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Dirk Kempthorne

Dirk Kempthorne

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Dirk Arthur Kempthorne was the U.S. Secretary of the Interior
United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior.The US Department of the Interior should not be confused with the concept of Ministries of the Interior as used in other countries...

, who served under President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 from 2006 to 2009. A Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, Kempthorne previously served as the 30th Governor and as a U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

. He is reportedly exploring a bid for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

.

Kempthorne was first elected to public office as mayor of Boise
Boise, Idaho
Boise is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Idaho, as well as the county seat of Ada County. Located on the Boise River, it anchors the Boise City-Nampa metropolitan area and is the largest city between Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon.As of the 2010 Census Bureau,...

 in 1985, where he served for seven years. According to The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, over the course of his career in public service, Kempthorne established a reputation as "a personable leader with a strong understanding of issues."

Kempthorne is notable for his conservative
American conservatism
Conservatism in the United States has played an important role in American politics since the 1950s. Historian Gregory Schneider identifies several constants in American conservatism: respect for tradition, support of republicanism, preservation of "the rule of law and the Christian religion", and...

 views, particularly on economic issues.

Kempthorne serves as a co-chair of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center
Bipartisan Policy Center
The is a non-profit organization that "drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation, and respectful dialogue." Founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell, "BPC combines politically-balanced policymaking...

.

Early life, education, and early career


Kempthorne was raised in San Bernardino
San Bernardino, California
San Bernardino is a city located in the Riverside-San Bernardino metropolitan area , and serves as the county seat of San Bernardino County, California, United States...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. Kempthorne attended and graduated from San Gorgonio High School
San Gorgonio High School
San Gorgonio High School is a comprehensive senior high school in the San Bernardino City Unified School District. Its campus is located at the corner of Pacific Street and Arden Avenue on the border between San Bernardino and Highland, California.-Alumni:...

 in San Bernardino. He attended San Bernardino Valley College
San Bernardino Valley College
San Bernardino Valley College is a community college located in San Bernardino, California. It is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The two-year college has an enrollment of approximately 25,000 students and covers...

, then transferred to the University of Idaho
University of Idaho
The University of Idaho is the State of Idaho's flagship and oldest public university, located in the rural city of Moscow in Latah County in the northern portion of the state...

, where he graduated in 1975 with a degree in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, and served a term as student body president
Students' union
A students' union, student government, student senate, students' association, guild of students or government of student body is a student organization present in many colleges and universities, and has started appearing in some high schools...

. Upon graduation Kempthorne served as an assistant to the director of the Idaho Department of Lands and then as executive vice president of the Idaho Home Builders Association.

In 1982, Kempthorne managed the gubernatorial campaign for Lt. Gov. Phil Batt
Phil Batt
Philip Eugene Batt was the 29th Governor of Idaho from 1995 to 1999.Batt was an onion and hops farmer from Wilder...

, who lost to the incumbent Democrat, Governor John V. Evans
John V. Evans
John Victor Evans, Sr. was the 27th Governor of Idaho from 1977–87. He is a member of the Democratic Party.Evans was elected to the Idaho Senate in 1952 and re-elected in 1954 and 1956, serving as majority leader in his final term. In 1960, Evans became mayor of Malad City and served in that...

. In 1983 Kempthorne became state public affairs manager for FMC Corporation.

Kempthorne and his wife, Patricia Kempthorne
Patricia Kempthorne
Patricia Kempthorne was the First Lady of Idaho and the wife of Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. Mrs. Kempthorne was Idaho's first lady from 1999 until 2006. As first lady she was active in issues affecting children and families in Idaho and took the lead in assisting state government with children's policy....

, also a UI graduate, have two adult children, Heather and Jeff.

Kempthorne is of Cornish
Cornish people
The Cornish are a people associated with Cornwall, a county and Duchy in the south-west of the United Kingdom that is seen in some respects as distinct from England, having more in common with the other Celtic parts of the United Kingdom such as Wales, as well as with other Celtic nations in Europe...

 ancestry.

