David Heineman (R)

Nebraska Governor (since 2005)

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Why He Matters

Native Cornhusker and former Nebraska lieutenant governor Heineman caught a lucky break in 2005 when his former boss, Gov. Mike Johanns (R), was promoted to Agriculture Secretary under George W. Bush. Since winning election in his own right in 2006, Heinemen has been an outspoken opponent of immigration and health-care reform. At times, his strong stance against providing health services to undocumented immigrants has led to trouble with his anti-abortion base.

However, the governor made lifelong alliances with right-to-life groups in 2010 when he signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act into law, the first law of its kind, banning abortion in Nebraska 20 weeks or more after conception, two weeks earlier than the latest term abortion available under Roe v. Wade.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Nebraska Lieutenant Governor (2001-2005); Nebraska State Treasurer (1994-2001); Fremont City Council (1990-1994)
  • Birthday: May 12, 1948
  • Hometown: Falls City, Nebraska
  • Alma Mater: United States Military Academy
  • Spouse: Sally Ganem
  • Religion: Methodist
  • State/District Office: Office of the Governor P.O. Box 94848 Lincoln, NE 68509-4848402-471-2244
  • Web site

Path To Power

Heineman began his career after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1970, after which time he spent five years in the U.S. Army, eventually ranked as a captain, and also graduated from the intensive two-month Army Ranger School program.

Heineman has worked as an aide for former GOP Reps. Doug Bereuter and Hal Daub. His political career began on the Fremont City Council. He later served two terms as the state treasurer before setting his sights on the governor's mansion. As treasurer, he implemented the Nebraska College Savings Plan (now known as the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust), one of the top college-savings plans in the country. Working his way through the ranks in state politics, he has also served as the executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party.

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The Issues

Heineman is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, demonstrated in each campaign cycle by NRA support.

Abortion Rights

A staunch opponent of abortion, Heineman made headlines in 2010 when he signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act into law, making abortions more than 20 weeks after conception illegal in the state of Nebraska. Under federal law enacted post-Roe v. Wade, abortion is allowed up to 22 weeks. The Nebraska law is the first of its kind nationwide.

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The Network

Heineman's2006 gubernatorial campaign was supported by a number of right-leaning special interest groups, including Nebraska Right to Life and the National Rifle Association, which were crucial to his primary win and later overall victory.

In 2008, Heineman was one of the few GOP governors who backed Mitt Romney's presidential run.

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