The Seattle Times today has an interesting look at how our former governor, Dirk Kempthorne, is doing as U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The Times, in an article by reporter Alicia Mundy, reports:
“After more than a year on the job, Kempthorne, the former Idaho governor and U.S. senator, may be the Bush administration's most popular Cabinet member on Capitol Hill. Democrats and Republicans alike praise him for pumping more money into national parks, repairing the department's relationships with Congress, and moving beyond the scandals that damaged the agency in recent years. Kempthorne even pleased skeptical environmentalists last December by proposing to list the polar bear as threatened because of thinning sea ice caused by global warming. At the same time, he has continued Bush's controversial policies that favor oil and gas development on public lands, and his department has added no species to the endangered-species list since he became Interior secretary.”
Kempthorne, who built his political reputation as a Boise mayor who brought consensus among warring factions over downtown redevelopment, has drawn on his connections from serving in the U.S. Senate and his personal charm in his new role, the Times report suggests. About the oddest thing in it: That Kempthorne declined to give the Times an interview.