Cecil Andrus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Cecil D. Andrus)

Cecil Andrus
26th and 28th Governor of Idaho
In office
January 5, 1987 – January 2, 1995
LieutenantButch Otter
Preceded byJohn V. Evans
Succeeded byPhil Batt
In office
January 4, 1971 – January 23, 1977
LieutenantJack M. Murphy
John V. Evans
Preceded byDon Samuelson
Succeeded byJohn V. Evans
42nd United States Secretary of the Interior
In office
January 23, 1977 – January 20, 1981
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byThomas S. Kleppe
Succeeded byJames G. Watt
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
July 4, 1976 – January 23, 1977
Preceded byRobert D. Ray
Succeeded byReubin Askew
Personal details
Cecil Dale Andrus

(1931-08-25)August 25, 1931
Hood River, Oregon, U.S.
DiedAugust 24, 2017(2017-08-24) (aged 85)
Boise, Idaho, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Carol May
(m. 1949)
EducationOregon State University
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1951–1955
RankPetty officer, second class
UnitU.S. Naval Reserve
Battles/warsKorean War
Cold War

Cecil Dale Andrus (August 25, 1931 – August 24, 2017) was an American politician who served as 26th and 28th governor of Idaho, for a total of fourteen years.[1][2][3] A Democrat, he also served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior from 1977 to 1981 during the Carter Administration. Andrus lost his first gubernatorial election in 1966 but won four (in 1970, 1974, 1986, and 1990) and his fourteen years as governor is the most in state history. He is the most recent Democrat to have held the office.

In public life, Andrus was noted for his strong conservationist and environmental views and accomplishments,[4] and an Idaho wildlife preserve established in 1993 in Washington County is named the Cecil D. Andrus Wildlife Management Area in his honor.[5][6] In 2018, the Cecil D. Andrus–White Clouds Wilderness was renamed after him.[7] A political liberal, he protected the environment by minimizing the control of business interests held over the public domain and by concentrating decision-making in the hands of experts in the Interior Department. He argued that environmentalism can and must coexist with positive economic development.[8]

Early life[edit]

Born in Hood River, Oregon on August 25, 1931,[9] Andrus was the middle of three children of Hal Stephen and Dorothy May (Johnson) Andrus, with older brother Steve and younger sister Margaret. They later lived near Junction City, on a farm without electricity. During World War II, the family moved to Eugene in early 1942, when "Cece" was 11, where Hal (1906–2004)[10] and his brother Bud opened a machine shop to refurbish sawmill equipment.[11] Andrus graduated from Eugene High School in 1948 at age 16 and attended Oregon State College in Corvallis, where he majored in engineering in his freshman year.[12]

At age 17, he got a good summer job with the local utility in 1949, and late in August, he eloped to Reno with Carol Mae May (born December 26, 1932), his high school sweetheart.[11] Andrus had just turned 18, and she was 16 months younger. The Andruses enjoyed a happy, affectionate marriage, and he always referred to her as "his first wife" or "his bride".[13] He decided to keep working and not return to college.[4][14] Following the outbreak of the Korean War, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserves in February 1951, and served as an electronics technician aboard patrol aircraft until 1955.

After his discharge from the Navy, Andrus moved to Orofino in northern Idaho, where he worked in the timber industry in a variety of jobs at a sawmill his father co-owned.[12] After the sawmill closed,[15] Andrus switched to the insurance industry in 1963,[12] and moved his family down the Clearwater River to Lewiston in 1966.[16][17]

Political career[edit]

State Senate[edit]

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 and won, and was re-elected in 1962 and 1964 from Orofino (and Clearwater County).[citation needed]

Gubernatorial candidate[edit]

Andrus first ran for governor in 1966 but was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary by Charles Herndon, an attorney from Salmon.[18]

Seven weeks before the November election, Herndon and two others died in a twin-engine private plane crash in the mountains six miles (10 km) northwest of Stanley,[19] while en route from Twin Falls to Coeur d'Alene in mid-September.[20][21] Andrus was appointed the nominee to take Herndon's place on the ballot. He lost the general election to Republican Don Samuelson of Sandpoint by more than 11,000 votes,[22] earning Andrus the unlikely distinction of losing both the primary and general election races for the same office in the same year. He returned to the state senate two years later, easily unseating the Republican incumbent in the 1968 election,[23] and represented Lewiston.[16] Herndon's widow, Lucille, was elected to several local political offices after his death.[24]

