Senator’s sayonara too soon

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Hilde Kellogg served in the Idaho Legislature for 20 of her 92 years, but it felt like only a term or two.

John Goedde, a Senate education titan, logged 14 years in Boise that seemed more like 14 weeks.

And Frank Henderson, that old worthy, capped a lifetime of service with 10 lightning-quick years as a superb Post Falls representative.

When you get a great North Idaho legislator, it seems they’re here and gone just like that, because you wish they could serve your great state forever.

How time flies in the face of excellence.

And so it is probably fitting that we bid adieu to Shawn Keough so soon after she took office. The Sandpoint Republican announced early that she’s not going to seek re-election next spring. November 2018 will be Keough’s first Thanksgiving unfettered by massive state responsibilities. One of the wisest, hardest-working and kindest legislators will have served a mere blink of the eye; in other words, 22 years. It just doesn’t seem possible that she’ll step away as the longest-serving female senator in Idaho history.

Vowing to keep working for her constituents until the last minute of the last day of her term, Keough made another significant pledge: That she’s backing Jim Woodward of Sandpoint to take her place.

“Jim is a second-generation resident of our area, attended our public schools, graduated from the University of Idaho and served our country in the United States Navy,” Keough told the Bonner County Daily Bee. “Jim is a small business owner, his wife, Brenda, teaches in our public schools and they are raising their family here. Jim’s deep roots in our area and his commitment to our North Idaho values coupled with his background and service to our country give him the experience needed to represent us in the Idaho State Senate.”

That kind of endorsement well ahead of the May 2018 primary will give Woodward a major boost, and plenty of time to make the kind of impression on others that he has on Keough. But let’s be clear about something right up front: Nobody’s going to fill Shawn Keough’s shoes.

And to think she was just getting started.

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