Former Senator, Wyoming Governor Hansen Dies

Posted October 21, 2009 at 3:38pm

Correction Appended

Clifford Hansen, the former Republican Wyoming governor and Senator, died Tuesday in Jackson. At 97, he was the oldest living former Senator.

Hansen lived in Wyoming his entire life. He was born to ranchers in Zenith on Oct. 16, 1912, and graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1934. His first public jobs included serving as a Teton County commissioner from 1943 to 1951 and as a University of Wyoming trustee from 1946 to 1966.

Hansen was elected governor in 1962 but left to run for an open Senate seat in 1966. He served two terms in the Senate, focusing on Western issues and agriculture. He served on the Finance Committee and became ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He left the Senate in 1978 at the age of 66.

In the past few years, Wyoming groups have made it a priority to thank Hansen for his service. In 2005, for example, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association dedicated the statue of a bronze calf to him and his wife, Martha, at the state Capitol.

Following his death, members of the Wyoming delegation remembered Hansen’s contributions as well.

Hansen “exemplified the quintessential Wyoming life through his humor, humility and complete devotion to family, community and country,— Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) said in a release. “His vision and passion for our state and its people are a testament to his career in public service. Al and I join all of Wyoming’s people in celebrating his life and gratefully acknowledge what Cliff and Martha accomplished for all of us. Every time I see the statue on the Wyoming Capitol lawn of the calf kicking up its heels, which is dedicated to Cliff and Martha, I will remember what a privilege it was to have known him.—

Hansen leaves behind his wife of 75 years, Martha, and one son. Among his five grandchildren is Matt Mead, a former U.S. attorney who is often mentioned as a potential political candidate.

Correction: Oct. 21, 2009, 10:41 p.m.

The article misstated the years Hansen was elected governor and elected to the Senate. Those years were 1962 and 1966, respectively.