Governor of Idaho (1971–1977)[edit]

Undaunted by his earlier setback, Andrus defeated Samuelson by over 10,000 votes in a gubernatorial election rematch in 1970.[25] This was attributed in large part to Andrus's public opposition to proposals for development of molybdenum mining in central Idaho's White Cloud Mountains, which Samuelson supported.[26][27]

Alice Lake in Idaho's Sawtooth Wilderness

During his first term as governor, Andrus played a key role in winning support by the U.S. Congress for federal designation of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area in the State of Idaho.[4] Andrus was easily re-elected in 1974 with over 70% of the vote, defeating Republican Lieutenant Governor Jack M. Murphy of Shoshone by a record margin.[28]

In 1974, Time magazine named Governor Andrus one of the "200 Faces for the Future".[29]

Secretary of the Interior (1977–1981)[edit]

In January 1977, Andrus left his post as governor to serve as Secretary of the Interior for newly inaugurated President Jimmy Carter,[17][30] whom he had known since both were freshman governors in 1971. Andrus became the first Idahoan to serve in a presidential cabinet. He was succeeded in Idaho by Lieutenant Governor John V. Evans, a Democrat who served nearly a decade, winning elections in 1978 and 1982.[31][32]

Andrus also took a leadership role in securing Congressional passage of the Redwood National Park Expansion Act in 1978.[citation needed] which added 48,000 acres (75 sq mi; 190 km2) to Redwood National Park in California, in a major expansion to preserve remnants of the giant redwood forests there.[33]

Redwood National Park in California

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.[citation needed]

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."[citation needed]

"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."[34]

Governor of Idaho again (1987–1995)[edit]

After several years in private life following his return to Idaho in 1981,[35][36] Andrus surprised many by seeking and recapturing the Idaho governorship in 1986, when he defeated Republican Lieutenant Governor David Leroy in a close open seat election.[37] The incumbent since succeeding Andrus in 1977, Evans had chosen to run for the U.S. Senate,[38] but lost.

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.[citation needed]

In September 1989, Andrus closed off the Idaho border to nuclear waste shipments from the federal government's Rocky Flats site near Denver. He initially agreed to open a temporary dump near Idaho Falls to store waste until the federal government agreed to open a site near Carlsbad, New Mexico. When the federal government failed to open the Carlsbad site, Andrus refused to accept shipments of plutonium from Rocky Flats. Secretary of Energy James D. Watkins did not challenge Andrus's authority to close the border.[citation needed]

In 1990, Andrus drew attention when he vetoed a bill, passed by the legislature, which "would have made abortion illegal except in cases of non-statutory rape reported within seven days, incest if the victim was under 18, severe fetal deformity or where the pregnancy posed a threat to the mother's life."[39] Andrus was easily re-elected later that year against conservative Republican state senator Roger Fairchild of Fruitland,[40] and won every county except Lemhi and Jefferson.[citation needed]

The Snake River's Shoshone Falls
near Twin Falls, Idaho

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.[citation needed]

On April 3, 1990, he signed House Bill 817 into law, creating two new types of felony crimes, defined new criminal investigation areas, provided the basis for opening ritual child abuse cases based upon probable cause, and provided a framework for extensive ritual child abuse investigation training throughout Idaho.[41]

Despite remaining personally popular, Andrus did not seek a fifth term in 1994. At his death in 2017, he was the eleventh longest-serving governor in U.S. history.[42] Andrus was succeeded by Phil Batt of Wilder, the first Republican to win a gubernatorial election in Idaho since 1966; he served a single term and did not seek a second in 1998.[43] Andrus's re-election in 1990 was the sixth straight gubernatorial win by Democrats in Idaho (Evans in 1978, 1982), but is the most recent; Republicans have since won eight consecutive, through 2022.

