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John Michael Hayden

Mike HaydenPolitician, governor. Republican. Born: March 16, 1944, Colby, Kansas. Served as 41st Governor of Kansas: January 12, 1987, to January 14, 1991.

John Michael Hayden was born in Colby on March 15, 1944, to Irven Wesley and Ruth Kelley Hayden. He grew up in Atwood.

In 1966 he earned degrees in wildlife and biology at Kansas State University. Hayden married Patti Ann Rooney on August 26, 1968. He served in the army during the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1970, earning a Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star, and Army Commendation Medal. When he returned he entered graduate school at Fort Hays State University, where he taught a lab in biology.

Hayden was elected to serve in the state legislature in 1972. He was serving as Speaker of the House when he won the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 1986. In the subsequent general election, Mike Hayden defeated Lieutenant Governor Tom Docking, the son and grandson of former Kansas governors. Denied a second term in 1990, Hayden accepted a position in the U.S. Department of the Interior. He later returned to Kansas and served as secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks from 2002 to 2011.

Entry: Hayden, John Michael

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2011

Date Modified: February 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.