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Role Model Daugaards Wear Masks Everywhere

Dennis Daugaard is a tight-fisted conservative, but he’s also reasonable about public health. In a pleasantly rambling interview about his pleasantly rambling retirement, South Dakota’s former governor says he and his wife take sensible steps to prevent coronavirus, including always wearing masks when they are in public indoor spaces:

“We have seven grandkids now, ranging in age from 8 years to one month old,” Daugaard says. “Linda is more responsible about attending grandchildren’s events, the t-ball games, and birthday parties. I’m pretty good, but she’s unparalleled. And we have the grandkids come and stay overnight. The pandemic made us stop that for a while, but we’ve resumed. They’re pretty socially isolated. When they start school, we might have to adjust.”

The pandemic has changed their lifestyle just as it has changed life for most of us. When they first returned to the farm after Daugaard left office, they were out often, shopping or meeting others for meals. That all changed. When Linda, who is one of 12 siblings, has dinner with her friends or sisters, for example, they eat outside.

Beyond that, trips are limited, social gatherings generally avoided.

“We stay pretty isolated,” Daugaard said. “And, of course, when we go someplace, we both wear masks unless we’re outside and have some distance from others. Inside we always wear masks.”

Daugaard’s favorite mask has a picture of Mount Rushmore with the words “Great Faces Safe Spaces” and all four presidential faces wearing masks [Kevin Woster, “Living the Simple Dream After Leaving the Governor’s Chair,” SDPB: On the Other Hand, 2020.08.06].

Remarkably, I can’t Google up the mask Daugaard is talking about, but wow! What a marketing opportunity! Our Department of Tourism should take another $3.5 million in coronavirus relief funds and mass-produce those masks with our most iconic tourist destination and that positive pandemic spin on our state jingle. Hand those masks out at every rest area, state park entrance, and the entrances to the Outdoor Campuses and Cabela’s. Mail them out to every person requesting information through Tourism or the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Send a box to Donald and Melania and get them to wear South Dakota’s Great Faces Safe Spaces logo at their next public appearance.

Or just get the Daugaards to pose for a photo or a five-second video that the Department of Health could tweet regularly: “Hey everyone, Dennis and Linda here. Do your part: wear your masks.”

It’s nice to see that Dennis and Linda Daugaard care enough about their family and everyone else’s to take simple, sensible public health precautions. South Dakota needs to see more of that from its public figures.


  1. Jake 2020-08-14 10:46

    Kinda shows harshly the differences between a decent previous governor who wasn’t afraid of governing and the present office-holder that looks upon her job as ‘bling’ for her ego or as a stepping-stone to higher office; she won’t advocate wearing masks but jumps at the chance to fence her house off against the ‘some-thing under the bed’ syndrome. She’s becoming as sick as Trump.

  2. Moses6 2020-08-14 10:53

    He is no role model.When it comes to labor, thats about pathetic as it gets for him.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-08-14 12:20

    …and I’m no role model for excellence in football. We take our examples where we can get them.

  4. grudznick 2020-08-14 16:31

    Governor Daugaard is a pretty swell fellow indeed. Good for him to wear a mask to show some of these bare-facers how to go about it.

  5. bearcreekbat 2020-08-14 16:34

    Daugaard will always be branded with a scarlet letter due to his opposition as Governor to expanding Medicaid, which could have helped the neediest people in our State, helped medical providers, and given a huge boost to SD’s economy. Unfortunately, his mask, no matter how large, simply cannot cover that scarlet letter.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-08-14 17:58

    …and we’ll hold his feet to the fire and run hard against him if he ever gets tired of retirement and runs for office again. Daugaard maintains he has no further political aspirations.

    But when we can get the last governor to counter to utter and dangerous horsehockey our current governor is spreading about masks, we need to make sure everyone knows it and thank the last governor for setting this good example in this situation.

    I’m just trying to be positive. I’m positive that Dennis Daugaard is a far more sensible, helpful role model than Kristi Noem.

  7. Debbo 2020-08-14 18:38

    Faint praise – Kruel Kristi is much worse than Daugard.

  8. leslie 2020-08-14 18:49

    Daugaard’s targeted voter (a social studies/biology dropout) last year was jailed for climbing Mt Rushmore, and yesterday thrown by a mother Bison in Custer State Park (white even nclave in the heart of all there is) Paha Sapa. Like west Rapid City, the State “owns” this Paha Sapa Indian land by cheated contract (1955) and broken treaty (1868). Stolen by white guys for gold and riches; who still won’t have provide Medicaid for the neediest in our red neck state. That might be socialism. They’ll just die.

  9. o 2020-08-14 22:04

    I think I am seeing some Bush syndrome creeping in here: the romanticizing of a former head of state who says one positive thing, and we romanticize the “better days” of their office.

    Being a decent person now does not make then a good Governor/President then.

  10. Jenny 2020-08-14 22:56

    No romanticizing for me, Daugaard should have done the decent thing and expanded Medicare for babies and children. A real pro Lifer would have done it.

  11. Bob R 2020-08-15 05:52

    All in one day. Saw a person come out of Wal Mart without a face mask get into his pickup and use use his seat belt. Later in the day saw a person come out of a store with no face mask and before starting his motorcycle put on a helmet. I guess these people care more themselves than others.

  12. Alan F 2020-08-15 07:28

    Don’t forget the 10% cuts in state aid to education in 2012 that gutted our schools!

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