Mickelson casts long shadow over South Dakota
Thirty years after death in airplane crash, former governor’s policies felt across the state
At the end of Gov. George S. Mickelson’s first legislative session in 1987, he and his chief of staff, Frank Brost, took a plane to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress.
One of those members was California Rep. George Miller, who would go on to chair the Natural Resources Committee. The congressman counseled Mickelson and Brost to stop seeking federal money for irrigation projects. Congress had plenty of money to spend on rural water projects for communities, but it wasn’t interested in irrigation.
“You have to put together a rural plan,” Brost recalled Miller telling them. “We have lots of money for rural water.”
Mickelson returned home and did just that, creating a study of the state’s rural water needs and a plan to fund them.