Nebraska Governor: Jim Pillen (R)
Born in Columbus, Nebraska, Jim Pillen, Nebraska’s new governor-elect, grew up on a farm in Platte County where he raised pigs with his father Dale.
After graduating from Lakeview Junior-Senior High School in 1974, he earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
While studying at the University of Nebraska, Pillen was also a defensive back for the Cornhuskers football team under Tom Osborne. He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Pillen continues to work as a practicing veterinarian and also works as chair of Pillen Family Farms.
The business, which is operated with members of Pillen’s family, acquired DNA Genetics in 2003.
Pillen has also worked as president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Columbus Community Hospital Board of Directors.
He has served on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents (which governs the University of Nebraska System) since 2012, holding the position of both vice-chairman and chairman in 2018 and 2020, respectively.
As a candidate for the governor’s office, Pillen, a Republican, made news by refusing to debate his rivals. He did the same in the run-up to the general election, refusing to debate his Democratic opponent Carol Blood.
Pillen and his wife Suzanne have four children and seven grandchildren.