One North Idaho senator got a surprise on the final night of the legislative session – she was honored for becoming the longest-serving female senator in the history of the state. Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, who has served for 20 years, said, “I’m really honored, very humbled.” She said she found out she’s also the longest-serving senator from Bonner and Boundary counties, of either gender.
Keough, who was presented with the state flag that flew over the Senate for this year's session, is the vice-chair of the powerful Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, and is in position to take over as chair if current Senate Finance Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, were to retire. Cameron has said he’s not likely to serve more than another term, and he’s rumored to be a leading candidate for director of the state Department of Insurance, a position that’s been vacant for months now.
Keough, who’s served on the joint budget committee since 2000, has turned down other committee chairmanships to remain on the budget-setting panel. That’s allowed her to have direct influence on everything from school funding to the budget for the Lakes Commission, which oversees hot issues in the Lake Pend Oreille Basin. You can read my full story here from Sunday’s Spokesman-Review.