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Utah's Governors

Governors who have served Utah since it became a state in 1896.

Previous governors

Utah's governor today:

Governor HerbertGARY R. HERBERT 2005 - PRESENT
(1947- )

Gary Richard Herbert is Utah's 17th governor. Prior to becoming governor, he served as lieutenant governor under Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. for nearly five years, before taking the Oath of Office on Aug. 11, 2009.

Governor Herbert was born in American Fork, Utah, and raised in Orem, Utah. After graduating from Orem High School, Gov. Herbert served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Eastern Atlantic States Mission.

While attending BYU, Herbert met and married Jeanette Snelson, from Springville, Utah. Shortly after their marriage, he joined the Utah National Guard and served for six years as a staff sergeant working with target acquisition, artillery and ground survey.

After his military service, Herbert began a career in the real estate industry, founding Herbert & Associates Realtors, an Orem-based brokerage firm. He and Jeanette also began a child care service, The Kids Connection, which they operated for 23 years.

Governor Herbert currently sits on the National Governors Association Health and Human Services standing committee, the Healthcare Reform Task Force, and the newly created Homeland Security Special Committee.

In his inaugural address, Governor Herbert outlined his three main priorities of economic development, public and higher education, and energy development.

Governor and Mrs. Herbert have six children and 10 grandchildren

 

Governor WellsHEBER MANNING WELLS
Governor: 1896-1905 
Republican
(Lived: August 11, 1859-March 12, 1938) 


When Utah achieved statehood in 1896, 36-year-old Wells, a Salt Lake City native, became Utah's first governor -- and the youngest to date. A former tax collector, city recorder, and secretary of the 1895 Utah Constitutional Convention, he was later involved in banking. Wells helped state government move from territorial to state status. He supported bills that affected education, agriculture, and the arts.


Governor Cutler JOHN CHRISTOPHER CUTLER

Governor: 1905-1909 
Republican
(Lived: February 5, 1846-July 30,1928) 

Born in Sheffield, England, Cutler immigrated to Utah with his family in 1864. A successful businessman and president of the family dry goods business, he was also director of several banks, and insurance companies. As governor, Cutler began a state juvenile court system, ordered that state laws be compiled and coded, and created the state register of births and deaths.


Governor SpryWILLIAM SPRY
Governor: 1909-1917 
Republican
(Lived: January 11, 1864 - April 21, 1929) 


A native of Windsor, England, Spry came to Utah in 1875. After serving as a tax collector, Grantsville councilman, and a state legislator, Spry was appointed U.S. marshal for Utah in 1906. As governor, he is remembered for convincing the legislature to appropriate money for the State Capitol. Also, he refused to intervene in the execution of radical labor leader Joe Hill.


Governor BambergerSIMON BAMBERGER
Governor: 1917-1921 
Democrat
(Lived: February 27, 1846 - October 6, 1926) 

Bamberger, born in Eberstadt, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, has the distinction of being Utah's first Democratic governor, first non-Mormon governor, and the oldest elected governor. He took office at the age of 71. The second Jew elected governor of any state in the U.S., he had earned a fortune in silver mining and railroading. A strong supporter of Prohibition, he promoted reforms, including establishment of a Public Utilities Commission (now the Public Service Commission), and a Department of Health.


Governor MabeyCHARLES RENDELL MABEY
Governor: 1921-1925 
Republican
(Lived: October 4, 1877-April 26, 1959) 

Born in Bountiful, Utah, Mabey studied at the University of Utah and served in the Spanish American War and World War I. He was a banker, mayor, and educator. As Utah's fifth governor, Mabey was a strong supporter of education. Under his administration, new schools were built and standards for teacher certification improved. He also worked for new highway construction.


Governor DernGEORGE HENRY DERN
Governor: 1925-1933
Democrat
(Lived: September 8, 1872 - August 27, 1936) 

A native of Scribner, Dodge County, Nebraska, Dern was captain of the University of Nebraska football team during his college years. An important figure in Utah's mining industry, he served in the state senate before his election as governor. Dern revised Utah's tax laws to favor middle and lower income groups. He advocated unemployment insurance. Later, he served as Franklin D. Roosevelt's Secretary of War.


Governor BloodHENRY HOOPER BLOOD
Governor: 1933-1941
Democrat
(Lived: October 1, 1872-June 19, 1942)

Born in Kaysville, Blood had served on the Public Utilities Commission and as chairman of the State Road Commission before his election as governor. He supported Franklin D. Roosevelt's programs during the Great Depression. He was able to obtain Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration projects for Utah. Dams and range improvements were high priorities during his administration. At his urging, the legislature passed a 2 percent sales tax to help struggling families. Blood was the first governor to occupy Utah's current Governor's Mansion, donated by the Thomas Kearns family to the state in 1937.


