BROCK: Governors I have known
Jack Dalrymple retired this week and I couldn't help thinking about Jack and the governors I've met serving as publisher in four different states . I remember being in awe meeting my first Governor Bill Janklow while I was Publisher in Brookings ...
Jack Dalrymple retired this week and I couldn't help thinking about Jack and the governors I've met serving as publisher in four different states .
I remember being in awe meeting my first Governor Bill Janklow while I was Publisher in Brookings South Dakota. Bill Janklow appeared to me to be larger than life. He was a skilled politician who won elections by landslides with a checkered past. Janklow never missed a photo opportunity when there was a crisis in his state or a chance to repay his many critics.
Janklow would routinely call newspapers to lambast reporters at all hours of the day if they wrote stories that he did not like. Janklow later stepped down from his congressional seat after his conviction of second-degree manslaughter, speeding, running a stop sign and reckless driving killing a motorcyclist.
Marc Racicot was Governor of Montana when I became publisher in Havre Montana. Racicot was as skilled and popular a politician as Janklow but was more low key. He never strayed too far from the Capital and I can't remember him ever contacting Havre's Small Daily Newspaper.
Judy Martz was elected as Montana's first woman Governor in 2001.
Martz, from Butte American, was a strong conservative and the only time it seemed she kept a foot out of her mouth was when changed them. She was everything Janklow was not which included being effective. Once on a rare visit to Havre she lauded the efforts of the Mayor and made a point to mention how much support the mayor received from her husband. Everyone cringed in the audience knowing that the mayor's husband had recently passed away.
Martz's replacement after one term was Democrat Brian Schweitzer. He too was everything Judy was not as a politician but was more effective. He seldom wore a suit and tie preferring jeans, boots and a sports coat. He was more approachable than the two previous Montana governors. Like Janklow he was a self-promoter, loved the spotlight but was more likable and went on to be a darling of National Democrat Party.
Tom Vilsack was Governor of Iowa when I became Publisher in Clinton, Iowa. Vilsack was a popular governor and elected to a second term. I was only in Iowa for two years and during that time he never visited the paper or really reached out to the staff and readers of the Clinton Herald.
John Hoeven was Governor of North Dakota when I moved to Dickinson in 2006.
When living in Montana I was envious of North Dakotans and the job Hoeven had done converting Highway 2 to a four lane across North Dakota. Montana tried unsuccessfully to continue the four-land across our state, but lack of state leadership kept the project from coming to fruition. Hoeven and then Lieutenant Governor Jack Dalrymple had accomplished so much in their time leading the state.
Hoeven and Dalrymple routinely visited the Dickinson Press to talk about issues concerning our state. Both were quick to respond to information requests from our reporters. There were times when we at the paper disagreed on issues, but not for lack of information from the Governor's office. Jack Dalrymple was a major part of the Hoeven team and inherited multiple challenges as Governor.
Dalrymple may have been the smartest Governor I ever met because of his accomplishments. You didn't have to spend much time with Dalrymple to know that he truly cared about the people of North Dakota. He was easy to talk to and went out of his way to make everyone he talked to feel at ease. He led our state through a tumultuous time and not one event should define his legacy but the whole body of work. North Dakota is a better state because of Jack Dalrymple, and I hope he enjoys his well-deserved retirement.