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Michael Owen "Mike" Johanns (born June 18, 1950) is an Americanmarker Republican politician who has been the junior United States Senator from Nebraskamarker since 2009. Previously he was Governor of Nebraska from 1999 to 2005 and was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 2005 to 2007. On November 4, 2008, Johanns was elected to the United States Senate for the state of Nebraska, becoming one of only two new Republican senators (with Jim Risch of Idahomarker) heading into the 111th United States Congress.



Johanns was born in Osage, Iowamarker, and grew up living and working on his family's farm. After graduating from high school, Johanns went on to study at Saint Mary's University of Minnesotamarker in Winona. He earned a law degree from Creighton Universitymarker. After his graduation, Johanns began practicing law in O'Neillmarker and Lincoln, Nebraskamarker.

Local Figure

Johanns served on the Lancaster Countymarker Board from 1983 to 1987 as a Democrat. In 1988 he switched party alliances and was elected to the Lincoln City Council where he served from 1989 to 1991. He was elected as Mayor of Lincoln in 1991 and 1995. He then ran successfully for Governor of Nebraska in 1998.

Johanns was elected Governor in 1998 by defeating Democratic opponent Bill Hoppner by a margin of 54% to 46%. He won reelection in 2002 by a landslide, defeating Democrat Stormy Dean by a margin of 69% to 27%.In 2004 Johanns tried to close two of the three state regional mental health facilities to save the state money. This move was very unpopular, because it took away high paying jobs in small rural towns.

On December 2, 2004, Johanns was nominated by President George W. Bush to replace outgoing Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman. As a result, he scrapped plans to run against Democratic Senator Ben Nelson in 2006. Johanns was confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 2005, hours after Bush's second inauguration. He tendered his resignation as Governor of Nebraska on that day. On the next day he was sworn in.


Johanns is married to Stephanie Johanns, a former Lancaster County Commissioner and Nebraska State Senator. They have two children and five grandchildren.

2008 U.S. Senate campaign

On September 20, 2007, he resigned as Agriculture Secretary to run for the United States Senate. Johanns officially announced his bid on October 10, 2007 to run for the Senate seat to be vacated by Senator Chuck Hagel, who decided not to run for re-election. On November 4, 2008, he was elected to the United States Senate , defeating Democratic nominee Scott Kleeb in the general election.

Congressional career

Committee assignments

111th Congress

In September 2009, Johanns introduced an amendment that would block federal funding for ACORN, in light of a number of members being arrested for voter fraud and three videos that show the group offering tax advice and promoting prostitution for undercover activists disguised as a pimp and a prostitute. The Johanns Amendment passed 83-7.

In October 2009, Johanns joined 29 other Republican senators in voting against a much-publicized amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill offered by Minnesota Senator Al Franken. Citing the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, Franken's amendment would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR "if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court." It passed the US Senate 68-30.


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