Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has amassed an array of awards, plaques, and mementos over the years that long has been on display in the ornate governor’s office, where he’s presided over Idaho state government for nearly eight years. Now, with a final vote nearing in the full U.S. Senate and Kempthorne’s confirmation as the next Secretary of the Interior looking highly likely, the governor’s office staff has been helping pack up and cart away the mementos. Secretary Claudia Simplot-Nally was wrapping bubble-wrap today around such treasures as the Iron Mike Award to Senator Dirk Kempthorne from the Marine Corps League; a shiny white bust of Abraham Lincoln; an Eagle Award for service to youth from the Idaho Boy Scout Councils awarded in 2001; and the “Commander in Chief Award” from the Idaho National Guard, topped with a bronze statute of an aviator. “This is what’s going to Washington with him,” Simplot-Nally said. “We’ve been doing this for three weeks.”
The Idaho governor’s office, once filled with Kempthorne’s signature items, is looking somewhat bare. Acting Gov. Jim Risch said he’s not ready to start moving in his own stuff. “There’s not been a confirmation vote yet – we need to get that behind us before I start moving in,” he said with a chuckle from behind the governor’s desk.