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Former Rep. Bill Janklow, 4-time S.D. governor, dead at 72
In 1986, Mr. Janklow lost the Republican Senate primary to the incumbent, Jim Abdnor. He then joined an investment firm and later entered a private law practice.
In 1995, after being elected governor again, Mr. Janklow persuaded the Legislature to pass his plan for cutting property taxes. He also won approval for building a new women’s prison and facilities for juvenile offenders. In his second stint as governor, he won praise for making South Dakota a national leader in connecting classrooms in every school district to the Internet.
Mr. Janklow was elected to Congress in 2002 but was convicted of manslaughter in a traffic accident and did not complete the term.
Mr. Janklow said the accident that killed motorcyclist Randy Scott of Hardwick, Minn., on Aug. 16, 2003, in Moody County north of Sioux Falls was his only regret. After attending an event in Aberdeen, Mr. Janklow was driving back to his home in Brandon when he sped through a stop sign.
“If I had to do it over, I’d do everything I did, but I’d stop at a stop sign,” Mr. Janklow said, breaking into tears, when he announced he had brain cancer.
A jury convicted Mr. Janklow of second-degree manslaughter and three other charges, and he served 100 days behind bars.
Part of his defense was that, as a diabetic, his senses and reflexes were dulled from low blood sugar and that he missed the early warning signs because a heart medication masked them.
In his leisure time, Mr. Janklow liked boating and listening to his large collection of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll records. He once bragged he was “the best fat-man water skier in South Dakota.”
Mr. Janklow married Mary Dean in 1960. They had three children.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
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