Flags Fly At Half Staff To Honor Idaho's Helen Chenoweth-Hage
(Note: There are two articles contained herein.)
October 3, 2006
By Scott Logan firstname.lastname@example.org
140 North 16th Street
Boise, Idaho 83702
Boise, Idaho - From the tips of her boots up to the blue collar of her denim shirt, Helen Chenoweth-Hage approached every issue from a uniquely Western perspective.
Many loved her, others hated her.
Who can forget that rude protester who splattered Congressman Chenoweth with rotten salmon at a Montana hearing in 2000 -- an incident she handled with humor and grace.
"She didn't want to stop the hearing," remembers daughter Meg Chenoweth Keenan. "She said, 'let's keep going with the hearing.'"
Nobody in Idaho was indifferent about this Sagebrush Republican rebel, who died at age 68 in a one-car accident Monday in Nevada.
Years ago we asked her why that was. "I really don't know," she said in 1996. "I find that much of what is said about me by the opposition is untrue."
Now, as they cope with her sudden death, Chenoweth-Hage's daughter and son say the truth about their mom is simple.
"She was a very real person, very genuine," said daughter Meg. "What you saw was really Helen Chenoweth. She had real passions,real loves, and she knew where all that came from."
Chenoweth-Hage called for the disarming of federal resource agents in 1995 after claiming that they had landed black helicopters on private land in eastern Idaho to enforce the Endangered Species Act. The claim drew national criticism, and she later conceded she had never personally seen the now-infamous gunships.
When elected to Congress in 1994, she promised to serve only three terms -- and kept her word -- although she compared it to jumping from a moving train.
"It was hard for her to jump," said her son, Mike Chenoweth. "Her constituents didn't want her to jump, they wanted her re-elected. But she promised, and so she jumped off that train."
"She was very clear, very straight up with voters," said Governor Jim Risch. "A lot of people didn't agree with her on things, but they always knew where she stood."
Helen Chenoweth-Hage lost her husband Wayne to illness in June, then her sister Charlene passed away in August. But her children say faith got their mom through rough times.
"My mother did not fear dying," said Meg. "She knew she would step from this life into the next one."
Helen Chenoweth-Hage will be buried at a private service on her Nevada ranch. A public memorial service will be held October 9 at 2 p.m. at the Capital Christian Center at 2760 East Fairview Avenue, Meridian, Idaho.
Copyright 2006, KBCITV.com.
Political colleagues remember Chenoweth-Hage
October 3, 2006
By Adam Atchison
P.O. Box 7
Boise, ID 83707
800-559-7277 or 208-375-7277
Boise, Idaho - A fatal accident near her Nevada ranch Monday afternoon took the life of a longtime Idaho politician.
Helen Chenoweth-Hage was the passenger, her 24-year old daughter-in-law, Yelena Hage the driver in the deadly accident.
Sitting on Chenoweth-Hage's lap was her five-month old grandson Bryan.
The Nevada Highway Patrol says the family was headed to Tonopah, a small Nevada town 63 miles from the family's Pine Creek ranch.
Chenoweth-Hage and her family had already made 51 miles of the trip.
Officers believe inattentive driving was the cause of the crash.
It’s believe Yelena drifted off the highway, but overcorrected, causing the Ford Expedition to flip.
Chenoweth-Hage and her grandson were ejected from the SUV. She and the baby were not wearing seatbelts.
The baby was flown to a Reno hospital, but only suffered scratches and bruises.
Yelena was also taken to the hospital but is doing well.
Chenoweth-Hage died at the scene.
NewsChannel 7 talked with her daughter Meg Keenan and she sent us this statement:
"Helen was the most amazing, gracious person I ever had the privilege to know. She was fearless in life, and I know she welcomes the opportunity to be in the presence of God the Father."
The family is making burial plans, and while they are still finalizing details, they expect to have some sort of memorial in Boise.
There was reaction to the death of Chenoweth-Hage from Idaho to Washington.
Those who knew her and worked with her say Idaho has lost a political icon.
“When the name Helen Chenoweth was mentioned around the country, you didn't really have to say who she was. People knew her,” said Dr. Jim Weatherby.
Helen Chenoweth-Hage made a name for herself in Idaho politics over 30 years ago. A former director of the state Republican Party, Chenoweth-Hage served went on to serve on campaigns, and in Congress from 1994 to 2000, a six-year term limit promise she made before taking office.
“When the six years were up, she could have easily been reelected, she could have easily carried on, but she said ‘No, I made that promise and I'm going to stick with that promise,’” said Governor Jim Risch.
Her friends and colleagues say she also stuck to her guns on the issues. A controversial and colorful politician who gained national attention by holding "endangered salmon bakes" and was at the front of the charge against Bill Clinton during the White House scandal.
“I'm sure that you can find on cars even today slogans either pro or con as it comes to Helen Chenoweth. She was a real lightening rod,” said Weatherby, but loved by many as well.
Chenoweth-Hage never lost an election.
“Helen's one of those people that will always be with Idahoans,” said Rep. Butch Otter.
Otter replaced Chenoweth-Hage in Congress.
“When they'd say 'now who did you replace in Congress?' And I'd say 'Helen Chenoweth.' And they'd always have some comment like, 'One tough lady,'” said Otter.
“She had a great love for America and the state of Idaho. She brought a passion and energy to the issues that will be greatly missed by everyone,” said Risch.
“It's a loss to her friends and her family and I think it's the end of a very significant chapter in Idaho politics,” said Weatherby.
Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo called her a devoted public servant, saying there will never be another like her.
Reporter Ysabel Bilbao contributed to this report.
Copyright 2006, KTVB.com.