In 1958, Nelson ran for a new office, that of Wisconsin's governor. When he won, he was only the second Democrat to hold that position in the twentieth century. During his four years in office, Nelson decided that environmental issues were quite important but often ignored by politicians. He changed that trend in his own time in office. For example, with his Outdoor Recreation Act Program, a one-cent tax on cigarette packages raised millions of dollars which was used to buy a million acres of land to preserve.