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William GuyTwenty-sixth Governor

  • Residence: Amenia, Cass County
  • Years Served: 1961-1973
  • Date of Inauguration: January 4, 1961
  • Age at Inauguration: 41
  • Politics: Democrat
  • Born: Devils Lake, North Dakota - September 30, 1919
  • Died: April 26, 2013

Political Background:

  • 1959-1961: North Dakota State House of Representatives
  • 1961-1973: Governor of North Dakota

After receiving his B.S. degree from North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC), William L. Guy served in the United States Navy in World War II. He received a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and then became the assistant county agent for Cass County. With his wife Jean, Guy began farming at Amenia, North Dakota, in 1948 and taught agricultural economics at NDAC during the winter quarters.In the legislature Guy served as assistant minority leader. His election as governor on the Democratic-Non Partisan League ticket finally established the two-party system in North Dakota. As governor, Guy served two two-year terms and two four-year terms. He began modernizing state government by implementing the new Office of Management and Budget.

Governor Guy with President John F. Kennedy and Senator Quentin Burdick
Governor Guy with President John F. Kennedy
and Senator Quentin Burdick in Fargo as they
successfully campaigned for election in 1960.

During his terms, the State Hospital's patient load was reduced from 2,600 to 600 and eight regional mental health districts were established. Guy organized the five-state Old West Trail Tourist Loop. The interstate highway system, 350 Minuteman missiles, the anti-ballistic missiles site, and Garrison Diversion were large federal projects that came to North Dakota during Guy's watch. He was instrumental in bringing three sugar beet refineries and large scale coal-fired electrical generation to North Dakota. Governor Guy was selected by President Lyndon Johnson to observe the first presidential elections in South Vietnam. Guy originated the concept of an interpretive North Dakota Heritage Center and promoted its construction. The Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award was established by Governor Guy as North Dakota's highest recognition. Guy organized and served as the first chairman of the Midwest Governors' Conference in 1962. In 1966 he was elected chairman of the National Governors' Conference.

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