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Rounds Praised Benda as Story Teller, Fast Talker, Big Traveler

Did M. Michael Rounds know Richard Benda was up to mischief in the Governor's Office of Economic Development? His proclamation of Richard Benda Day on December 22, 2010, suggests he did:

M. Michael Rounds proclaims December 22, 2010, "Richard Benda Day" in South Dakota.
M. Michael Rounds proclaims December 22, 2010, "Richard Benda Day" in South Dakota.

Sorry about the low resolution; here's the full text:

Whereas, Many years ago in the town of Kimball, a young boy named Richard Benda learned three valuable life lessons: a good story can get you out of trouble; being a fast talker can get you out of more trouble; and being a team player and hard worker can keep you out of trouble; and,

Whereas, Richard put his story telling skills to work during his nearly 20-year tenure with the state of South Dakota by sharing stories about his time in upstate New York; his travels; his adventures with his daughter, Claire; his hilarious stories about his childhood in Kimball; and "the Janklow years"; and,

Whereas, Richard put his fast talking skills to work during his time at Tourism and State Development by convincing companies to move to South Dakota, investors to give money to South Dakota, banks to loan money to businesses, boards to approve those loans, and the Governor's Office to continue to approve his intense travel schedule; and,

Whereas, Richard put his team player and hard work skills to use by schlepping more boxes than he can count, logging more miles on his care than any other boss in the history of the department, stopping at small town business establishments just to check in, and by never quitting until the job was done; and,

Whereas, Richard now departs the Department of Tourism and State Development. We know his passion for this state, for his family, and for economic development will always be a part of who he is; and,

Whereas, it is fitting and proper as Governor to recognize Richard's contributions to the state of South Dakota during his many years of employment with state government;

Now, Therefore, I, M. Michael Rounds, Governor of the state of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim December 22, 2010, as


in South Dakota.

[Governor M. Michael Rounds, proclamation, 2010.12.22]

Story telling, fast talking, more travel than any past GOED chief... M. Michael Rounds was writing either roast-quality satire or his own political obituary.

Either way, I'd love to know what was in all those boxes Benda was schlepping. Maybe the missing GOED records?


  1. chris 2014.01.05

    Sort of like a Doctorate in Thinkology. Well done, Governor.

  2. John Tsitrian 2014.01.05

    Nothing against frivolity, but the frivolous tone of this thing is a bit off-putting for an official document.

  3. Chris Francis 2014.01.05

    Not sure what to think of such a document, disgusting was the first word to come to mind, probably not a word usually associated with such tributes, but one as off-putting as this, disgusting seems almost too humble.

  4. John Tsitrian 2014.01.05

    Chris, I think the ingratiating tone of it, especially coming from a CEO to one of his lieutenants, is a source of disgust.

  5. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.01.05

    Reading this now, I am left with an overwhelming sadness that this man was encouraged in such a fashion even as the events of his tenure with Rounds were weaving his ultimate demise. May God have mercy on his soul.

  6. Rick 2014.01.05

    DD - I'm with you on this. Loyalty must be a one-way street. Too bad Marion didn't have the decency to attend Mr. Benda's funeral. Not very Christian.

  7. Jenny 2014.01.05

    Rick, I don't think any of those so-called decent Christian South Dakota state employees in Pierrre that worked with Benda went to the funeral (state legislators included). Must not have had state paid gas mileage for it. South Dakotans think they're the nicest people around! ROFL!

  8. interested party 2014.01.05

    Mike and Jean Rounds were invited to the 2011 Governor's pheasant mayhem yet Benda and Bollen were not.

  9. Les 2014.01.05

    It appears the lack of attendance at the Benda funeral had more to do with the fact that even in death Rich could put a little on you by your presence. Seems as telling to me as any legal candor we've had to date.

  10. interested party 2014.01.05

    Curious whether Jim Seward attended Benda's funeral: anyone know?

  11. Jana 2014.01.05

    Les, I think it was more that people were told not to attend. He fell out of favor and payed the 'mean girl' price.

  12. Les 2014.01.05

    So it's not guilt by association?

  13. Nick Nemec 2014.01.05

    As a citizen of South Dakota I'm embarrassed that my governor would think this kind of proclamation would be appropriate. Giving a high level employee an attaboy for being a fast talking con man might go down well in the insurance industry but it's a little harder to swallow in government.

  14. Rick 2014.01.05

    One of Rounds' first proclamations was made to convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy. Then he got caught, so he blamed the signature on his staff who signed his proclamations with a machine. Maybe he can blame his staff and the signature machine again.

  15. Jenny 2014.01.05

    Not only that, Nick, NOBODY in Pierre went to the funeral! That is more embarassing to me. Benda was a forgotten soul, to the point he never even existed. Boy, Pierre is really screwed up, the nastiness of politics never ceases to amaze me.

  16. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.01.05

    The most damning evidence of knowledge of the corruption by Rounds, Daugaard, et al, is they avoided Benda's funeral.. why else avoid a friend and long time colleague's funeral?

  17. Rick 2014.01.05

    Gee, Gordon Liddy Day? Well, Cory, he "signed" it and then RESCINDED it! No doubt the first (and only) Governor resolution rescinded in state history. Here's the article from the L.A. Times:

    I'll bet Marion now wishes he could rescind Richard Benda Day in South Dakota.

  18. Jim 2014.01.05

    And WHEREAS, in a couple of weeks I am going to cut him a check for a million bucks...

  19. Jana 2014.01.05

    Benda may have sinned. Last I checked, most people have. That doesn't mean that the people who you considered friends, worked for and with don't go to a funeral.

    Of course turning your back on who was once a friend may show a lack of good judgement on the part of so many.

    Marty J. is worried about the feeling of a daughter...imagine how she must have felt when the people who her father had dedicated his life to serving never showed up for her.

    Has there been a news story on why representatives of the GOP, Rounds and DD especially, decided not to be there for the family they are now trying so hard to protect?

    Makes me wonder who they are trying to protect.

  20. mike from iowa 2014.01.05

    According toArgus Leader's obituary for Benda,there were two people signed the registry and there were five pall bearers,none with official titles. For what it's worth.

  21. Sid 2014.01.05

    Well, let us not forget that in 1971, the Texas Legislature unanimously passed a resolution honoring Albert DeSalvo for his work in population control.

  22. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.05

    Only South Dakota Republicans would honor a man for theft and failure!!!

  23. SVinRC 2014.01.05

    Anyone can ask the Governor for a proclamation of this sort. We had one done for my mother when she retired after 37 years working for the State of SD. A collection of short character summations are composed into one official document and signed by the Governor so I wouldn't think too much into this.

  24. mike from iowa 2014.01.06

    Fortunately,Obama didn't make this proclamation or Darrell(my brother did it) Issa would have an impeachment hearing claiming Obama did this to deflect the witch hunt from Benghazi.

  25. interested party 2014.01.06

    just found this googling for Joop Bollen, Genesee and Wyoming: Joop Bollen

  26. Rorschach 2014.01.06

    An attaboy from one fast talking, story telling, well traveled salesman to another.

    Cory, I think SOS Gant is just plain tired of being tired. Besides not posting Gov. Daugaard's new proclamations, he also apparently hasn't completed the 2013 Legislative Manual, which is usually available by September of the year it's required by law to be issued (SDCL 2-7-1: every odd-numbered year). The SOS website still offers the 2011 Blue Book.

  27. MN now SD native 2014.02.17

    And you SoDaks are going to vote Rounds in again? Why does he not have accountability in the matter? He is a high and fast talker in my book!

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