Governor MawHERBERT BROWN MAW
Governor: 1941-1949
Democrat
(Lived: March 11, 1893-November 17, 1990) 

An Ogden native, Maw served as an army chaplain during World War I before beginning a successful career as a university professor and attorney. Maw served 10 years in the Utah Senate and was its president during 1934-38. He helped to secure important military and defense facilities for the state during World War II.


Governor LeeJOSEPH BRACKEN LEE
Governor: 1949-1957
Republican
(Lived: January 7, 1899-October 20, 1996) 

Born in Price, Utah, Lee was involved in the real estate and insurance business. He served as mayor of Price during 1936-47. As governor, Lee gained national attention almost immediately because of his battle against the federal income tax. Under his direction, Utah maintained its debt-free status. He later served as mayor of Salt Lake City from 1959 to 1971.


Governor ClydeGEORGE DEWEY CLYDE
Governor: 1957-1965
Republican
(Lived: July 21, 1898 - April 2, 1972)


Born near Springville, Utah, Clyde became a recognized expert in water conservation and development. He taught engineering at Utah State University, worked for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, and directed the Utah Water and Power Board before his election as governor. Clyde increased state funding for schools, highway construction, and state buildings. He also began the state library and the state park system.


Governor RamptonCALVIN LEWELLYN RAMPTON
Governor: 1965-1977
Democrat
(Lived: November 6, 1913-September 17, 2007) 

A Bountiful native, Rampton was awarded the Bronze Star while serving in Europe during World War II. Utah's only governor to date who has completed three terms, he created the Industrial Promotion Council and the Utah Travel Council. Rampton supported important civil rights legislation, increased spending for education, and modernized state government systems. He retired to a private law practice.


Governor MathesonSCOTT MILNE MATHESON
Governor: 1977-1985
Democrat
(Lived: January 8, 1929 - October 7, 1990)


Born in Chicago, Illinois, Matheson began his law practice in Cedar City before serving as deputy Salt Lake County attorney and later as an attorney for the Union Pacific Railroad. As governor, Matheson defended Utah's rights against growing authority by federal agencies. Inflation, drought and flooding were challenging, and he cut state budgets and payrolls. Yet he did secure increased funding for education, health, and highways. He returned to private law practice and became national chair of the Democratic Policy Commission.


Governor BangerterNORMAN HOWARD BANGERTER
Governor: 1985-1993
Republican
(Lived: January 4, 1933 -)
 

Bangerter grew up in Granger (now West Valley City). He served in the U. S. Army in Korea, 1953-54. A successful real estate developer and businessman, he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 1974. As governor, he began a campaign to rebuild the state's economy and to reduce the size and cost of state government. His three E's -- education, economic development, and efficiency in government -- won national recognition for the state as a good place to live and do business. Later, he became occupied with the environment as well as court, prison, and building needs. He returned to private business.


Governor LeavittMICHAEL OKERLUND LEAVITT
Governor: 1993-2003
Republican
(Lived: February 11, 1951 -)
 

Born in Cedar City, Utah, Leavitt worked as an insurance executive and businessman. While governor, he worked to bring jobs and economic growth to Utah. His education program included Centennial Schools, a program to return power to parents and teachers at local schools. His Smart Sites initiative built public-private partnerships to deliver state services electronically. The state received national and international recognition during his term, including Salt Lake City being named as the site for the 2002 Winter Olympics and as the best state to locate a business, best managed state, and most livable state. Leavitt resigned during his third term to head the Environmental Protection Agency. 


Governor WalkerOLENE S. WALKER 
Governor: 2003 -2004
Republican

(Lived : November 15, 1930 -) 

The first female governor of Utah, Olene Walker was also Utah's first female lieutenant governor. She became governor in November 2003, when Governor Michael O. Leavitt resigned to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Born in Ogden, Utah, Walker served as a member of the Utah House of Representatives from 1981 to 1989. Her efforts led to the establishment of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This provides access to medical insurance for children in Utah. During her short term, Governor Walker accomplished much. She worked for better education and having every child learn to read well. She also worked for watershed protection, air quality measures, and opposition to high-level nuclear waste coming to Utah.


Governor HuntsmanJON HUNTSMAN JR.
Governor: 2005 - 2009
Republican
(Lived: 1960 - )
 

Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. helped manage his family’s company, served as president of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and served on the boards of other large companies before becoming governor of Utah. He has also worked in the federal government, as deputy assistant Secretary of Commerce, U.S. ambassador to Singapore, and U.S. trade ambassador. Huntsman focused on economic development for Utah and making the government more efficient. He left office when President Barack Obama appointed him as ambassador to China in 2009.