2011 David D. Freudenthal
Dave Freudenthal, a Wyoming native, served two terms as Wyoming's 31st Governor. In 2002, Freudenthal, a Democrat and first‑time candidate, won an upset victory in one of America's most overwhelmingly Republican states. After his first term, he was re‑elected in 2006 by the greatest percentage in the State's history. By the end of his tenure, Wyoming was ranked as the "Best Run State in America" by 24/7 Wall St., based on a review of hundreds of data sets and a variety of metrics ranging from debt rating agency reports to median income. When he stepped down in 2011, his approval rating was over 80 percent—at the top among all U.S. governors—and he left his successor with a balanced budget and a billion dollar surplus. Freudenthal's eight years were marked by a constructive bi‑partisan relationship with a Republican dominated legislature. This working relationship moved Wyoming forward on many fronts. As the nation's least populous state, Wyoming maintains a resource‑based economy, relying primarily on mineral and energy extraction, tourism, and agriculture for its economic livelihood. Recognizing the strengths and opportunities that this economic base represented for the state, Freudenthal's administration focused on balancing resource extraction and preservation with regulatory approaches designed to enhance long‑term growth.
Freudenthal was born and raised in Wyoming. He graduated from Amherst College in 1973 and returned to Wyoming to take a position as an economist with the State. Governor Ed Herschler appointed him State Planning Coordinator in 1975. After graduating from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1980, Freudenthal opened his own one‑person law firm in Cheyenne. The firm grew into a general practice firm representing individuals and businesses. In 1994, he was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming. Dave and his wife, Nancy, have four children and live in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Freudenthal's lecture, "The Good, the Bad, and the Not So Pretty: Public Policy Leaders and the Evolution of Technology," will explore the opportunities and problems the evolution of technology creates for public policy leaders—the good, the bad, and the not so pretty. Real world examples from healthcare to environmental policy will be discussed in the context of striking the balance among competing interests in a public policy world.