Mayor



Kempthorne's first major political victory came at age 34, when he was elected mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 of Boise
Boise, Idaho
Boise is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Idaho, as well as the county seat of Ada County. Located on the Boise River, it anchors the Boise City-Nampa metropolitan area and is the largest city between Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon.As of the 2010 Census Bureau,...

 in 1985. As mayor, Kempthorne became very popular and was unopposed for reelection in 1989.

U.S. Senate


In 1992, U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Steve Symms
Steve Symms
Steven Douglas Symms was a four-term congressman and two-term U.S. senator from Idaho. He was among the most conservative members of the Republican Party...

 decided not to seek a third term and Kempthorne pursued the Republican nomination for the seat. In the general election, Kempthorne defeated Democratic Congressman
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 Richard H. Stallings
Richard H. Stallings
Richard Howard Stallings represented the Idaho Second District in the House of Representatives from 1985 to 1993. Stallings also served in several other state and local political offices over the course of a 22-year political career.Stallings earned degrees from Weber State College, Utah State...

. In the Senate, Kempthorne sponsored and helped pass a bill meant to prohibit Congress from imposing unfunded federal mandates on states.

During his six years in the Senate, Kempthorne scored a "0" on the League of Conservation Voters' legislative scorecards every year except 1993, when he scored 6 percent on the basis of one vote against funding a rocket booster for the space program that environmentalists judged harmful to the environment. His overall LCV score for that period was less than 1%.

Kempthorne was expected to run for reelection in 1998, but instead decided to run for the open seat for governor. The incumbent, Phil Batt
Phil Batt
Philip Eugene Batt was the 29th Governor of Idaho from 1995 to 1999.Batt was an onion and hops farmer from Wilder...

, elected in 1994, shocked the state by announcing his retirement after only one term in office. Kempthorne's Senate seat would be won by Republican Mike Crapo
Mike Crapo
Michael Dean "Mike" Crapo is the senior United States Senator from the state of Idaho and a member of the Republican Party.Born in the city of Idaho Falls, Crapo is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Harvard Law School. He practiced law in his home city throughout the 1980s, while...

.

Governor


Kempthorne won the gubernatorial election in a landslide, receiving 68 percent of the vote while his Democratic opponent, Robert C. Huntley, received only 29 percent. He was reelected in 2002 with 56 percent of the vote, compared to his Democratic opponent, Jerry Brady
Jerry Brady
Jerry Michael Brady is an Idaho politician and owns a newspaper that is distributed in southeast Idaho...

, who polled 42 percent. Kempthorne's campaign spent nearly $200,000 more than it had received in contributions prior to the election; he spent the next two years raising funds to pay off the campaign debt.

Secretary of the Interior


On March 16, 2006, Kempthorne was nominated by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 to replace Gale Norton
Gale Norton
Gale Ann Norton served as the 48th United States Secretary of the Interior from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush...

 as the 49th Secretary of the Interior
United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior.The US Department of the Interior should not be confused with the concept of Ministries of the Interior as used in other countries...

. On May 10, 2006, Kempthorne's nomination was approved by voice vote by the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
The United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has jurisdiction over matters related to energy and nuclear waste policy, territorial policy, native Hawaiian matters, and public lands....

. He was confirmed by the full Senate on May 26, and resigned as governor to accept the position the same day. Lieutenant Governor Jim Risch
Jim Risch
James Elroy "Jim" Risch is a Republican politician, rancher, and attorney from Ada County, currently serving as the junior United States Senator from Idaho. He previously served as Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Idaho.-Early life:Risch was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin...

 succeeded Kempthorne as governor, filling out remaining months of the term. Kempthorne is the second Idahoan to hold the Cabinet post. Former Governor Cecil Andrus
Cecil D. Andrus
Cecil Dale Andrus was an American politician who served as Governor of Idaho from 1971 to 1977, and again from 1987 to 1995; and in Washington as United States Secretary of the Interior from 1977 to 1981, during the Carter administration...

 was the Secretary of the Interior under President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, serving from 1977 to 1981.