Election results[edit]

Idaho Gubernatorial Elections: Results 1966–1974, 1986–1990
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1966 Cecil Andrus 93,744 37.1% Don Samuelson 104,586 41.4% Perry Swisher Independent 30,913 12.2% Phillip Jungert Independent 23,139 9.2%
1970 Cecil Andrus 128,004 52.2% Don Samuelson (inc.) 117,108 47.8%
1974 Cecil Andrus (inc.) 184,142 70.9% Jack Murphy 68,731 26.5% Nolan Victor American 6,759 2.6%
1986 Cecil Andrus 193,429 49.9% David Leroy 189,794 49.0% James A. Miller Independent 4,203 1.1%
1990 Cecil Andrus (inc.) 217,801 68.1% Roger Fairchild 101,885 31.9%

Elder statesman[edit]

Spring at Boise State University

A wildlife preservation area in Idaho established in 1993, eighteen miles (30 km) from Cambridge in Washington County, is named the Cecil D. Andrus Wildlife Management Area in his honor.[5]

In 1995, Andrus founded the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, and in 1998, published his memoir, Politics Western Style.[11]

An elementary school opened in 1997 in west Boise by the West Ada School District was named the Cecil D. Andrus Elementary School in his honor.[44]

Andrus remained active in the Idaho Democratic Party in the early 21st Century and continued to campaign on behalf of other Democrats. In 2006, Andrus served as campaign treasurer for Idaho Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brady.[45] In February 2008, Andrus endorsed and campaigned actively on behalf of Illinois Senator Barack Obama in Boise.[46]

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."[47]

In the closing page of his memoir, Andrus quotes the poet Robert Frost: "We should not have to care so much, you and I."[48] "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."[48]

A 2011 book on Andrus and his career in public service described him as "Idaho's greatest governor".[4]


Andrus died on August 24, 2017, in Boise, just one day before his 86th birthday, of complications from lung cancer.[42][49]


