Outgoing U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said Monday that he’s already had discussions with his successor, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, and he promised a “smooth transition” at the Department of the Interior. “The president made it very clear in the cabinet meeting that we had the day after the election that this transition is going to be smooth, professional, we’re going to do everything we possibly can, because we want the next administration to be successful. If they are successful, America is successful,” Kempthorne told a large Boise audience at what he said is likely his last formal speech as interior secretary. He praised Salazar as “someone that is a good listener, he comes from the West - I believe people will like him. I think he’s a positive choice.”
Addressing the Boise City Club and the Idaho Environmental Forum, Kempthorne reflected back on a career in public service that took him from mayor of Boise to U.S. senator to twice-elected Idaho governor, and then to President George W. Bush’s cabinet. “I did not set out to become a cabinet secretary,” he said. But once he arrived there, he said, his experience in Idaho stood him well. “I had a frame of reference for every issue that we tackled at Interior, from water, public lands management, wildfires, the Endangered Species Act, just to name a few.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.