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‘Gov Ed’ Herschler

Gov. Ed receiving a hat and sabre in 1977 at the State Capitol. (TSgt. Paul J. Harrington/USAF)

Ed Herschler was a very popular Governor of Wyoming. In fact, he was the most popular ever in the state, having been elected by a popular vote 3 times to Wyoming’s highest office. And while in office, he was affectionately referred to, and known by his constituency, as “Gov Ed”.

He was born Edgar Jacob Herschler on October 27, 1918, on a ranch near Kemmerer, Wyoming. Long before he became known as Gov Ed, Herschler would teach school, then go to school to study law. Herschler was completing his pre-law training at the University of Colorado when America went to War. Herschler became a U.S. Marine and fought in the South Pacific in World War II, and would come home with a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts. The decorated war hero would pick up where he left off before the War, and continue his studies. And in 1949, Ed Herschler got his law degree from the University of Wyoming.

Almost immediately Herschler took the job of Kemmerer, Wyoming’s, town attorney. He was also the prosecutor for Lincoln County in Southwest Wyoming. Then in 1959, Herschler made the big step into public service and politics when he won his first seat in the Wyoming State Legislature. It would be the first of 5 terms in the Wyoming House of Representatives for Herschler, and now he was off to Cheyenne.

After 10 years, 5 terms in the State Legislature, it was time for Herschler to make a run at the top public office in the state. Herschler won the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary and would defeat Republican candidate Dick Jones, in the general election of 1974. And Herschler, the litagator and legislator from Kemmerer, was Governor of Wyoming.

For the next 12 years, Gov Ed would lead Wyoming through some lean times, and some bombastic boom years too. Herschler is forever known for his call for “growth on our terms”. And during the energy boom years in the 1970′s, when Wyoming’s population nearly doubled, the Gov Ed era oversaw vast improvements with the construction of modern highways, and schools across Wyoming.

Ed Herschler, the only 3-term Governor of Wyoming, was a charismatic figure, with a small-town Wyoming background. And a shrewd politician. Ten of the 12 years that Democrat Gov Ed held the office of Governor, the Wyoming State Legislature was predominately Republican. The other two years, it was even on both sides of the aisle.

Ed Herschler finished an incredible run of public service in 1987 at the end of his third and final term. “Gov Ed” would practice law in Cheyenne until his death on Februrary 5th, 1990.

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