Kay A. Orr
Orr in 2017
|36th Governor of Nebraska|
January 9, 1987 – January 9, 1991
|Preceded by||Bob Kerrey|
|Succeeded by||Ben Nelson|
|Treasurer of Nebraska|
June 15, 1981 – January 9, 1987
|Preceded by||Frank Marsh|
|Succeeded by||Frank Marsh|
|Born||Kay Avonne Stark
January 2, 1939
Burlington, Iowa, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Bill Orr (1957–2013)|
|Education||University of Iowa|
Orr was born as Kay Avonne Stark in Burlington, Iowa. Her mother, Sadie, was active in local politics, while her father, Ralph, was a Burlington city council member and farm implements dealer. She attended the University of Iowa from 1956 to 1957. She married William Dayton Orr on September 26, 1957, and they had two children, John William and Suzanne. She moved with her family to Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1963. Shortly after moving there, she began volunteering as a Republican Party worker. She supported such politicians as Richard M. Nixon, Carl Curtis, and Roman Hruska, and in 1969 was named "Outstanding Young Republican Woman" in Nebraska.
Orr was appointed to fill a midterm vacancy in the office of Nebraska State Treasurer in 1981. She was subsequently elected to that post in 1982, becoming the first woman ever to be elected to a statewide constitutional office in Nebraska. She held that office until 1987.
In 1986, Orr secured the Republican nomination for Nebraska governor by winning an eight-way primary.
In the primary, Orr carried 81 of Nebraska's 93 counties including Douglas and Lancaster, Brashear carried 9 counties, and Hoch carried 2 counties.
In the 1986 general election, she defeated former Lincoln Mayor Helen Boosalis in the first U.S. gubernatorial election in which both major party candidates were women, winning by a 53% to 47% margin. Although a Republican woman, Vesta M. Roy, served as the unelected acting governor of New Hampshire from December 1982 to January 1983, Orr was the first Republican woman to be elected governor in the United States.
In the 1990 gubernatorial election, Orr was narrowly defeated for re-election by Democrat Ben Nelson. Nelson's two main attacks on her gubernatorial record were her support of a proposed low-level nuclear waste dump and her raising taxes.
Orr served twice as a presidential elector for the state of Nebraska, casting one of the state's five electoral votes. In the 2004 presidential election, she voted for George W. Bush; in the 2012 election, for Mitt Romney.
- Kaufman, Joanne (1988-12-12). "While Nebraska Governor Kay Orr Makes Policy, Husband Bill, Her 'First Gentleman,' Bakes Meat Loaf". People Magazine. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
- "Kay A. Orr" (PDF). Nebraska State Library and Archives. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20110604145024/http://www.nga.org/portal/site/nga/menuitem.29fab9fb4add37305ddcbeeb501010a0/?vgnextoid=f287ae3effb81010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2009. Missing or empty
- "Husband Of Former Governor Kay Orr Dead At 78". WOWT. 2013-05-05. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
- "Nebraskans choose woman for governor's race". The New York Times. 1986-05-14. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
- Hickey, Donald R.; Wunder, Susan A.; Wunder, John R. (May 31, 2017). "Nebraska Moments". U of Nebraska Press. Retrieved May 31, 2017 – via Google Books.
- Hickey, Donald R.; Wunder, Susan A.; Wunder, John R. (2007-01-01). Nebraska Moments. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 080321572X.
- Knudson, Thomas J. "Nebraska, in new page to history, installs woman". New York Times. 1987-01-09. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kay A. Orr.|
- Governor Orr's papers at the Nebraska State Historical Society
- National Governors Association
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Treasurer of Nebraska
|Governor of Nebraska
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for Governor of Nebraska