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Huckleberries Online

Mon., June 2, 2014, 1:30 p.m.

Catching up with Kempthorne

Kempthorne on a safer road back to North Idaho


COEUR d'ALENE - In November 2010, Dirk Kempthorne fell off the public map.

He landed nicely on a private one.

The former Boise mayor, U.S. senator, Idaho governor and U.S. interior secretary is spending this weekend at The Coeur d'Alene Resort as president and chief executive officer of the American Council of Life Insurers. He's meeting with about 30 leaders of ACLI's prestigious Forum 500 insurance companies. How he got here - literally - makes for a good story.

"I guess this is another indicator of how much I love Idaho," he said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C., earlier this week. Kempthorne explained that instead of flying from the nation's capital to Spokane and making the short drive to his conference this weekend, he and Patricia, his wife, flew to Boise instead. Then they hit the road.

"I love that drive," he said. "It renews your spirit."

For Kempthorne, 62, the drive also renews his spirit for some of the most important legislation he ever guided as Idaho's governor.

To get here, the Kempthornes took advantage of roads and other infrastructure that are not just more expedient, but safer than they were before his controversial public-private "Connecting Idaho" project was approved by the Idaho Legislature in 2005. Full story. Mike Patrick, CdA Press

What do you think Kempthorne's Idaho legacy will be?

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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.