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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of May 1 - 7, 2002


Governor stresses education, economy and environment

Express Staff Writer

Idahoís governor said last week that his job isnít done, and four more years in the governorís office will allow him to continue championing education, economic development and the environment.

"Now that Iíve been here for four years, weíve made real progress, but the jobís not done yet," Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne said in an interview at the Sun Valley Inn last week. "I want to stay and continue the effort. Itís in a variety of areas."

Kempthorne is running as an incumbent in the May 28 primary election against Walter Bays of Wilder, Milt Erhart of Boise and Raynell George of Lewiston.

The governor was quick to announce that his primary platform issue is achieving quality educational opportunities for Idahoís children.

"We will continue our efforts on education so that our children receive as fine an education as any state in the union," he said. "In many areas we can be trend setters."

And though Idahoís GOP legislators came under fire last winter for instituting education cuts, Kempthorne said he has helped orchestrate four years of successes in Idahoís schools.

As an example, he referred to the high number of teachers with masterís degrees in Idaho who are receiving $2,000 annual bonuses for the next five years.

And he pointed out that even failures are successes, "because we learn from them."

The second platform issue he highlighted was economic development, and he pointed to more successes during his administration as examples of what he can help achieve in another four years.

"In this recession, only two states in the union actually showed a 1 percent or better growth in jobs: Florida and Idaho. Thatís a pretty good record."

He said state grants, through the Governorís Rural Economic Development Initiative, will continue, and he stressed the role he played in getting the Mexican Modelo Brewery to schedule construction of malting facilities in Idaho Falls.

Modello, manufacturer of Corona and Pacifico, "will build a 65 million malting facility next door to Anheuser-Busch in Idaho Falls, and Anheuser-Busch will double their facilities. So, weíre talking well over $50 million each and every (succeeding) year of malt (barley) contracts with the farmers."

Those expansions to Idaho Fallsí economy were direct results of state trade missions to Mexico, Kempthorne said.

On the environment, Kempthorne said he is very proud of several accomplishments.

The Lemhi Project near Salmon will help revamp irrigation systems.

"We believe there are tributaries that have been dry for years that will now be re-watered," he said.

He added that, on his watch, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Fish and Game Commission are designating critical habitat for upland game birds.

"We feel like we can bring back significant populations of those birds," he said.

In a nutshell, he said his record speaks for itself on education, rural economic development and on environmental issues.

"Thereís so much more to be done, but weíre building on some solid results," he said.

Idahoís most prized asset is its people, he said.

"So often, when people visit Idaho, and theyíre attracted to the natural beauty of Idaho, thatís what brings them here, but they just canít believe how wonderful the people are: genuine and friendly and accommodating."

In summary, he said: "Itís a tremendous honor to be working for the people of Idaho. You can take peopleís ideas and hopes and make them become something, so I want to continue with that."


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.