Executive Director’s Notebook: So Long Dear Friend

WGA News

By Jim Ogsbury

Earlier this month, the Western Governors’ Association lost a valued partner, powerful benefactor, and great friend. John Freemuth, the executive director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, died suddenly of a heart attack on May 2.

John’s impressive resume was matched by his countless accomplishments and outsized influence. With a Ph.D. in public and environmental policy and public administration from Colorado State University, John held the Cecil D. Andrus endowed chair for environment and public lands at Boise State until his untimely death. The author of several books and academic articles, John frequently moderated forums and panel discussions hosted by WGA. His support and cooperation were instrumental to the successful launch of WGA’s Working Lands Roundtable in 2018.

John had an unusually keen understanding of the nuances of resource policymaking in the West.  He knew that successful solutions to complex challenges require an interdisciplinary approach, as well as cross-jurisdictional and cross-boundary cooperation.  He also understood that meaningful progress on environmental issues was dependent on the influence of actors willing to transcend narrow political interests to do the right thing.

Moreover, John was just a great guy.  He was thoughtful, sharp, and fun, and his friendship enriched my life and the lives of so many others within the orbit of WGA.

Happy trails to you, John.  Until we meet again.

Read more about John Freemuth's life in the Idaho Statesman.

Jim Ogsbury is the Executive Director of the Western Governors' Association. Contact him at 303-623-9378 or send an email. Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

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