Here’s U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo’s comment on this morning’s Senate confirmation of Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne as Secretary of the Interior:
“Today’s confirmation of Dirk Kempthorne marks the beginning of a great tenure at the Interior Department. While there has been some partisanship regarding his confirmation, none of it was directed at him but rather at specific political situations. Dirk has been a great leader in the state of Idaho and will bring strong guidance and common sense to the issues confronting the Interior Department. I look forward to working with him on improving the Endangered Species Act, public land management issues and a host of other issues facing the West and our country.”
Crapo was referring to moves by two Democratic senators to use the confirmation vote to bring attention to issues in their states, including distribution of oil and gas royalties to Gulf Coast states and oil and gas drilling off the Gulf of Mexico. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., dropped her protest and agreed to back Kempthorne’s confirmation after talks with him. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, persisted but was outvoted on a cloture motion, which cut off debate and allowed the confirmation vote to proceed.
Sen. Larry Craig praised Kempthorne as a consensus-builder. “I have watched Gov. Kempthorne for two terms, or eight years in my state of Idaho, take very difficult situations and sometimes competing sides and bring them together to resolve a problem and to come out whole and smiling in behalf of their interests and in behalf of the state of Idaho,” Craig told the Senate last night. “It is with that kind of style and capacity that Gov. Kempthorne comes to the position of Secretary of the Interior.”