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January 10, 2012 10:45 PM

Politicians Surprised By Janklow's Condition

Pierre, SD

Governor Dennis Daugaard's announcement of former governor Bill Janklow's hospice care cast a shadow over what was supposed to be an upbeat opening day of the legislative session, where nearly every long-time politician has a Janklow story to share.

"It's a sad, it's a sad day. He was truly an inspiration for a lot of people and a lot of good things that happened in the state regardless of your personal feelings," said lobbyist Kitty Kinsman. "He really truly did have the state's interest at heart."

On a day when the state's policy makers opened their playbooks, word of the worsening condition of a man who just a few months ago shared the news of his brain cancer spread faster than any item on the legislative agenda. 

"What he's hopefully tried to do with his life in these last few months to maybe help some other people who are facing circumstances in the future, you've gotta love him," Kinsman said. 

Kitty Kinsman was Secretary of Health for two and a half years under Janklow's administration.  She is now a lobbyist. So is Larry Mann, who worked with Janklow on various issues west of the Missouri.

"He's unique among any people that I've ever met in my life," Mann said. "We all love him and would rather remember him as the Bill Janklow that challenged us every day rather than a Bill Janklow that's suffering and in pain."

Janklow is known by many in Pierre as the 'tough as nails' public figure who challenged ideas of most men and women he met. The four-term governor has a passion for the state and has always garnered the spotlight, even when announcing his terminal condition in November.

"I'm really happy to see that his legacy, in terms of the things that he has done, has really started to come out," Kinsman said. 

"To see the good things that Bill Janklow did for us all his life," said Mann. "And try to forget or forgive, maybe, those things that even he would admit were mistakes in his life."

Janklow's treatment at the Mayo Clinic was experimental. Since his announcement he has said it would not save him, but could make a difference in someone else's life.
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