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Senator Johanns' Bio

On January 6, 2009, Mike Johanns was sworn in as U.S. Senator for Nebraska. He won the support of an overwhelming majority of Nebraskans by demonstrating principled leadership throughout more than 30 years of public service.

Senator Johanns serves on four committees: Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Appropriations; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; and Veterans Affairs.

Johanns has established himself as a legislative leader on issues that are not only important to Nebraska but also the nation. He has introduced and championed common-sense legislation dealing with issues ranging from agriculture to veterans to small businesses.

After hearing from businesses in Nebraska about a provision in President Obama’s health law that would have created a paperwork nightmare for job creators, Johanns began an effort that gained bipartisan momentum and the 1099 reporting mandate was repealed. On agriculture, he is leading the fight against harmful government regulations and continuing his work on a long-term, reform-minded farm bill that focuses on risk management tools. One of the first pieces of legislation to be signed into law for 2013 was the National Defense Authorization Act, which contained Johanns’ legislation to help returning veterans find civilian employment and supplied funding to continue work on the new command facility for the Strategic Command (STRATCOM) at Offutt Air Force Base. 

Before being elected to the Senate, Johanns was appointed the 28th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January 2005. For nearly three years he worked to expand foreign market access for U.S. producers, promoted the growth of the renewable fuels industry and advanced cooperative conservation. Additionally, Johanns developed an in-depth farm bill proposal, which became the foundation for improvements and reforms adopted in the final 2008 farm bill.

Johanns also served as Nebraska's 38th governor from 1999 to 2005. As governor, he promoted an agenda of tax relief, less government, building the economy, protecting families, and ensuring the health, safety, and success of Nebraska's children. 

Johanns served on the Lancaster County Board from 1983 to 1987, and on the Lincoln City Council from 1989 to 1991. He was elected mayor of Lincoln in 1991 and was reelected in 1995 without opposition. He successfully ran for governor in 1998 and was reelected in 2002.

He grew up on a farm where he learned a work ethic that has been put to use serving the people of Nebraska and this country. The values he developed while growing up serve as the foundation for his commitment to public service. Johanns is a graduate of St. Mary's University of Minnesota. He earned a law degree from Creighton University in Omaha and practiced law in O'Neill and Lincoln.

Johanns is married to Stephanie Johanns, former Lancaster County Commissioner and Nebraska State Senator. The couple has two children and five grandchildren.