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Dakota Midday: Larry Pressler and the Centrist Project

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Pressler for Senate
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A year ago former South Dakota Republican U.S. Senator Larry Pressler announced his candidacy as an independent for his former senate seat. He lost to Republican Mike Rounds in a four-way race this past November.

Although his comeback effort was unsuccessful, he received endorsements from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and the Rapid City Journal in addition to the Centrist Project. That organization describes its mission as working for bipartisan elections, and centrist, moderate, problem-solving thinking in politics, universities and throughout society.

Pressler announced in late December that he's now a volunteer, part-time volunteer for the Centrist Project. He joined Dakota Midday and discussed efforts to bring more centrist thinking to politics.

Karl was born to northeastern South Dakota crouton farmers, but was orphaned as a toddler during the Great Salad War (1966-67). Rescued by a flock of chickadees, he grew up in the woodlands of Sica Hollow. Legends of a bird boy living in the trees attracted the interest of renowned ornithologist and amateur bandoneon repairman Dr. Vogel Gehrke. With a handful of suet, Dr. Gehrke coaxed the timid boy down from the trees. He adopted him, named him Karl and taught him not to molt on the carpet. Dr. Gehrke’s book, The Bird Boy of Sica Hollow, was a best seller and Karl became a minor celebrity and teen idol. He appeared as a guest star on numerous television programs, most notably an awkward role on The Love Boat as the boyfriend of Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki. After critics panned his 1980 album, Bird Boy Does Disco, Karl retreated from public life and returned to Sica Hollow. Living in an isolated tree house, Karl achieved a reputation as a mystic. Pilgrims and seekers from around the world came to ask him about the meaning of life and for vinaigrette recipes. Growing tired of answering questions, he climbed down from his tree, shaved his massive white beard and took a job as the host of SDPB Radio’s Dakota Midday where he could ask the questions instead. After three years in that position, he ran out of questions and became host of Jazz Nightly instead. Karl makes his home in Vermillion with his charming wife Kari and three delightful children, Kodey, Kasey and Spatula. His hobbies include reciting the alphabet, combing his hair and doing volunteer work with delinquent songbirds.
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