  1. ^ Smith, Harrison (August 25, 2017). "Cecil Andrus, defender of Alaska's wilderness as Carter's interior secretary, dies at 85". Washington Post. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  2. ^ Yardley, William (August 25, 2017). "Cecil D. Andrus, 85, Carter's preservationist Interior Secretary, dies". The New York Times. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  3. ^ Kruesi, Kimberlee; Ridler, Keith (August 25, 2017). "Idaho's Cecil Andrus dies; as Interior secretary, he helped conserve Alaska land". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Carlson, Chris (2011). Andrus: Idaho's Greatest Governor. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0870045141.; retrieved June 24, 2015. Caxton Press; ISBN 0-87004-505-9
  5. ^ a b "Cecil Andrus Wildlife Management Area". Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  6. ^ White, Jim (April 2006). "Cecil D. Andrus Wildlife Management Area Long Range Management Plan" (PDF). Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  7. ^ "Andrus spent his life protecting this iconic Idaho wilderness; now it will carry his name". idahostatesman. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Anne Becher and Joseph Richey, American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present (2 vol, 2nd ed. 2008) pp 27–29.
  9. ^ Yardley, William (August 25, 2017). "Cecil D. Andrus, 85, Carter's Preservationist Interior Secretary, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  10. ^ "Hal Andrus". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). (obituary). December 8, 2004. p. D4.
  11. ^ a b c Cecil D. Andrus, Politics Western Style (with Joel Connelly), Sasquatch Books, Seattle, 1998.
  12. ^ a b c Willis, Henry (September 27, 1973). "Eugene 'alum' at conference". Eugene-Register Guard. p. 6B.
  13. ^ Carlson, Chris (October 17, 2011). Cecil Andrus: Idaho's Greatest Governor. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0870045141.
  14. ^ Edmonston Jr., George. "OSU's Famous Alumni". Oregon State University Alumni Association. Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. Retrieved October 21, 2006.
  15. ^ Hall, Bill (December 19, 1976). "Who is this guy Cecil Andrus?". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). pp. 1A, 19A.
  16. ^ a b "State Sen. Cecil Andrus will be speaker for Lewiston High School commencement". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). May 1, 1969. p. 20.
  17. ^ a b Benjamin, Stan (January 20, 1977). "Andrus gives up much to take on tough job". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. p. 3.
  18. ^ "Smylie loses, Herndon holds edge on Andrus". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. August 3, 1966. p. 1.
  19. ^ "Air crash kills Idaho candidate for governor". Morning-Record. (Meriden, Connecticut). Associated Press. September 16, 1966. p. 17.
  20. ^ A Political Dynasty in North Idaho, 1933-1967; accessed January 28, 2008.
  21. ^ "Andrus is likely ballot successor". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. September 16, 1966. p. 1.
  22. ^ "Conservatism given credit by Samuelson". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 10, 1966. p. 1.
  23. ^ "Andrus, Wagner, Mitchell victors in District 6 legislative races". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). November 6, 1968. p. 20.
  24. ^ "Salmon Recorder Herald Archives, Sep 3, 1970, p. 1". September 3, 1970.
  25. ^ "Andrus tops Idaho vote". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. November 4, 1970. p. 1.
  26. ^ "Samuelson reiterates support of mining in White Clouds". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. September 17, 1969. p. 1.
  27. ^ Kenyon, Quane (April 29, 1985). "Priest Lake question colors Idaho politics". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. p. A1.
  28. ^ "Andrus wins with record margin". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. November 6, 1974. p. 1.
  29. ^ "200 Faces for the Future". Time. July 15, 1974. Archived from the original on June 12, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  30. ^ "Carol Andrus has misgivings". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 19, 1976. p. 13A.
  31. ^ "Gov. Evans holds slight lead". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. November 3, 1982. p. 1A.
  32. ^ Kennedy, John (November 4, 1982). "Gov. Evans rejoices, Batt talks about quitting politics". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. p. 1C.
  33. ^ Schrepfer, Susan R. (1983). The Fight to Save the Redwoods: A History of Environmental Reform, 1917-1978. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 130–85. ISBN 0-299-08850-2.
  34. ^ Cecil D. Andrus, "Politics Western Style" (with Joel Connelly), Sasquatch Books, Seattle, 1998.
  35. ^ "Andrus joins board of Beker Industries". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. February 28, 1981. p. 8.
  36. ^ Camden, Jim (March 2, 1984). "Andrus wants pressure on BPA". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 24.
  37. ^ "Andrus reclaims old job in squeaker over Leroy". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. November 5, 1981. p. A1.
  38. ^ Kenyon, Quane (October 28, 1986). "No political truce in Idaho". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. p. A4.
  39. ^ "Idaho's Andrus Vetoes Strict Abortion Bill", March 31, 1990, Los Angeles Times.
  40. ^ "Andrus, Craig record lopsided wins". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). wire services. November 7, 1990. p. B5.
  41. ^ "A Sign of the Times". Skeptic Tank Files. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  42. ^ a b "Former Democratic Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus dies at 85", KIVI-TV, August 25, 2017.
  43. ^ "Batt says Republicans shouldn't let guard down". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). Associated Press. September 18, 1997. p. 3B.
  44. ^ Andrus Elementary - Joint School District No. 2 Archived August 4, 2012, at archive.today
  45. ^ Campaign finance report from Idaho Secretary of State website Archived July 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ "Obama endorsed by former Idaho Governor Andrus - Breaking News Updates from Portland and Oregon". Blog. The Oregonian. January 31, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  47. ^ "Timothy Egan: 'Obama: The Shock of the Red'". Blogs. The New York Times. February 6, 2008. Archived from the original on May 23, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  48. ^ a b Cecil D. Andrus, Politics Western Style, p. 239.
  49. ^ "Cecil Andrus, logger who rose to Idaho governor, dies at 85". The New York Times. Associated Press. August 25, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.


  • Andrus, Cecil D., with Joel Connelly, Politics Western Style, Sasquatch Books, Seattle, 1998; ISBN 1-57061-122-X
  • Becher, Anne, and Joseph Richey, American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present (2 vol, 2nd ed. 2008) vol 1 online pp. 27–29.
  • Carlson, Chris - Cecil Andrus: Idaho's Greatest Governor, Caxton Press, October 2011; ISBN 0-87004-505-9

External links[edit]

Media related to Cecil Andrus at Wikimedia Commons

Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles Herndon
Democratic nominee for Governor of Idaho
1966, 1970, 1974
Succeeded by
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Idaho
1986, 1990
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Idaho
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Secretary of the Interior
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Idaho
Succeeded by