Cecil Andrus

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Cecil Dale Andrus

26th and 28th Governor of Idaho
In office
January 5, 1987 – January 2, 1995
Preceded by John V. Evans
Succeeded by Phil Batt
In office
January 4, 1971 – January 23, 1977 (resigned)
Preceded by Don Samuelson
Succeeded by James G. Watt

In office
January 23, 1977 – January 20, 1981
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Thomas S. Kleppe

Chairman of the
National Governors Association
In office
July 4, 1976 – January 23, 1977
Succeeded by Reubin Askew

Born August 25, 1931
Hood River, Oregon
Died August 24, 2017 (died one day before his 86th birthday)
Boise, Idaho
Resting place Pioneer Cemetery in Boise
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Carol May Andrus (married 1949-2017, his death)
Children Three children
Alma mater Eugene (Oregon) High School

Oregon State University

Military Service
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Petty officer, second class
Unit U.S. Naval Reserve
Battles/wars Korean War
Cold War

Cecil Dale Andrus (August 25, 1931 – August 24, 2017) wasthe 26th and 28th Governor of his adopted state of Idaho. A Democrat, he served fourteen years in nonconsecutive terms between 1967 and 1995. He resigned as governor on January 23, 1977, to become the United States Secretary of the Interior under U.S. President Jimmy Carter. He returned to the governorship in 1987 after winning the 1986 general election.[1]

Life and career

Andrus lost his first bid for governor in 1966, having been defeated by the conservative Don Samuelson, who had won the Republican primary over the more moderate Robert E. Smylie. Andrus unseated Samuelson in 1970, when Carter was elected to his only term as governor of Georgia. Andrus was elected again in 1974, 1986, and 1990. His fourteen years as governor is the most in state history, and he is the last Democrat to serve as governor since 1995.

Andrus was born in Hood River, Oregon, a port on the Columbia River named for the nearby Hood River. He was the middle of three children of Hal Stephen Andrus (1906-2004) and the former Dorothy May Johnson (1919-1982). For a time, he lived on a farm without electricity near Junction City, Oregon. the family later moved to Eugene, Oregon, home of the University of Oregon. Andrus graduated from high school in Eugene but attended Oregon State University in Corvallis in the northwestern portion of the state. He served in the United States Navy in the Korean War and the Cold War. [2]

A strong conservationist, Andrus is honored by the naming of the Cecil D. Andrus Wildlife Management Area in Washington County on Hell's Canyon of the Snake River. In 2018, the Cecil D. Andrus–White Clouds Wildernes] was renamed for him.[3]

Despite Idaho's reputation as a conservative state and Republican at the presidential level, Andrus was a liberal. His environmental policy called for minimizing the control of business interests over the public domain and by placing decision-making in the hands of so-called experts in the Interior Department. He argued that environmentalism can and must coexist with economic development. He worked in the timber and insurance businesses.[4] As governor, Andrus battled the federal government to remove nuclear waste from Idaho. He also promoted the interests of educators and farmers.[2]

As an elder statesman, Andrus endorsed Barack Hussein Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, rather than Hillary Rodham Clinton. Andrus said that then Senator Obama reminded him of the promise of President John F. Kennedy.[5]

Andrus died of lung cancer in Boise the day before his 86th birthday and is interred there at Pioneer Cemetery.[2]


  1. Harrison Smith (August 25, 2017). Cecil Andrus, defender of Alaska's wilderness as Carter's interior secretary, dies at 85. Washington Post. Retrieved on September 9, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Cecil Dale Andrus (1931-2017) - Find A Grave Memorial, accessed September 9, 2021.
  3. Rocky Barker (March 22, 2018). Andrus spent his life protecting this iconic Idaho wilderness; now it will carry his name. Idaho Statesman. Retrieved on September 9, 2021.
  4. Anne Becher and Joseph Richey, American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present (2 vol, 2nd ed. 2008), pp 27–29.
  5. Obama endorsed by former Idaho Governor Andrus - oregonlive.com, accessed September 9, 2021.