Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. To learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column, click here

Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: We knew way back when that Shawn Keough would be a good state senator

Idaho Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, talked about local politics in Coeur d'Alene in spring 2016. (Kathy Plonka/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Idaho Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, talked about local politics in Coeur d'Alene in spring 2016. (Kathy Plonka/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Look up “states(wo)man” in the dictionary (that device we used before Google and Wikipedia), and you’ll find a picture of state Sen. Shawn Keough.

The Sandpoint Republican has represented Idaho’s 1st Senate District superbly for more than 20 years. That’s why you heard a collective groan last week when Shawn announced that her current 11th term will be her last. Good legislators in North Idaho are hard to come by. She’ll leave behind a big pair of shoes to fill, including the navy pump she used as a gavel in 2005 to quiet an angry crowd at a property tax relief hearing at Sandpoint High.

Shawn’s respected statewide now. But in October 1996, she was a Republican newbie trying to unseat Tim Tucker, her district’s Democratic state senator. Former colleague Becky Nappi and I were assigned by this newspaper’s editorial board to recommend candidate endorsements in North Idaho. We picked Shawn over Tim. The board agreed. And we wrote:

“Shawn Keough, a Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce employee with timber ties and a reputation for working behind the scenes to get things done, makes a tough choice easier. She has a sterling record of community involvement which includes co-founding the Injured Logger Fund and a program that paints homes for needy seniors. Her consensus-building skills will be tested as she seeks to obtain funding for a Sandpoint bypass and to correct the state funding formula imbalance that hurts Bonner County schools. Tim Tucker, a maverick Democrat, has a solid voting record but can accomplish little from his side of the aisle.”

And a star was born.

License kids, not cats

From Huckleberries archives (July 13, 1992): The suggestion by Police Chief Cliff Hayes that cats be licensed in Post Falls brought a tongue-in-cheek proposal from Councilwoman/cat lover Karen Streeter. She suggested the town also require licenses for kids: $25 for females, $15 for males and $5 for redheads (either sex). In a letter, the redheaded councilwoman astutely observed: “Most communities suffer more problems from children than cats.” Bingo.


Poet’s Corner: Next time we free/ Our fellow man/ It might be wise/ To have a plan – “The Bard of Sherman Avenue: Poems by Tom Wobker” (“Iraq Lesson”) … S-R colleague Nina Culver spotted this fashion faux pas in the Spokane S-R elevator: a guy in nice slacks, dress shirt AND sandals with socks. Friends don’t let friends wear socks with sandals, especially black socks … This column told you that former 1st District magistrate Don Swanstrom was picking huckleberries despite back pain. The silver lining? His knees, which were both replaced nearly two years ago, allowed him to tromp over hillsides pain free … You are an idiot, if you’re still terrorizing dogs and annoying neighbors by shooting off fireworks. Jamie Lynn Morgan of Coeur d’Alene and Huckleberries would like you to know that … Poll: A plurality of 33.5 percent of my Huckleberries blog readers drink two to four cups of coffee daily, meaning they’ll live longer, at least until the next coffee survey comes out … Reminder: Native son Jon Mueller will discuss his swell new book about the history of Coeur d’Alene’s City Park at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Coeur d’Alene Library. Be there or be square … Kristi Jacobson Rietze, the director of philanthropy at Lutherhaven Ministries, is embarrassed to admit she’s not 100 percent sure about the spelling of “hors d’oeuvres.” Says she: “One would think that with fundraising as a career, I would be able to spell hors d’oeuvres without double-checking. Nope.” Huckleberries seconds that emotion.

Parting shot

A sign caught the eye of Nancy Gillard, of Pullman, while she waited for a loved one to be treated in the Kootenai Health ER recently: “A patient gown is provided for your use since your exam will require the removal of your clothing. Thank you for your cooperation.” Nancy was amazed: “Really? You need to tell us that? What happens if we don’t cooperate?” The answer to that question could be scary.

D.F. “Dave” Oliveria will be on vacation until Tuesday. Huckleberries will return Wednesday.

More from this author