the exportation of wheat, soybeans and other commodities. He has also been a proponent of increased production of ethanol.

The Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")

Nebraska Watchdog reported on Heineman's feud with the Nebraska Democratic Party regarding his opposition to national health care and his push to get top educators in the state to fight the Obama health care plan.[15]

Judicial appointments

As governor, Heineman is responsible for appointing judges to Nebraska state courts. In Nebraska, the governor makes a judicial appointment after candidates are recommended by a judicial nominating commission. After the governor appoints a judge, she or he must run for retention in the next general election more than three years after taking office. For an up-to-date list of all of Heineman's appointees, see Judgepedia's page on his appointments.

2014 Gubernatorial Election
See also: Nebraska Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Gubernatorial election, 2014

Heineman is barred by term limits from seeking a third term as governor in 2014, and he had intended to enthusiastically back former Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy, with whom he shared a winning ticket in both the 2006 and 2010 elections, as his successor until Sheehy's resignation in Feb. 2013. His abrupt departure stemmed from an Omaha World-Herald expose showing that Sheehy had made roughly 2,300 phone calls, many late at night, to women other than his wife over the previous four years on his state-issued mobile phone.[16] "I had trusted him and that trust was broken," Gov. Dave Heinman explained at a Feb. 2 press conference where he made the shocking announcement.[17][18] Sheehy announced his candidacy for governor back in July 2011, and[19] was considered the front-runner until the scandal broke, causing a "deeply disappointed" Heineman to withdraw his support for Sheehy's gubernatorial campaign, which shut down completely soon thereafter.[20][21][22]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Heineman was ranked number 11. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[23][24]


Lieutenant Governor resignation

Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy resigned on February 2, 2013 amid revelations he had abused his state-issued cell phone privileges over a span of four years. As governor, Heineman was authorized to appoint an interim lieutenant governor to serve out the remaining two years of Sheehy’s term. Heineman appointed Lavon Heidemann (R) to fill the vacancy. Heidemann was sworn in on February 13, 2013.[25] He will serve in this role until a successor can be elected in 2014.[26]

Budget plan

In Nov. 2009, while Nebraska faced "a [budget] shortfall of $334 million" caused largely by shrinking sales tax receipts, Heineman introduced a plan to help balance it that included a number of cost saving measures such as "agency savings, transfers from the general fund"[27] and a 2.5 percent across-the-board reduction to most state agencies in the 2009 fiscal year and a 5 percent reduction in fiscal year 2010-2011, cuts totaling $80 million.

Heineman's budget proposal would also take another $154 million from K-12 education, Medicaid, the state prison system and the State Patrol. School budgets would not be cut, the planned increases would simply be frozen, Heineman assured. Unlike neighboring Iowa's Governor Chet Culver, Heineman's proposal did not include a personal salary cut. Heineman said he would oppose any attempt to increase income or sales taxes and expressed his opposition to dipping any further into the state’s cash reserve fund.[28]

Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska (2001 - 2005)

Heineman was appointed as Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska on October 1, 2001, after David I. Maurstad resigned in order to serve as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VIII. He was elected to his first full term the following year.

Nebraska Treasurer (1994 - 2001)

Heineman was first elected to the office of treasurer in 1994 and won re-election to the office four years later.

Fremont City Council (1990-1994)

Heineman was first elected to serve the general public of Nebraska in 1990 as a member of the Fremont City Council. He remained there until 1994 when he successfully campaigned to be the state's treasurer.



See also: United States Senate elections in Nebraska, 2014 and Nebraska gubernatorial election, 2014

Heineman is barred by term-limits from seeking re-election as governor. His popularity and imminent availability placed Heineman at the top of the list of 2014 potential candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by GOP freshman Sen. - and Heineman's predecessor as governor - Mike Johanns.[29][30] Heineman announced on May 25, 2013 that he had decided against entering the Senate race.[31]


See also: Nebraska gubernatorial election, 2010

Heineman defeated challenger Mike Meister in the 2010 gubernatorial race. His margin of victory was 49 points - the largest gubernatorial win of 2010.[32]

  • General Election - 2010 Governor Race
Governor of Nebraska, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Mike Meister 26.1% 127,343
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDave Heineman Incumbent 73.9% 360,645
Total Votes 487,988


2006 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[33]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Dave Heineman (R) 50.3%
Tom Osborne (R) 44.4%
Dave Nabity (R) 5.3%
Total votes 274,975
2006 Race for Governor - General Election[34]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Dave Heineman (R) 73.4%
David Hahn (D) 24.5%
Barry Richards (Nebraska) 1.5%
Mort Sullivan (By Petition) 0.6%
Total votes 593,357

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Heineman is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Heineman raised a total of $6,725,213 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 23, 2013.[35]

Dave Heineman's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 NE Governor/Lt. Governor Not up for election $140,413
2010 NE Governor/Lt. Governor Won $2,683,538
2008 NE Governor/Lt. Governor Not up for election $148,207
2006 NE Governor/Lt. Governor Won $3,753,055
Grand Total Raised $6,725,213


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Dave Heineman and Rick Sheehy's donors each year.[36] Click [show] for more information.


