He was elected to the Swiss Federal Council on 10 December 1875 and handed over office on 31 December 1878. He was affiliated to the Free Democratic Party of Switzerland. During his office time he held the following departments:
- Department of Posts and Telegraph (1876)
- Political Department (1877)
- Department of Railway and Trade (1878)
He was President of the Confederation in 1877.
Dr. Joachim-Heer-Strasse in Glarus is named for him.