North Dakota can lay claim to having the world's tallest male politician.
Guinness World Records has bestowed the title on Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, whose official height is 6 feet, 10 inches (210.76 centimeters), as verified by Guinness in Bismarck on Oct. 4.
"He decided to break this record to bring awareness to the position of Insurance Commissioner, and to show that being different is fun," Guinness World Records states on its website.
Robert Cornegy Jr., a 6-foot-10 (209.6 centimeter) New York City councilman from Brooklyn, was certified by Guinness in January and honored for the distinction in March at a City Hall ceremony. Godfread stepped forward to contest the title, and he announced his formal application to Guinness in mid-October while launching a 2020 bid for a second four-year term.
“This was a fun opportunity to bring some good news back to North Dakota, and of course, it’s an honor to be recognized as a world record holder,” Godfread said in a statement Tuesday.
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Godfread said he went to his family doctor's office to be measured three times throughout the day on Oct. 4. He was required to be measured in the morning, at midday and in the evening. Each time, he was measured both standing and lying down. The process was documented with video and photographs, per the requirements of Guinness.
“This is also a great opportunity to highlight the work we do at the North Dakota Insurance Department and remind consumers that we are a consumer protection agency serving the people of North Dakota. There are no dumb questions when it comes to insurance, even if it’s about my height," Godfread quipped.
Cornegy didn't immediately respond to a request for comment the Tribune made to his office Tuesday.
Cornegy and Godfread have something in common besides height and public service. Cornegy played college basketball for St. John’s University; Godfread played for the University of Northern Iowa. He also played professionally in Germany.
“Given that we were once both college athletes, I’d be happy to play a little one on one with Councilman Cornegy if it means celebrating how unique we all are,” Godfread said. “Although, with winter beginning to set in in North Dakota, I’d be happy to give the Councilman the homecourt advantage.”