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Centerville Was Home To A Secretary Of Agriculture Who Went On To Serve Four Terms In The U.S. Senate


National political names in the history of the state of South Dakota. We’ve had our fair share.

George McGovern. Three term U.S. Senator, 1972 democratic presidential nominee, one of the leading liberal voices during the Vietnam War era.

Karl Mundt. Five term U.S. House of Representatives member, four term U.S. Senator, a stalwart Republican conservative voice.

Tom Daschle. Four terms in the U.S. House, three terms in the U.S. Senate, Senate Majority Leader, Democrat. And many more including Clinton Presba Anderson.

Wait. Who?

You don’t know Clinton Presba Anderson? Well my goodness, he was a two term U.S. Congressman, the United States Secretary of Agriculture for three years and a four term United States Senator. Not a bad resume’ for a guy from Centerville, South Dakota!

Centerville is one of South Dakota’s many great small communities. 882 strong in the 2010 census, the town was just a wee bit smaller than that when Anderson was born there in 1895. After attending two colleges (but no degree) he returned to South Dakota and while working for a newspaper in Mitchell, Anderson had what would be a life changing event.

He was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

It was in 1917 that Clinton Anderson from Centerville, South Dakota was given just six months to live. Advised to go to a sanitarium in New mexico, Anderson left the state, beat the dreaded disease and proved doctors wrong. And so, it was from New Mexico that Clinton Presba Anderson made his political name.

Following a successful career in business, Anderson was voted into the House of Representatives in 1941. President Harry Truman appointed Anderson as his Secretary of Agriculture in 1945, and he was elected to the United States Senate in 1948, where he served until 1973.

Of course, since through all those years he represented the state of New Mexico, many people may have forgotten his roots in….

Centerville, South Dakota. Perhaps you could say he took those deeply rooted South Dakota values and replanted them in New mexico and the entire world benefited.

Clinton Presba Anderson passed away in 1975 at the age of 80.

When you’re talking about great political names from the great state of South Dakota, don’t forget Clinton Presba Anderson of New Mexico.


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