Larry Gabriel says he never intended to become South Dakota's agriculture secretary, but former Gov. Bill Janklow wouldn't take no for an answer.
Gabriel, a rancher from Cottonwood who retired from politics in 1998 after 16 years in the South Dakota House, described his relationship with Janklow at a ceremony held to honor the late governor. Janklow, who served four terms as governor but resigned as South Dakota's lone congressman after causing a fatal traffic crash, died Thursday of cancer at the age of 72.
Gabriel says Janklow began introducing him as the next state secretary of agriculture. He says he refused, but Janklow kept insisting that Gabriel take the job.
Gabriel says he eventually became agriculture secretary in 1999. He says it was the greatest job he ever had.