Shown from left to right (sitting); former Governor Harvey Wollman, former Governor Frank Farrar, former Governor Walter Dale Miller. From left to right (standing); former Governor Mike Rounds, Governor Dennis Daugaard, Russ Janklow.
A historic afternoon in Pierre as all of South Dakota's living governors gathered at the state capitol for a special honor.
It is a gathering that you do not see very often. Governor Dennis Daugaard and four of his living predecessors. All are members of an elite group and today three of them receive special offers. Former governor Frank Farrar. "Great to get back to the state capitol and be with the people. I had a great career in my life and this was a wonderful period of my life and my family."
Former governor Harvey Wollman... "I spent 10 years in this building, 6 as a state senator, 4 as lieutenant governor and then I finished out the term. I'm been so proud of that wonderful legacy from 1969 to 1979."
And former governor Bill Janklow, represented by his son Russ... "All of the governors of South Dakota are going to be portrayed at some point on this governor trail walk. It exemplifies the beautification of Pierre. It exemplifies the history of our state and I think at the end of the day, Dad I think would be happy that this is happening."
All three men have had their likenesses case in life sized bronze statues..which were unveiled in the capitol rotunda amid a crowd of family, friends and former staffers. Governor Farrarr says to him the capitol is not a building of government....to him it feels like home. "I spent a lot of my life here. I had four terms in this building and the people around here are great. I like Pierre. It was a wonderful experience for me."
Governor Wollman told me it is very humbling to have his time in public service remembered in a public and personal way. "Well of course it is. of course it is. They're not supposed to do these things when you're still living. So I don't know who I am going to react actually."
And Russ Janklow says his dad would have been a little uncomfortable and maybe embarrassed by this attention. "He was a big fan of putting on ceremonies and celebrations for others and I think he wasn't a big fan of coming to things that celebrated him."
But one by one, the statues were unveiled. all three will soon be placed in prominent locations around the city of Pierre.
Governor Farrar, Governor Wollman and Governor Janklow's family all told me roughly the same thing; this public honor is possible because all these men kept the publics trust and that is something that can not be overlooked.
These statues will join three others placed in Pierre last year as part of the "Trail of Governors" project. Another three will be placed next year, including former governors George S. Mickelson and Mike Rounds.
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