William John Bill Janklow - former South Dakota governor and representative

William John "Bill" Janklow Biography

Claim to Fame: former South Dakota governor and representative
DOB: 1939
Diabetes Type: 2

Janklow was born in Chicago, Illinois. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1956 to 1959. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1964 and received a law degree in 1966. During his political career Janklow, a Republican, served as South Dakota's attorney general (1975-1979), and served four terms as Governor of South Dakota (1979-1987) and (1995-2003). He defeated incumbent Governor Walter Dale Miller in the 1994 Republican primary. In 2002, Janklow was elected to South Dakota's only House of Representatives seat.

Though controversial, Janklow is among the most successful politicians in South Dakota's history. He was elected to statewide office six times, each time by a wide margin. In 1982, he was re-elected with 70.9% of the vote, the highest percentage ever won by a candidate for Governor of South Dakota. His only electoral setback came in 1986, when he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Senator James Abdnor in the Republican primary.

On August 16, 2003, Janklow was involved in a traffic accident when his Cadillac hit 55-year old motorcyclist Randolph E. Scott at a rural intersection near Trent, South Dakota. Scott was thrown from his vehicle and instantly killed. Janklow suffered a broken hand and bleeding on the brain. In the ensuing investigation of the accident, it was determined Janklow had been driving at least 71 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone and that he had run a stop sign at the intersection where the collision occurred.

Janklow had said he "couldn't be sorrier" for the accident. In his defense, his lawyer argued that Janklow suffered a bout of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and was thus "confused" and "mixed up." Janklow testified that he had taken an insulin shot the morning of the accident and had subsequently not eaten anything throughout day, resulting in low blood sugar.

Janklow was convicted of speeding, running a stop sign, reckless driving, and second-degree manslaughter. He served 100 days in jail and remains on probation for three years during which he will not be allowed to drive. His law license was also suspended, but as of November 3, 2005, the South Dakota State Bar’s disciplinary board has recommended that his license be reinstated in February 2006. Janklow is still in the process of appealing his conviction.

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Last Modified Date: November 27, 2012

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by Brenda Bell
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