Car dealer, GOP stalwart Kathy Sims dies at 77

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  • Kathy Sims, left, owner of Coeur d’Alene Honda, together with her daughter, Rita Sims-Snyder, was one of the sponsors of the Four Corners Carousel. LISA JAMES/Press file

  • 1

    Sims

  • Kathy Sims, left, owner of Coeur d’Alene Honda, together with her daughter, Rita Sims-Snyder, was one of the sponsors of the Four Corners Carousel. LISA JAMES/Press file

  • 1

    Sims

COEUR d’ALENE — Kathy Sims, a longtime Kootenai County Republican leader and business owner, died Friday morning.

Sims, 77, had been battling heart, kidney and gall bladder problems before her death, friends told The Press.

“This morning at 5:30, her heart let go,” longtime friend Sharon Culbreth said Friday afternoon.

Since 1968, Sims owned Coeur d’Alene Honda. She ran the dealership with daughter Rita Sims-Snyder and her husband, Ken Snyder, for many of those years. Sims was a powerful advocate for the automotive industry in general and women in the auto industry in particular.

She was also passionate about politics. In 2000, when then-District 4 state Sen. Jack Riggs was appointed lieutenant governor to Gov. Butch Otter, Sims was appointed to finish Riggs’ term. She lost to John Goedde by 31 votes in the May 2002 Republican primary.

Sims ran in 2010 to capture the District 4B seat in the Idaho House of Representatives. She served there until losing her seat in the 2016 Republican primary to Paul Amador.

Sims and Culbreth, a fellow Republican activist and Realtor, were born a week apart, Culbreth said Friday. They were almost identical in many ways, she said.

“We’re pretty much the same person, but she doesn’t vocalize things quite like I do,” Culbreth said.

Culbreth described her friend as “extremely loyal,” as a tireless advocate for her business and the people who worked there, and as someone who “was always interested in how her political decisions affected all the people, not herself.”

Here’s an excerpt from an in-depth 2017 story by Ric Clarke on Sims’ childhood in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene:

“Sims plans to retire next year from a life well-lived both on the political and business side. Among the lessons she has learned on the political side is “Government runs government. The legislators are just there as window dressing to make you think it’s the people’s government. I never went to Boise with the idea of creating laws. I wanted to make sure that bad laws weren’t created,” she said.

On the business side, she had an important rule: “Listen to your help. There’s no point in hiring smart people if you don’t pay attention to them and believe them.”

Read Clarke’s full story on Sims: https://bit.ly/2L429dT

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