By Wyoming First Lady Carol Mead

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Mike Sullivan

Michael John Sullivan, known as Mike Sullivan (born September 22, 1939, in Omaha, Nebraska) was the 29th Governor of Wyoming, having served from 1987-1995.

His father, J. B. Sullivan, moved the family to Douglas, to open a law practice. Mike Sullivan graduated from Douglas High School as the class salutatorian. He continued his education at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, where he earned a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering and then a law degree. On February 2, 1961, Sullivan married Jane Metzler of Riverton in ceremonies in Powell. They made their home in Casper.

Sullivan practiced law with the firm of Brown, Drew, Apostolos, Massey, and Sullivan for twenty years. Sullivan never had sought elective office when, in 1986, he ran for and won the Democratic nomination for governor. Many observers believed that, following three terms with a Democratic governor (Ed Herschler) the chances for another Democrat to gain that post would be remote. Nonetheless, after a hard-fought campaign, Sullivan defeated Republican nominee Peter K. Simpson. In his 1990 reelection, he defeated the rancher and businesswoman Mary Hansen Mead of Jackson, daughter of former Republican Governor and U.S. Senator Clifford P. Hansen. Sullivan received 104,638 votes (65.4 percent) to her 55,471 ballots (34.6 percent). In the general election, Mead polled only 4,311 more votes than she had in her closed primary. Hence, she was unable to reach beyond her base of support within the GOP. Sullivan ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994, but lost 59-39% to then-Representative Craig L. Thomas, largely due to the Republican wave of 1994. Four years after his governorship ended, Sullivan was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ireland by President Clinton, a post he held from 1999 to 2001. Sullivan is currently a partner at the Casper office of the law firm of Rothgerber, Johnson, & Lyons. Here he is interviewed by Wyoming oral historian Mark Junge for the Wyoming State Archives, Wyoming's Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

Funding provided by the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.

Governor Mike Sullivan
Part 1

Governor Mike Sullivan
Part 2

Governor Mike Sullivan
Part 3