He spent decades serving his country between the U.S. Army, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Now, Larry Pressler can add something else to his long list of achievements: Author of a new book. It's an autobiography called "Senator Larry Pressler: An Independent Mission to Save Our Democracy".
A Rhodes Scholar, War Hero, graduate of Harvard Law School and distinguished, decades-long leader in Washington among others, you'd think writing a book would come easy to Larry Pressler.
Not so much.
"That's one of the hardest things I've done is to write a book. I wrote nearly 1,000 pages and I had to cut it down to 200 in order to get it published... people won't read more than 150 pages," Senator Larry Pressler said.
The 74-year-old former Senator says the 155 pages are meant to inspire.
"It takes some initiative and courage to go into politics. I think South Dakota is one of the few states left where a person from a lower, middle income groups can run for office," Pressler said.
With a focus on politics, Pressler says we must work hard to preserve our democracy.
"There's so much apathy and people don't vote. More importantly, they should prepare to vote. I''m not just for people voting. There's a lot of misinformation on the internet, cable channels, elsewhere. People have to work at voting," Pressler said. "They can't expect to just have a beer in one hand, listen to 30-second ads and vote intelligently. I'm really pleading with people not just to vote but to work and prepare themselves to vote."
Pressler became a member of the Independent Party not long ago, in which, he led an unsuccessful campaign for South Dakota's open U.S. Senate seat in 2014.
"A lot of independents, you'll be ahead in the polls but voters don't vote because they're apathetic or there's not "Get out to Vote" program for an independent.
"I tried to explain that in there about our two-party system. Right now, I think we need a third way or a new party," Pressler said.
During our chat, I wanted to pick his brain about the current presidential election. He says there's no such thing as a perfect candidate.
"We're in an era where, sort of reverse, you usually vote for the candidate you like the most. With all the negatives of peoples' personalities being reported, we don't like them but there isn't a perfect candidate out there. This makes it especially hard," he said.
He says the old way of life is gone. Today, we need to work harder to get more educated and, more importantly, to vote.
"Since the coming of the internet, we actually have less information about senate and house candidates. We have 'gossip' about presidential candidates but very little about the real issue. We may lose our democracy unless people are willing to vote," he said.
He looks back on his many days in office and, now, onto the pages of his latest accomplishment.
"It won't be a money-maker, political books are not because people are skeptical about politicians' books but this one is from the heart," Pressler said.
These days, the former Senator spends a lot of time with his family and volunteering. He says his days of running for office, or any other major position, are over.