In March of 1999, a few of the Society’s advisory members and I decided that we needed an official day to celebrate happiness. I mean how fun would that be — and we had holiday’s recognizing sad days, food days and historic days — so why not a happy day.

August 8 seemed like the perfect day since that’s when the Society got its first member that I didn’t personally know. The question was how did you create an official holiday?

Since I wasn’t sure I figured if we requested proclamations from all 50 state governors — after all, who wouldn’t want their citizens to celebrate National Admit You’re Day (the name of the original holiday)? So, for the next four months, several of our members and I tried to secure proclamations from all 50 states — which included letters, phone calls and emails.

Now, even twenty-one years later, I’m still surprised by our responses — that also got the Society an additional AP story which got us international media coverage for our first National Admit You’re Happy Day.

Note to readers: These were the governors in 1999 and we don’t request proclamations each year—maybe we’ll reconsider for our 25th Happiness Happens Day.

Happy Governors — Proclaimed August 8 National Admit You’re Happy Day

Alabama—Don Siegelman

Connecticut—John G. Rowland

Idaho—Dirk Kempthorne

Indiana—Frank O’Bannon

Iowa—Tom Vilsack

Maryland—Paris N. Glendening

Massachusetts—Argeo Paul Cellucci

Nebraska—Mike Johanns

Nevada—Kenny C. Guinn

New Hampshire—Jeanne Shaheen

New Jersey—Christine T. Whitman

North Carolina—James B. Hunt, Jr

Oregon—John A. Kitzhaber

Rhode Island—Lincoln Almond

Texas—George W. Bush

Vermont—Howard Dean, M.D.

Washington—Gary Locke

West Virginia—Cecil H. Underwood

Wisconsin—Tommy G. Thompson


Stick in the Mud Governors

Wouldn’t give us a proclamation because we didn’t meet state guidelines (I always thought happiness deserved an exception)

Alaska—Tony Knowles

Arkansas—Mike Huckabee

Delaware—Thomas R. Carper

Hawaii—Benjamin J. Cayetano

Kentucky—Paul E. Patton

North Dakota—Edward T. Schafer

South Dakota—William J. Janklow


Parade-Raining Governors

Wouldn’t give us a proclamation

Arizona—Jane Dee Hull

Florida—Jeb Bush

Georgia—Roy Barnes

Illinois—George H. Ryan

Kansas—Bill Graves

Louisiana—Mike Foster

Maine—Angus S. King, Jr

Michigan—John Engler

Minnesota—Jesse Ventura

Mississippi—Kirk Fordice

Missouri—Mel Carnahan

Montana—Marc Racicot

New Mexico—Gary E. Johnson

Ohio—Bob Taft

Pennsylvania—Tom Ridge

South Carolina—Jim Hodges

Tennessee—Don Sundquist

Virginia—James S. Gilmore III

Wyoming—Jim Geringer


Beyond Words

Sent a proclamation for National Admit You’re Happy Day and took it back in September

Colorado—Bill Owens


No Official Position

New York—George E. Pataki


No Response

California—Gray Davis

Oklahoma—Frank Keating

Utah—Michael O. Leavitt

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