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WHAT’S AHEAD FOR ANDRUS? WRITING, THINKING, FISHING

SHARE WHAT’S AHEAD FOR ANDRUS? WRITING, THINKING, FISHING

He's toying with writing an autobiography, establishing a think tank in Idaho and talking about spending more time with his shotgun and fly rod.

But Gov. Cecil Andrus, elected by Idahoans a record four times, isn't saying what kind of work he plans to do after he leaves office Jan. 2. He didn't run for re-election, and Republican Phil Batt will succeed him after defeating Attorney General Larry EchoHawk in the general election.Andrus, 63, said he is neither old enough nor financially ready to retire. An avid hunter and fisherman, he joked he had stocked his freezer with enough game to survive the winter unemployed.

"I'm going to be a private citizen on Jan. 2," Andrus said in an interview. "What I will do is work part-time, perhaps on a board or commission here or there, or on special projects."

Andrus will close a 30-year political career when Batt takes the oath of office.

Defeated for governor in 1966, Andrus won in 1970 and again in 1974. Two years later, President Carter selected Andrus as his Interior secretary. Andrus returned to the Statehouse by winning the 1986 election and won his final term in 1990.

Former aides are telling Andrus his life as a self-described "lumberjack who was a political accident" would make a good book. A couple of chapters, notably a section on Andrus' work to pass the Alaska Lands Bill, have been roughed out.

"I think it's going to be a book that will be highly readable, not a political science text by any means, but the kind of book a person with even a casual interest in politics will find enjoyable and interesting," said Andrus' former chief of staff, Marc Johnson.

But Andrus questions whether his reminiscences would be marketable.

"My mother has passed away. Mom would have bought many copies," Andrus said. "But I'm not sure that other than my close friends, you could sell 1,000 copies and it takes many thousands of copies to make it financially feasible. Today, to be a best seller, you've got to have sex and violence and that doesn't go much with my fly rod. There's a little violence with my shotgun and my rifle."

The governor is moving forward with plans to endow The Andrus Center for Public Policy to be housed at Boise State University. Earlier this year, Johnson helped arrange tax-exempt status. National figures will serve on its board of governors and Andrus will serve as chairman.

Johnson declined to say how much money will be sought.

"There are a lot of people who will be interested in seeing to it that he has an adequate forum to continue to be involved in public policy issues," Johnson said.

Andrus will draw no income from the enterprise, but it will provide him with a forum on the natural resource issues that have dominated his career.

"Too many political people in the past have used something like that to channel salary and wages to them," Andrus said. "There is zero of that in this."

Andrus still has a few weeks in office and several major addresses to deliver.

One will be made to the American Nuclear Society at Salt Lake City on Wednesday, and one to the Intermountain Forest Industry Association at Coeur d'Alene on Thursday.

"It's fair to say (the speeches) will be personal in some respect but global in others," said Andrus press secretary Scott Peyron.