|15th Governor of South Dakota|
January 5, 1937 – January 3, 1939
|Preceded by||Tom Berry|
|Succeeded by||Harlan J. Bushfield|
September 15, 1892|
Hot Springs, South Dakota, U.S.
|Died||December 14, 1964
Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of South Dakota|
Leslie Jensen was born in Hot Springs, South Dakota. In 1916 and 1917, he was a Second Lieutenant in the South Dakota National Guard 4th Infantry Regiment during the 1916 Mexican border expedition. He was a Captain with the American Expeditionary Forces from 1917 to 1919. He received an LL.B. degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1921. He married Elizabeth Ward and they had three children.
In 1936, Jensen, a Republican, defeated incumbent Governor Tom Berry as South Dakota Governor. He served from 1937 until 1939. During Jensen's single term as governor, the legislature created a state department to implement the new federal Social Security Act. In addition, despite the financial demands of the relief effort, the Jensen administration was able to balance South Dakota's general fund and eliminate a twenty-year-old overdraft as well as to reduce the state's bonded indebtedness and provide for refunding of rural credit bonds at lower rates of interest. In 1938, the South Dakota Division of the Motor Patrol was formed under Governor Jensen. Harlan J. Bushfield, former Republican state chairman, succeeded Leslie Jensen as governor.
In 1938, Jensen opted to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate, rather than seek reelection to the governorship, but he was defeated in the election. In the primary election held on May 3, 1938, Chan Gurney defeated Governor Jensen for the Republican nomination as United States Senator. Jensen went on to serve as a Colonel during World War II in the U.S. Armed forces from 1941 until 1945, when he returned to Hot Springs.
Jensen died in an automobile accident in Rapid City and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Hot Springs, Fall River County, South Dakota, US. The Leslie Jensen Scenic Highway, part of US Route 18, was named in his honor. In 1987, the Governor Leslie Jensen House, his family residence was registered in the National Register of Historic Places listings in Fall River County, South Dakota.
- "Leslie Jensen". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Governor Leslie Jensen(Guide to the Governors Papers at the South Dakota State Archives)
- South Dakota Governor Leslie Jensen (National Governors Association) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2009-12-03.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leslie Jensen.|
|Governor of South Dakota
Harlan J. Bushfield