Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s selection to lead the Idaho Department of Insurance is no stranger to state government, public service and private sector leadership.
Gary Smith, a long-time senior aide to Gov. Kempthorne, was named as the new director of the Department of Insurance following the announcement by Insurance Director Mary Hartung of her plans to retire on Nov. 30.
“Gary is uniquely qualified to carry out the mission of the Idaho Department of Insurance by effectively, efficiently and equitably administering the Idaho Insurance Code and the Uniform Fire Code,” Kempthorne said. “Gary has a long history of proud service to the people of Idaho. Throughout his public service and his professional life, one of Gary’s strengths has been his ability to work with people. He will be a great asset to the Department, and will continue the fine tradition of Mary Hartung and the dedicated employees of the Department of Insurance.”
Over the past 12 years, Smith has advised Kempthorne on insurance policy issues during his terms as Governor of the State of Idaho and as a United States Senator. Most recently, while Kempthorne chaired the National Governor’s Association, Smith served as Idaho’s principal liaison to the NGA and Congress where Gov. Kempthorne focused the attention of the nation’s governors on the critical issue of long-term care.
Smith has served as Gov. Kempthorne’s deputy chief of staff for three-and-a-half years. In this capacity, he has had the responsibilities of directing the Governor’s Policy Advisors, providing oversight for all state agencies, and coordinating intergovernmental issues with cities, counties, other states, and the federal government.
During Kempthorne’s service as a United States Senator, Smith spent six years in Washington, D.C. as the Senator’s deputy legislative director where he advised the Senator on policy issues related to small businesses, as well as all financial and regulatory issues including insurance and banking.
Smith first entered public service when he was elected to the Boise City Council in 1987. In 1990, he was named administrative assistant to then-Boise Mayor Dirk Kempthorne. From 1978 to 1990, Smith served as the vice president and general manager of The Mode Ltd. in downtown Boise where he managed all aspects of that retail business with more than 100 employees.
Smith begins his service as director of the Idaho Department of Insurance on Dec. 1.
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