Ofﬁces: State Capitol, Second Floor N.E., P.O. Box 94848, Lincoln, NE 685094848, phone (402) 471-2244;
Governor’s Western Ofﬁce: 1205 Summit Drive, Sidney, NE 69162, phone (308) 254-7644,
Governor: David Heineman
Statutory References: Nebraska Constitution, Article IV, Section 1; and 84-101
Publications: Governor’s message printed in pamphlet form when delivered and in the Legislative Journal; budget message printed in pamphlet form when delivered and in the Legislative Journal.
According to Nebraska’s constitution, the supreme executive power of the state is vested in the governor. It is the governor’s duty “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed and the affairs of the state efﬁciently and economically administered.”
The governor is the chief budget ofﬁcer and must present the Legislature with a complete budget for all expenditures used in running the state’s regular business. The Legislature may, by a three-ﬁfths majority vote, appropriate more than the governor recommends for any given purpose.
By law, the governor also must:
The Governor is the chairperson of the Board of State Canvassers and the Board of Pardons. The governor is a member of the State Records Board, Nebraska Capitol Commission, Education Commission of the States, State Board of Health, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission, Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice and other groups as provided by law.
When Nebraska was a territory, the U.S. president appointed the governor to a four-year term. The territorial governor received a $2,500 salary.
Nebraska’s ﬁrst state constitution, adopted in 1866, called for the people to elect a governor to a two-year term. The governor’s duties were prescribed by an act approved on June 24, 1867.
In 1962, voters approved a constitutional amendment providing that the governor would be elected to a four-year term beginning in 1966. A 1966 general election vote provided that the governor could serve only two consecutive terms. To run for governor, a person must be a resident and citizen of Nebraska for at least ﬁve years before the election and be at least 30 years old.
The governor’s salary was $1,000 until raised by the constitution of 1875 to $2,500. The constitution of 1920 ﬁxed the governor’s salary at $7,500 until otherwise provided by law. The 1933 Legislature reduced the salaries of the governor and certain constitutional ofﬁcers, but the Nebraska Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional (129 Neb. 669-699). In 1947, the Legislature increased the governor’s salary to $10,000, and the 1951 Legislature raised the salary to $11,000 effective in 1957. The delayed increase was because Article IV, Section 25 of the state constitution provided that no constitutional ofﬁcer salary could be changed more than once in eight years. In 1956, a general election vote repealed this salary restriction. Lawmakers boosted the salary to $14,000 in 1963. Since then, senators have gradually increased the salary to its current level of $105,000.
From 1889 to 1899, the state paid the rent on a residence for the governor, except during the incumbency of Gov. Lorenzo Crounse (1893-95), who refused to accept the additional payments. In 1899, the Legislature spent $25,000 to buy and furnish an executive mansion. Of this sum, $21,385.30 was spent. The 1945 Legislature approved a new Georgian Colonial-style mansion to be built at a cost of $200,000 and completed in early 1958.
By 1997, 40 years of use had taken a toll on the mansion. First Lady Diane Nelson led a fund-raising effort to restore the governor’s mansion to its original condition. After renovations were completed, the mansion was reopened to the public in August 1998.
Gov. Mike Johanns and First Lady Stephanie Johanns launched a landscaping renewal project for the governor’s residence grounds in November 2001. Private donations paid for most of the project. The state allocated money to make the mansion wheelchair accessible and to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.