Official retires from Transportation CommissionOn way home from final meeting, piece of gravel thrown up by truck cracks Gregerson’s windshield.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — A piece of gravel thrown up by a truck cracked the windshield of Dick Gregerson’s car Thursday as he drove home to Sioux Falls on Interstate 90.
It was no way for a fellow to be treated after his final meeting as a member of the state Transportation Commission.
Gregerson wrapped up 16 years on the commission that decides where and how to spend several hundreds of millions of dollars on South Dakota’s roads and bridges each year.
As he turned 80 this year, the Sioux Falls lawyer, lobbyist and former legislator remained highly active professionally and politically.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard recently decided to appoint Kevin Schieffer, of Sioux Falls, to the seat held by Gregerson since his appointment in 1996 by then-Gov. Bill Janklow.
Gregerson clearly enjoyed serving on the commission and spent the past year as chairman. Rodney Fouberg, of Aberdeen, who has been vice chairman, will succeed him in wielding the gavel at meetings.
Gregerson was one of four commissioners remaining who were first appointed in the 1990s. The others still aboard include Sam Tidball, of Fort Pierre (1994), Fouberg (1996) and Mike Trucano, of Deadwood (1997).
There are nine members overall.
Although Gregerson wasn’t specifically told he wouldn’t be reappointed, the Daugaard administration in the past 19 months has made a point of installing new people on state boards and commissions as terms expire. “I’d been on a long time,” Gregerson said. “I’m not sorry I’m off.”
Among Schieffer’s recent campaign contributions is $2,000 that he donated to Daugaard’s campaign fund last December.
Schieffer also gave $4,000 to Daugaard’s election fund in 2010 after Daugaard won the June primary.
Gregerson, a Republican, is also a frequent contributor to political campaigns. Gregerson donated $2,000 to Democrat Scott Heidepriem’s campaign fund in 2010.
Daugaard, a Republican, defeated Heidepriem, a Democrat, in the 2010 general election.
Gregerson is one of the senior-most attorneys at the Woods Fuller Shultz and Smith law firm in Sioux Falls.
He served two terms in the state Senate, from 1979 through 1982, coinciding with the first of Janklow’s record four terms as governor.