Darrell Solberg of Sioux Falls aptly summarizes the legacy of former Governor, now Senate candidate, Mike Rounds:
He... spearheaded the failed Northern Beef Packing plant in Aberdeen, which has cost people millions.
The implementation of EB-5... not only cost investors and taxpayers millions, it has lead to lawsuits, unanswered questions, a death and the distrust of people in state government.
Seven out of the eight years in office, his administration had a structural deficit (more expenses than revenue) and thus took money out of reserve funds to balance the budget.
....Lack of government openness and transparency led to questionable practices, pay to play, tax rebates for oil pipelines and no-bid contracts.
Increasing the number of state employees, many of whom were relatives or friends, increased the state’s expenses and dependency on federal dollars.
...[L]ack of attention and commitment to education funding has caused a severe teacher shortage in the state.
College tuitions are on an upward spiral; South Dakota college graduates have one of the highest educational debts upon graduation, forcing many to leave for better paying jobs.
...Use of state airplanes for the enjoyment of attending Pierre High School football games, with friends accompanying [Rounds] while his son played [Darrell Solberg, letter to the editor, that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.08.27].
I recall Rick Knobe interviewing Scott Heidepriem on KSOO a few years ago. Heidepriem compared Mike Rounds and Bill Janklow. A recovering Republican, Heidepriem said that he disagreed with plenty of Janklow's decisions, but he respected Janklow's big vision and his ability to translate that vision into action. Rounds, said Heidepriem, didn't seem to have any vision. Rounds came and went from the Capitol and didn't really change anything about South Dakota. The only real marks he left were red ink in the budget and higher numbers on the Hobbs meter.
Maybe the South Dakota Republican Party is done giving us Janklows. The party of No and Noem wants pretty smiles that say the right things but do nothing more than raise money and win elections. Mike Rounds's empty gubernatorial legacy shows he fits that mold perfectly.
Anticipated Related Reading: The University of South Dakota is digitizing the Janklow Papers. Janklow gave his papers to his alma mater on the condition that they make the documents available to the public online. The Janklow Papers should make for fascinating historical reading. Candidate Rounds, how about a sneak peak at the Rounds Papers, with a focus on your flight logs and Northern Beef Packers memos?