However you want to define leadership, Cecil Andrus embodied it.
Consider these six powerful Idaho tributes to the former Idaho governor and U.S. Secretary of the Interior, who died last week:
1. “Governor Andrus was one of the most accomplished, successful and masterful political figures I have worked with. He had the judgment and strength to take matters where he wanted them to go.”
2. “Governor Andrus will rightly be remembered as a legend in the conservation field. It was fitting that he cut his political teeth protecting Castle Peak as I think they both have a lot in common. They are giants in Idaho and icons to those who believe conservation is a necessity and not a luxury.”
3. “Cecil Andrus made everyone around him better. He was a mentor to me and many others, raising our standards and inspiring us to think big. He combined stubborn idealism with common sense — a lunch-bucket liberal proudly reflecting his timber country upbringing and values. Whatever you thought of his politics, Cece was always true to what he believed, and he believed in Idaho. His voice will be missed in our public life, and I will miss his counsel and friendship.”
4. “Cecil Andrus was an Idaho original, a man whose independence and integrity earned the respect of Idahoans across the political spectrum. His blue-collar roots, connection to ordinary Idahoans and commitment to making the state a better place made him Idaho’s only four-term governor.”
5. “Few people have contributed so much to our state and our nation. Cecil was a statesman and a good man. His passion for Idaho helped make a great place even greater and his impact will continue to be felt for generations.”
6. “Governor Andrus was a dynamic and effective leader who knew how to wield authority and get things done for Idaho, and for the nation. His leadership and sense of purpose as a public servant were demonstrated repeatedly during his long career in public service. He earned my respect, and I count him as a friend. He will be forever remembered as a leader of great accomplishment.”
These salutes were all fired from across the aisle. The praise for Andrus, a Democrat, came from prominent Republicans: 1. U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho; 2. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho; 3. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter; 4. U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho; 5. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, and 6. U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.
You are right to mourn the loss of such an outstanding leader and human being.
And you are wise to think that our nation desperately needs Andrus-like leadership now, the kind that puts the people first and renders insignificant the capitalized initial behind politicians’ names.