About Cecil Dale Andrus
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Cecil Dale Andrus
Cecil Dale Andrus (born August 25, 1931) was an American politician who served as Governor of Idaho from 1971 to 1977, and again from 1987 to 1995; and in Washington as United States Secretary of the Interior from 1977 to 1981, during the Carter administration. Andrus lost his first gubernatorial election in 1966, but won four (1970, 1974, 1986, 1990), and served more years as Governor of Idaho than anyone else in the state's history. In public life he was noted for his conservationist and environmental views and accomplishments.
Early life and career
Born in Hood River, Oregon, Andrus attended Oregon State University in 1952 and served in the United States Naval Reserves from 1951 to 1955. After being discharged from the Navy, Andrus moved to Orofino, Idaho, where he worked in the timber industry.
In 1960, at age 28, and concerned over the local Republican state senator's stance against needed education improvements in Idaho schools, particularly in rural areas of the state, Andrus filed as a Democrat to run against him for the Idaho Senate and won, becoming the youngest member ever elected up to that time to the Idaho Legislature. He was reelected in 1962 and 1964.
Andrus first ran for Governor in Idaho in 1966, but was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary by Salmon attorney Charles Herndon. Andrus, however, was appointed the replacement nominee after Herndon died in a plane crash while en route from Twin Falls to Coeur d'Alene in September 1966. Andrus lost the general election to Republican Don Samuelson, earning him the unlikely distinction of losing both the primary and general election races for the same office in the same year. Andrus won reelection to the Idaho State Senate two years later, in 1968.
Undaunted by his earlier setback, Andrus defeated Samuelson in a gubernatorial election rematch in 1970. This was attributed in large part to Andrus' public opposition to proposals for development of molybdenum mining in central Idaho's White Cloud Mountains. Andrus was then overwhelmingly re-elected in 1974 to a second term, defeating Republican Lieutenant Governor Jack M. Murphy.
In 1974 TIME magazine named Governor Andrus one of the 200 Faces for the Future.
Interior Secretary (1977–1981)
In January 1977, Andrus left his post as governor to serve as Secretary of the Interior for newly inaugurated President Jimmy Carter, becoming the first Idahoan to serve in a presidential cabinet. He was succeeded as governor by Lieutenant Governor John V. Evans.
Among many other accomplishments while Interior Secretary, Andrus was responsible for shepherding through Congress the 1980 Alaska Lands Act which set aside some 103,000,000 acres (42,000,000 ha) in numerous, new national parks and wildlife refuges, including the still controversial Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other vast wilderness and conservation areas in Alaska.
In 1979, when President Carter asked for the resignations of his entire Cabinet during an administration retreat at Camp David, the resignation of Andrus was not accepted. Andrus stayed on as Secretary of the Interior for the remainder of Carter's presidency, and returned to Idaho after Carter's term ended in January 1981.
Noted for his ability and patience, both in Idaho and while Secretary of the Interior, in working tirelessly to broker often very difficult, bi-partisan compromises leading to the successful passage of legislation, Andrus was frequently criticized by both pro-developmental interests and by Washington-based environmentalist groups for his various conservation and preservation efforts and initiatives. He is quoted by a former aide at Interior as having once said: "One of the best ways to tell if we're doing something right, is when both sides are ticked off at us. And nobody wins if we wind up tossing the baby out with the bathwater.".
Andrus wrote in his memoir about such a need for compromise relative to his successful, last-ditch efforts in securing passage of the Alaska Lands Act during the last month of the Carter Administration in December 1980, following Ronald Reagan's election in November: "The environmental groups were initially hostile. I actually had to listen to the idiotic argument (from the Wilderness Society and Sierra Club's paid Washington lobbyists) that they could get a better Alaska package out of Reagan and Watt."
"Cooler heads quickly prevailed," Andrus continues, "It proved the old adage that there's nothing like a hanging in the morning to focus the mind. Even though we were creating tomorrow's controversies, a 103-million acre [preservation] plan ... was a lot better than nothing."  Governor (1987-95)
After several years in private life following his return to Idaho in 1981, Andrus surprised many by again seeking and recapturing the Idaho governorship in the 1986 election, defeating Republican Lieutenant Governor David H. Leroy. During this second stint as governor, Andrus vigorously opposed federal efforts to store nuclear waste in Idaho. He also brokered a path-breaking agreement among land use and conservation interests to control water pollution from nonpoint sources to protect riparian and fish habitat in Idaho's rivers and streams.
In 1990 Andrus drew attention when he vetoed a strict anti-abortion bill passed by the Idaho Legislature. Despite this veto, Andrus easily won re-election later that year against conservative Republican state senator Roger Fairchild, winning in every county except Lemhi. In his fourth and final term as governor, Andrus was again in the national spotlight due to the Endangered Species Act listing of several Snake River salmon species. These anadromous fish species spawn in their natal streams in Idaho and migrate seaward at a young age. Governor Andrus called attention to the downstream federal dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers as the major culprit. His successful lawsuit against the federal government led to incremental changes in operations of the dams, and to continuing efforts for major conservationist modifications to the dams that are ongoing today.
Despite remaining personally popular, Andrus did not seek re-election to a fifth term in 1994. He was succeeded by Republican Phil Batt, who served a single term and did not seek re-election in 1998.
In 1995, Andrus founded the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, and in 1998, published his memoir, Politics Western Style. Opened in 1997 by the Meridian School District, the Cecil D. Andrus Elementary School in west Boise is named after him.
Andrus remains active in the Idaho Democratic Party and continues to campaign on behalf of other Democrats. In 2006 Andrus served as campaign treasurer for Idaho Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brady. And, in February 2008, Andrus endorsed and campaigned actively on behalf of Barack Obama in Boise, Idaho. At what was described as the "second biggest political rally in Idaho history," by the New York Times, Andrus introduced Obama and recalled hearing John F. Kennedy speak years earlier. "I’m older now, some would suggest in the twilight of a mediocre political career," Andrus said. "[but] I, like you, can still be inspired. I can still hope."
In the closing page of his memoir, Andrus quotes the poet Robert Frost: "We should not have to care so much, you and I."
"But we do care," Andrus continues, "and we should. We care about the future ... I remain hopeful that I will be able to pass on to my grandchildren all the pleasures of life in an unspoiled West. Perhaps hope should be replaced by a stronger word. It is a matter of obligation."
A 2011 book on Andrus and his career in public service described him as "Idaho's greatest governor."