Maralyn Budke: Wisdom, grace and public service

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By Hal Rhodes

Former Gov. Garrey Carruthers once ranked Maralyn Budke alongside our “finest governors, senators and congressmen” in terms of her public service “contributions to our state.”  

I knew of Maralyn Budke’s lustrous reputation well before we first met on the morning of Nov. 5, 1986.

The preceding night Carruthers had become the first Republican in 16 years to be elected to the state’s highest office, and he and I were about to sit down for an interview to be broadcast that evening on a public television news program, of which I was managing editor and host.

As the crew set up cameras and lights, the ebullient governor-elect introduced his entourage, most of whom I recognized as campaign aides and Republican operatives.

Standing slightly removed from the others was this intensely observant woman with blondish hair, fair complexion, clear blue eyes with glimmers of mischief and the bemused smile of a pro.

As I extended my hand, she said, “I’m Maralyn Budke.”   

“And I’m Hal Rhodes,” I responded.  

“Yes,” she said, smiling as we shook hands.

It was the beginning of a treasured friendship.  

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