|32nd Governor of Wyoming|
January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Dave Freudenthal|
|U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming|
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Dave Freudenthal|
|Succeeded by||Kelly Rankin|
|Born||Matthew Hansen Mead
March 11, 1962
Jackson, Wyoming, U.S.
|Alma mater||Trinity University
University of Wyoming
Matthew Hansen "Matt" Mead (born March 11, 1962) is an American politician who has served as the 32nd Governor of Wyoming since 2011. A Republican, he is a maternal grandson of Governor and U.S. Senator Clifford Hansen.
Early life and career
Mead, the son of Peter Bradford Mead and Mary Elisabeth Hansen Mead, was born and reared in Jackson, Wyoming. Mead graduated in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in radio/television from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas where he was a member of the Bengal Lancer fraternity among other pursuits. He then went on to earn a law degree from the University of Wyoming at Laramie. After law school, he served as a county and federal prosecutor and also practiced in a private law firm.
In 2001, Mead was appointed United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming by President George W. Bush. He served until June 2007, when he resigned to seek the Senate seat vacated by the death of fellow Republican Craig L. Thomas. His resignation was required under the Hatch Act of 1939.
In accordance with the Wyoming state law, the Republican party selected the three candidates from which Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal could make his selection. On the third ballot, The Republican State Central Committee, by fourteen votes, eliminated Mead from consideration. Freudenthal chose state Senator John Barrasso; the others he considered were former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne and former Republican State Chairman and lobbyist Tom Sansonetti, who had been an aide to Thomas.
In 2010, Mead won the Republican gubernatorial primary with 30,272 votes, defeating State Auditor Rita Meyer, who polled 29,558 votes, despite Meyer's endorsement by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Fort Bridger rancher Ron Micheli finished third, with 27,592 votes; State House Speaker Colin M. Simpson finished fourth with 16,673 votes.
Mead's campaign emphasized his support for gun rights. He opposed gay marriage, and said was against abortion, but that there should be exceptions to allow a woman to choose the procedure when her health or life is at stake and in cases of rape and incest. On November 2, 2010, Mead easily defeated Leslie Petersen, the former chairwoman of the Wyoming Democratic Party, receiving 72% of the vote to Petersen's 25%.
Actions in office
In late January 2013, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill, a Republican, announced that she would be a candidate in Wyoming's 2014 governor's race. A Tea Party favorite, Hill would face Mead in the Republican primary on August 19, 2014. Earlier in January, Mead had signed legislation sharply reducing the responsibilities of Hill's office, making the position largely ceremonial.
To supersede Hill, Mead named Rich Crandall, a moderate Republican member of the Arizona State Senate and a political ally of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, to fill the newly established position of "director" of the Wyoming Education Department. The Wyoming Supreme Court in January 2014 rebuffed Mead and declared that the legislature had overstepped its constitutional powers when it stripped Hill of most of her office duties. Mead unsuccessfully appealed the decision, and Hill resumed her duties in May 2014, just a few weeks before the beginning of the gubernatorial primary campaign.
Meanwhile, two Republican lawmakers who claim no ties to Hill have called for a special prosecutor to investigate Mead's conduct in the matter. Representatives Gerald Gay of Casper and Stephen Watt of Rock Springs claim that Mead abused the powers of his office and used funds prior to legal authorization to discredit Hill.
Gay said: "I am in possession of information and internal email correspondence that gives rise to the concern that the governor has used state monies to manufacture allegations against a political opponent. ... The public knows an abuse of power when they see it, and this (is) one of the most egregious examples of abuse of power in Wyoming history. ... I believe there were political motivations because of the timeline that was involved. ... The things I have found are egregious enough that they have to be stopped immediately and to make sure they never happen again."
Gay claimed that a special prosecutor is needed because he does not trust Wyoming Attorney General Peter K. Michael, a Mead appointee, to conduct a fair probe. Michael said that his office does not prosecute crimes except in rare situations which would not apply in this particular matter.
Mead handily won re-nomination in the 2014 Republican primary, having defeated Dr. Taylor Haynes and Hill. Mead finished with 53,626 votes (55 percent) to Haynes's 31,490 (32 percent), and Hill's 12,443 (13 percent). In the November 4 general election, Mead handily defeated Peter Thomas "Pete" Gosar (born 1968), the former Democratic Party state chairman and the brother of a Republican U.S. representative from Arizona. In the same election, Republican Jillian Balow, backed by Mead, won election to succeed Hill as the education superintendent.
Mead's mother, Mary, was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 1990. Considered an expert horsewoman, she died in 1996, on her 61st birthday, in a horseback accident while working cattle in Grand Teton National Park. In 2003, Mead and his brother and sister put their family ranch in the park up for sale; the price was said to be $110 million. Mead's paternal aunt, Andrea Mead Lawrence, was an alpine ski racer who competed in three Winter Olympic Games and won two gold medals for the United States.
Mead and his wife Carol have two children.
- Strauss, Valerie (July 17, 2012). "Matthew Mead (R)". The Washington Post.
- "Mead Seeking Seat". Jackson Hole News & Guide. June 12, 2007.
- Angus M. Thuermer Jr. (June 8, 2007). "Mead quits federal post". Jackson Hole News & Guide.
- "Wyoming Names Senate Replacement". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
- Linda Feldmann (July 30, 2010). "Sarah Palin anoints a new 'mama grizzly': Does it make a difference?". CSMonitor.com.
- "It's Mead by a Hair". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. August 18, 2010.
- Tom Morton (January 23, 2010). "Former U.S. Attorney Mead running for Wyoming governor". Casper Star-Tribune.
- "Wyoming: Matt Mead elected governor; Democrats win no statewide offices". USA Today (Associated Press). November 4, 2010.
- Trevor Brown. "Mead selects treasurer". Wyoming Tribune Eagle, October 27, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- John Celock (February 1, 2013). "Cindy Hill, Demoted Wyoming Schools Boss, Running For Governor". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
- John Celock (February 28, 2013). "Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead Not Focused On Cindy Hill's Primary Challenge". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
- "State asks court to reconsider Hill ruling". Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- "Lawmakers call for Mead probe: Representatives say that power was abused and funds were misused in Cindy Hill investigation". Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. July 25, 2014. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
- "Mead wins GOP primary for Wyoming governor". Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Aaron Schrank. "November 5, 2014". Wyoming National Public Radio. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- Mead-Ferro, Muffy (2004). Confessions of a Slacker Mom. Da Capo Lifelong. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7382-0994-4.
- Angus M. Thuermer Jr. "Mead Ranch on the Block". Jackson Hole News,. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
- Bill McCarthy (January 23, 2010). "Mead officially running for governor". Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
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