WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 13, 2010, 09:14 AM

Former ND Governor, Press Secretary collaborate on memoir

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's an intimate look at the life and legacy of former North Dakota governor, George Sinner. The two-term leader and his former press secretary have put together a 350 page memoir called "Turning Points" and it's years, many tough times and laughs in the making.

"He had his flying suit on and..."

It doesn't take more than five minutes with this North Dakota leader to imagine what it would have been like to be a part of his cabinet in the 80's & 90's.

"Ole said, 'then I took off my skis!"

The 82-year old's contagious laugh, affinity for storytelling, and Ole & Lena jokes are apparent in every conversation. Now he's sharing that with the world. Thanks to urgings from his family, each detail will soon be revealed in this 350 page collaborative memoir.

GEORGE SINNER/FORMER ND GOVERNOR: "Bob and I have been so close. I learned from him, and hopefully he learned a little bit from me. He learned how to tell jokes from me."

JANSEN: "He has the life, he has the memories, he has the perspective, but he needed some help putting it together and writing it."

Over the last five years, former Press Secretary Bob Jansen sat down almost weekly with the former governor. Delving into his life as a child to young man, to the present day, mainly picking apart his time in the office. A time that had years of drought and lagging state revenues which forced tax increases.

JANSEN: "It took some leadership and difficult decisions by the man in the governor's office at that time."

SINNER: "It was crazy times! But we had an extremely close knit staff. Everybody had a good time. It was fun to come to work in the morning."

And it shows in the book: Sinner's hands-off leadership gave his agency heads and experts the power he felt they deserved.

SINNER: "At the end I always told them, 'Do your own press releases, call your own meetings, I don't are what you tell the press even if you want to criticize something I'm doing, just tell the truth.' "

Sinner says he had the brightest staff that was ever collected in the state.

SINNER: "We not only agreed philosophically, but we even laughed at the same jokes! Sometimes they even laughed at my jokes!"

And judging by who this man is, his book will be just as interesting. The book is set to be released by December.