Insights and Analysis from Gallatin Public Affairs
August 30, 2017
by Dan Lavey
Hundreds will gather in person – and thousands more in spirit – Thursday in Boise to remember, honor and say farewell to former Idaho Governor Cecil D. Andrus. Gallatin Public Affairs has not only lost a longtime professional colleague and former boss, we have lost a close friend. Since his passing was announced last Friday, some outstanding obituaries have been written about his career and life. The New York Times, Washington Post and Idaho Statesmen all published pieces worth reading. He was a remarkable person and leader.
Working in politics and public service can be a misunderstood profession for those who have never experienced it. In particular, the relationships between an elected official and his or her top aides can be extremely close. Under the best of circumstances, deep bonds of personal trust are developed through the shared public struggle of running for office and governing. This was most certainly the case for Gallatin partners Chris Carlson and Marc Johnson and their beloved boss, “Cece” Andrus. Chris was the founding partner of Gallatin and Marc was a longtime partner and my predecessor as President of the firm. For them, Cece was more than just a boss – he was a mentor, father-figure, truth-teller, grandpa-figure and close, close friend. And for everyone at Gallatin, Cece was an inspiration and a beacon of integrity, humility and good humor. He counseled many of us and many of our clients on how to handle issues as diverse as permitting a new mine and dealing with a federal agency. Cece understood the Northwest economy and that creating jobs and taking care of the environment did not have to be mutually exclusive goals.
I have worked around politics my entire career. With Cece, you understood why he was such a successful politician and an admired, effective leader. As governor, Cece solved problems, made hard decisions and sometimes took controversial actions that he thought were in the best interest of Idaho and her citizens including advocating for public kindergarten.
Cece knew who he was. He spoke his mind. He listened. He looked you in the eye. He was as comfortable in the saddle as he was in the boardroom. He had the common touch but you always knew you were in the presence of a great leader. He set high standards. He was hands-on without hovering. He gave trust and loyalty – and it was returned to him tenfold. Cece Andrus was a Western Statesman and an American Original and he will be missed by everyone who knew him and millions more who never will.
Tomorrow, along with his wife, Carol, and the Andrus family, we will stand, kneel and applaud in appreciation for Cecil D. Andrus and his life well-lived.
Those wishing to honor Cece are encouraged by his family to make memorial gifts to the Cecil D. Andrus Center Chair for Environment and Public Lands (Fund ID: SE009). Click here to give online or make checks payable to “Cecil D. Andrus Chair” and mail to: Boise State University Foundation, Cecil D. Andrus Chair (SE009), 1173 West University Drive, Boise, Idaho 83725.
Partner, President and Shareholder, Oregon
For more than 25 years, Dan Lavey has been a leader and go-to strategist in Oregon’s political process and public affairs arena. He’s provided counsel to numerous businesses and public-eye organizations along with elected officials and political candidates across the Pacific Northwest.