Heineman currently resides in Freemont, Nebraska with his wife, Sally Ganem, and their son, Sam. He is a practicing Methodist.[3]

Recent news

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Contact info

Office of the Governor
Post Office Box 94848
Lincoln, NE 68509-4848

Phone: 402-471-2244
Fax: 402-471-6031

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. KearneyHub, "Heineman now in the record books as Nebraska's longest-serving governor," January 22, 2013
  2. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Governor of Nebraska, " About the Governor," accessed August 7, 2013
  4. Omaha.com, "Q&A: Pete Ricketts, who will be sworn in today as governor, offers glimpse of his vision for Nebraska," January 8, 2015
  5. Washington Post, "At least 32 governors have weighed in on the border crisis. Here’s what each has said," July 23, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 WatchDog.org, "Nebraska governor: $2.5 million water fountains ‘not needed’," January 23, 2014
  7. Wall Street Journal, "The State Tax Reformers," January 29, 2013
  8. Text of LB405
  9. Text of LB 406
  10. Patrick Lincoln Gerhart, Platte Institute for Economic Research, "The Benefits of Eliminating the Income Tax," February 6, 2013
  11. Patrick Lincoln Gerhart, Platte Institute for Economic Research, "Tax Proposal Review Part Two: Ending the Corporate Income Tax," February 13, 2013
  12. JoAnne Young, Lincoln Journal Star, "Heineman to Legislature: Kill tax bills," February 16, 2013
  13. Grant Schulte, Associated Press, "Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman asks panel to kill both of his tax bills, start new tax discussion," February 16, 2013
  14. Fremont Tribune, "Heineman outlines his tax cuts proposals" 29 Dec. 2006
  15. Nebraska Watchdog
  16. The Wall Street Journal, "Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Resigns," February 2, 2013
  17. World Herald-Bureau, "Mike Flood launches bid for governor's office in 2014," November 13, 2012
  18. World Herald-Bureau, "Mike Flood launches bid for governor's office in 2014," November 13, 2012
  19. Journal Star, "Sheehy says he will run for Nebraska governor in 2014," July 15, 2011
  20. ‘’The Wall Street Journal, “Nebraska lt. governor resigns,” February 2, 2013
  21. ‘’Omaha World-Herald, “Sheehy’s campaign returns donations,” February 6, 2013
  22. ‘’Omaha World-Herald, “Sheehy’s campaign returns donations,” February 6, 2013
  23. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  24. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  25. Omaha.com, "Choice of Heidemann for lieutenant governor called 'great pick'," February 14, 2013
  26. The World Herald-Bureau, "Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy issues resignation," February 2, 2013
  27. Journal Star, "Gov. Dave Heineman: Budget proposal is about reducing spending" 2 Nov. 2009
  28. Governor Lays Out Budget Cuts; His Salary Safe, Nebraska Watchdog, November 2, 2009
  29. Roll Call, "Heineman, Fortenberry Considering Senate Run in Nebraska, "February 18, 2013
  30. Omaha World-Herald, "Dave Heineman weighs Senate bid," February 18, 2013
  31. 630WPRO.com, "Nebraska Governor Takes a Pass on Senate Bid," May 27, 2013 (dead link)
  32. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Official Report of the State Board of Canvassers of the State of Nebraska," accessed December 21, 2010
  33. Nebraska Secretary of State - 2006 Republican Primary Election Results
  34. Nebraska Secretary of State - 2006 General Election Results
  35. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Dave Heineman," accessed May 23, 2013
  36. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015

Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Johanns (R)
Governor of Nebraska
Succeeded by
Pete Ricketts (R)
Preceded by
David I. Maurstad
Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska
Succeeded by
Rick Sheehy (R)
Preceded by
Dawn E. Rockey
Nebraska Treasurer
Succeeded by
Lorelee Hunt Byrd