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Capitol mourns sudden loss of lobbyist Greg Dean


Lawmakers and officials at the state capitol are reeling after the sudden death of long-time telecom lobbyist Greg Dean.

Dean is remembered by several as a bright and humorous lobbyist.

Since 1999, Greg Dean was a lobbyist for South Dakota Telecommunications Association and an advocate for rural broadband access.

When Lieutenant Governor Larry Roden was in the legislature, he says Dean was the first lobbyist he met. He says Dean was an expert in his field.

“He was just a class act. He will leave a big hole in the capitol," Rhoden said. "Great Guy.”

David Owen is the president of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce. He says Dean lobbied for him for two and a half years. Owen says Dean’s sudden passing causes him great sorrow.

“He was fundamentally the most decent man I’ve ever dealt with," Owen said. "He was smart. He enjoyed great humor. He was part of the fabric here.”

Republican State Senator Lee Schoenbeck says Dean was able to make complicated topics, like rural telecommunications, easy to understand. He says he saw Dean in the hallways on Wednesday.

“Kind of hard to believe,” Schoenbeck says. “You can even see in the hall when I came in this morning. There’s a real damper. It’s sort of top of mind with everybody here. It’s a community here, amongst the legislature and Greg was a really fine member of it.”

Bill Van Camp is a fellow lobbyist and friend of Dean’s. He says Dean was a straightforward and honest guy.

“Easier to deal with, even when you were on the other side of the aisle from him,” Van Camp says. “Just a hell of a great guy. A great dad. A real pillar of the Pierre-Fort Pierre community and he will be sorely missed. Just a great guy.”

Outside the capitol, Dean provided color commentary for Pierre Governor’s football, basketball, and baseball games on KCCR. John Winkler is the sports director. He says Dean was sharp with stats and fun on the air.

“To not be able to broadcast with him again, it’s one that’s going to leave a hole in KCCR and Riverfront Broadcasting’s heart, and for sure my heart to not be able to do that again,” Winkler said.

Others say it’s hard to measure the impact Dean had on bringing internet access to the far corners of the state. He was in his late 50s.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.