Former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus died on Thursday, after years in political office and public service. He was a Democratic Governor in a state with a Republican legislature, but still managed to get things done.
The last time he held office was in 1995. Since then he has been considered a seasoned veteran of the Democratic Party, taking an active role in public issues like the fight against bringing more nuclear waste into Idaho.
So what does his death mean for Democrats politically in the Gem State? We sat down with Boise State University Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief to ask that question.
Moncrief says Andrus was viewed as the fountainhead of wisdom in the Democratic Party in Idaho, and his passing reflects the passing of a different era in politics.
“The Democratic Party itself at the ground level in Idaho has a very tough row to hoe with or without Cecil Andrus just because of the nature of polarization in the United States, not just in Idaho but everywhere,” says Moncrief.
Now, he says, it’s a much more difficult time to govern because both parties have become ideologically more to the right or the left than they used to be.
He says Andrus was the last of a generation that was willing to negotiate politically.
Personally, Moncrief remembers that Andrus had a flare for convincing both sides to come together.
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