SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A former South Dakota lawmaker calls Bob Dole’s life story “remarkable.”
Dole served during World War II where he was wounded. He represented Kansas in the U.S. House for eight years and the Senate for nearly three decades. He also campaigned against former President Bill Clinton as the Republican presidential nominee in the 90s.
Former South Dakota state lawmaker Bill Peterson met Dole about six times throughout his life.
He recalls spending the most time with him during Dole’s presidential campaign stop in Sioux Falls in 1996.
Peterson emceed the event.
“His private persona was a little bit different than his public persona. He was known as being a very sharp tongue, political partisan, but in private he was very warm, very generous,” Former SD House majority leader Bill Peterson said.
Dole, born and raised in Kansas, made several stops in South Dakota throughout his career.
“We’re pretty similar to Kansas. You know, we’re a plain state and people here kind of share that plain state mentality. We don’t put on airs. We’re nice, we’re friendly, and I think he could relate very well to us and I think we always showed a lot of support for him,” Peterson said.
Peterson says Dole never strayed very far from his roots.
The veteran and politician died at 98.
“There’s an old saying that when somebody dies you’ll never see his like again. I would hope that we would see the likes of Bob Dole again because I think our country could use a person who believes in the country, who serves the country, who fights long and hard for what he believes in, but at the end of the day will come together to build consensus and bring the country back together. I think we need many more of his kind in this country today,” Peterson said.
Peterson says some of Dole’s accomplishments include his work with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and serving on the committee that established the World War II Memorial.
He also worked with the late South Dakota U.S. Senator George McGovern on children’s nutrition.
The two were awarded the 2008 World Food Prize.