When you think about the legacy you leave behind, you often think of those you have influenced, the lives you've changed and what people will remember most about you. Idaho icon, Cecil D. Andrus did it right in living as a human being, standing for what he believed in, speaking for people who had less of a voice and fiercely protected our great state of Idaho. 

Former Idaho governor and President Carter administration Interior Secretary Cecil D. Andrus has died of complications from lung cancer. His 86th birthday would have been today. Andrus is often referred to as the state’s most influential politician. At 25, he became the youngest member ever elected to the Idaho legislature. In 1970, Cecil Andrus won the governor’s seat, then, 7 years later, joined president Jimmy Carter as the Secretary of the Interior. Once his job was completed, Andrus returned to Idaho serving two more terms making him Idaho’s longest serving governor – a total of 14 years and the last democrat in office.

On a mission to remove all nuclear waste from a nuclear research complex near Idaho Falls, Andrus has committed to seeing this through to completion and has been supported by the courts when there was a call for radioactive waste to be removed from the Idaho National Labratory by 2035. According to an interview where he reflected on his long career, the former governor said,

“If something happened to the quality of that water … you couldn’t sell an Idaho baked potato any place in the world, because it would be radioactive."

 

“I’ve promised some of those people over there at INL that I’m going to live past my 100th birthday in order to see that they’ve got it cleaned up by 2035. They’re going to have to put up with me for quite a while.”

 

Sadly, just one day before his 86th birthday, Cecil D. Andrus has died of complications from lung cancer.

The Andrus Center at Boise State University was named after the, now, late governor. Andrus entered politics because of immense passion and desire to create change. He is referred to as an "accidental politician" due to his decision to run for office when he couldn't sit back any longer. He needed to work on education improvements - especially in rural Idaho. In addition to the Andrus Center, an elementary school is also named after the four-term governor: Andrus Elementary.

Cecil Andrus was married to Carol, the first woman he fell in love with. The two were married for 68 years. They have three children together. Cecil was also a loving grandfather.