Warren Eastman Hearnes was an American politician and the 46th Governor of Missouri from 1965 to 1973. He was the first Missouri Governor eligible to serve two consecutive four-year terms, and a lifelong Democrat. He was married to Betty Cooper Hearnes, a former Missouri State Representative and Democratic Party nominee for Governor in 1988.
Hearnes’ priorities as Governor included improving public education, bettering the state’s highways and traffic safety, as well as civil rights and the environment. State aid to public schools increased from $145.5 million to $389.2 million during Hearnes’ term as governor, an increase of 167%, and he also increased state aid to higher education from $47.5 million to $144.7 million, an increase of 204%. He also oversaw the increase of state aid to vocational education from $856,000 to $8.8 million, fostering the establishment 53 new area vocational educational schools. While Hearnes was Governor, the State of Missouri built 350 miles of four-lane highways throughout the state. He also created the Missouri Division of Highway Safety and enacted a law providing mandatory breath tests for suspected drunken drivers. Hearnes increased uniform strength of the Missouri State Highway Patrol from 500 to 750 officers.
Hearnes was Governor during the Civil Rights era and as Governor he signed a Public Accommodations Law, Missouri’s first civil rights act. As governor he also strengthened the Fair Employment Practices Act and increased the staff of the Human Rights Commission from two employees to 35. Hearnes also enacted the state’s first air pollution law, with subsequent strengthening of its provisions. He oversaw the passage of a $150 million water pollution bond issue to provide state matching funds for sewage control construction projects, and created the state’s Clean Water Commission to enforce water pollution laws. He also was responsible for the provision of first state financial grants for mass transit and urban rapid transit facilities. He created the Department of Community Affairs to assist local governments in obtaining technical assistance and grants for city planning, zoning, housing, sewage treatment, industrial development, and other municipal and regional projects.