Gov. William J. Janklow (R)|
Last Updated June 21, 2001
term expires Jan. 2003
Born: Sept. 13, 1939,
Education: U. of SD, B.S. 1964, LL.B 1966
Marital Status: married
- Political: SD Atty. Gen., 1974-78; SD Gov., 1978-86.
- Professional: Legal Aid, Rosebud Indian Reservation, 1966-73; SD Special Prosecutor, 1973-75; Practicing atty., 1987-94.
- Military: Marine Corps, 1956-59.
Office: Executive Office, State Capitol, Pierre
605-773-3212; Fax: 605-773-5844; Web: www.state.sd.us.
Bill Janklow has had more impact on state government and the South Dakota economy than any other South Dakota governor. He grew up in Chicago, then after the death of his father, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trial, the family moved to his mother's hometown, Flandreau, South Dakota. Janklow dropped out of high school and joined the Marines; he returned in 1960, married, and without a high school diploma talked his way into the University of South Dakota. After law school he worked in the legal aid program at the Rosebud Indian Reservation. He was elected state attorney general in 1974, with 67% of the vote, getting tough on Indian violence and compiling a high conviction record. In 1978 he was elected governor with 56%; in 1982 re-elected with 71%. During this time, he attracted Citicorp to the state, reduced agricultural and residential property taxes, cut state payrolls, stimulated new business, and converted a state college into a prison. Term-limited in 1986, Janklow ran against incumbent Republican Senator Jim Abdnor and lost 55%-45% in the primary; it is a tantalizing question whether Janklow would have beaten Tom Daschle in the fall.
Janklow's successor, Republican George Mickelson, took a different course, with a revolving economic development fund financed by a temporary one-cent sales tax increase. He died in a plane crash in April 1993, and was succeeded by 67-year-old Walter Dale Miller, a rancher from near Rapid City who served 20 years in the legislature and six as lieutenant governor. Janklow challenged him in the 1994 Republican primary and won by a 54%-46% margin, carrying most of eastern South Dakota and losing much of the west. In the general election he won easily, 55%-41%, over Jim Beddow, the former president of George McGovern's alma mater, Dakota Wesleyan University.
Janklow ran promising to cut homeowners' property taxes by 30%; by the 1998 election they were down 25%, and he won approval of the last 5% in 2000. He cut the state payroll, and even cut total spending in 1996; he worked to establish state standards for student learning and give school districts the leeway to achieve them. He welcomed more new businesses including the headquarters of IBP meatpackers to South Dakota, and reduced EPA hazardous waste reporting forms from 155 pages to four. He has reduced foster care by encouraging adoption and has worked to increase child immunizations. He changed the name "correctional facility" to "prison" and "client" to "inmate." And he set up a program to use inmates for public labor, building small houses for the elderly and disabled, and day care centers, as well as wiring schools, public libraries, colleges and hospitals to the Internet; all the schools have been connected, and the $20,000 senior bungalows built by prisoners have opened up housing for young newcomers.
In March 1998 Janklow was in the hospital for 22 days for intestinal surgery. When he returned he announced he was running for an unprecedented fourth term. He continued to make unusual headlines. After the town of Spencer was destroyed by a May 1998 tornado he camped out there and superintended evacuation and recovery plans; the Oglala Sioux tribe, long critical, gave him an award for his work. In September 1998, in protest of what he considered unfair Canadian trade practices, he ordered state troopers to stop and inspect trucks carrying Canadian livestock and grain; they were to be searched and not allowed in the state if the livestock was not proved free of drugs legal in Canada but not in the U.S., and if the grain was not certified as free of disease and wild oats. The searches continued for three weeks, until Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman promised to raise the issues with Canadian officials.
Janklow paid little attention to his 1998 Democratic opponent, state Senate Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff. Janklow paid even less attention to Republican Senate candidate Ron Schmidt; instead Janklow continued to lavish praise on Senator Tom Daschle for using his position as minority leader on South Dakota issues. Their friendship went back to 1994, when Daschle was accused of exerting undue influence with the FAA; Janklow wrote a letter to The New York Times affirming his integrity, and Daschle responded with a handwritten letter. Said Janklow, "He and I philosophically are different. I jokingly say we go to different churches together. When I ask him to help us with something for South Dakota, he always says yes. He has never let us down." One example was shifting control of boat ramps and the Missouri River shoreline from the Army Corps of Engineers to the state government, which Daschle put in the October 1998 omnibus budget; for this both were later criticized by the Sioux nation, which claims ownership. Janklow was re-elected 64%-33%, and Daschle was re-elected 62%-36%. According to the VNS exit poll, 62% of Daschle voters voted for Janklow, and 60% of Janklow voters voted for Daschle.
Janklow promised that his fourth term would be devoted to education; he called for public preschool, more reading and music programs, classes in parenting skills. Noting South Dakota's high percentage of working mothers, he hired a former Democratic legislator to work on day care. He criticized the Forest Service for not removing timber downed in an April 2000 blizzard, and after an August 2000 fire, set in the Black Hills by an arsonist, renewed his criticisms and got the Forest Service to agree to let South Dakota prisoners clear the area. As voters considered outlawing video lotteries, which have been legal since 1989 and bring $95 million to the state, he said the video games were a "lousy" way to raise money but warned that outlawing them would require the biggest tax increase in state history; voters came out for the games 54%-46%. In 2001 the legislature approved a Janklow proposal to reward high school students with high grades and tough class loads.
Janklow is, once again, term limited. Despite past demurrals, he said in early 2001 that he would not rule out a bid for the Senate or the House, but made it clear he would not accept an appointment from George W. Bush.
Probably Safe. Although he is under pressure to challenge Democratic Senator Tim Johnson in 2002, it appears that Republican Congressman John Thune has decided to run for the open gubernatorial seat instead, probably clearing the Republican field in the process. Democrats do not have much of a bench here and Bush's 22-point win can't be encouraging. The Democrats mentioned as of spring 2001 were state Senator Ron Volesky and University of South Dakota President Jim Abbott.
||William J. Janklow (R)
|Bernie Hunhoff (D)
||William J. Janklow (R)
||William J. Janklow (R)
|Jim Beddow (D)
|Nathan A. Barton (Lib)
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