Upon Kempthorne's appointment as Secretary of the Interior, environmental groups characterized him as someone who has "almost always favored changing laws like the Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

 and the Safe Drinking Water Act
Safe Drinking Water Act
The Safe Drinking Water Act is the principle federal law in the United States intended to ensure safe drinking water for the public. Pursuant to the act, the Environmental Protection Agency is required to set standards for drinking water quality and oversee all states, localities, and water...

 to make them more favorable to commercial interests."

As Secretary of the Interior, Kempthorne was criticized for not placing any plants or animals on the federal endangered species list since his confirmation on May 26, 2006. As of September 2007, Kempthorne held the record for protecting fewer species over his tenure than any Interior Secretary in United States history, a record previously held by James G. Watt
James G. Watt
James Gaius Watt served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior for President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1983.-Early life and career:...

 for over 20 years.

In December 2007, as a result of a long-term investigation and resignation of former Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie MacDonald
Julie MacDonald
Julie A. MacDonald is a former deputy assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the United States Department of the Interior...

, Inspector General Earl Devaney
Earl Devaney
Earl E. Devaney is the current Inspector General for the United States Department of the Interior. He has served in this position since 1999.-Professional career: began his career in law enforcement in 1968 as a Massachusetts police officer...

 found "abrupt and abrasive, if not abusive" management at the department under Kempthorne's supervision. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, attributed the "untold waste of hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars" to MacDonald's actions. Of the department, Representative Nick J. Rahall II, chairman of the House Natural Resources said "The results of this investigation paint a picture of something akin to a secret society residing within the Interior Department that was colluding to undermine the protection of endangered wildlife and covering for one another’s misdeeds.”

In September 2008, Devaney reported wrongdoing by current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service
Minerals Management Service
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement , formerly known as the Minerals Management Service , was an agency of the United States Department of the Interior that managed the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf...

, an agency under Kempthorne's administration that collects about $10 billion in oil and gas royalties annually, and one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes. According to the New York Times, "Eight officials in the royalty program accepted gifts from energy companies whose value exceeded limits set by ethics rules—including golf, ski and paintball outings; meals and drinks; and tickets to a Toby Keith concert, a Houston Texans football game and a Colorado Rockies baseball game.... The investigation also concluded that several of the officials "frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives." The New York Times reports a whistle blower officially complained about the wrongdoings in the spring of 2006, prior to Kempthorne's being sworn into the office.
On December 16, 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity based in Tucson, Arizona, is a nonprofit membership organization with approximately 220,000 members and online activists, known for its work protecting endangered species through legal action and scientific petitions...

 announced intent to sue the Interior Department under Kempthorne for introducing "regulations... that would eviscerate our nation’s most successful wildlife law by exempting thousands of federal activities, including those that generate greenhouse gases, from review under the Endangered Species Act." The lawsuit, which is critical of policy advocated by Kempthorne and President George W. Bush, was filed in the Northern District of California by the CBD, Greenpeace
Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

 and Defenders of Wildlife
Defenders of Wildlife
Defenders of Wildlife is a United States-based, 501 non-profit organization founded in 1947, "dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities." The organization is active in political interventions and lobbying aimed at protection of wildlife, and...

. According to the CBD, "The lawsuit argues that the regulations violate the Endangered Species Act and did not go through the required public review process. The regulations, first proposed on August 11th, were rushed by the Bush administration through an abbreviated process in which more than 300,000 comments from the public were reviewed in 2-3 weeks, and environmental impacts were analyzed in a short and cursory environmental assessment, rather than a fuller environmental impact statement."

In 2009, CNN correspondent Campbell Brown
Campbell Brown
Campbell Brown is an American television news reporter and anchor. She previously hosted an eponymous primetime show on CNN and was formerly co-anchor of NBC's Weekend Today...

 criticized Kempthorne for using "$235,000 of your money to renovate his office bathroom at the Department of Interior." According to Brown, the costs included a shower, a refrigerator, and a freezer hidden behind lavish wood paneling, as well as "DK" monogrammed towels. Donald Swain, Chief of the Interior Department's National Business Center said the towels do not exist. He further says the project came in $10,000 under budget and was approved by the General Services Administration.

External links