Pete Cenarrusa, the longest serving state official in Idaho history, celebrated his 95th birthday Sunday.
The next day, he had a CT scan at St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute, under the care of Dr. Norman Zuckerman, Cenarrusa's oncologist.
"It (the treatment) showed real good progress," Cenarrusa told me Thursday morning. "It had metastasized into the liver, but the liver is clear now. So, it's looking good."
Cenarrusa completed three months of chemotherapy before the scan to treat his small-cell carcinoma of the lung.
He's scheduled for another scan in three months. Meanwhile, he's enjoying family and friends, including the 18 who joined him to celebrate his birthday lunch at Red Robin. He and his wife, Freda, will be at their Boise home for Christmas with family.
From February to May 2011, Cenarrusa had chemo treatment, which appeared successful, he said. "I had it beat down, but my cancer returned on me."
A Republican, Cenarrusa was elected to the Idaho House in 1950, serving until 1967 when he was appointed Secretary of State after the death of Edson Deal. Elected in his own right in 1970, he was re-elected in 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998. His longtime chief deputy, Ben Ysursa, was elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Cenarrusa phoned because he remembered I had a question about Basque history. His memory is better than mine.
He said he's worried about the country's fiscal woes. "I'm just upset that we're in a $16 trillion debt. It's just too bad."
But he's been following the doings in Washington, D.C., and sees hope for compromise between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on raising tax rates. Obama has said he'll accept a deal with higher income tax rates on income over $400,000, up from his earlier position of $250,000. Boehher has gone from opposing any increase to supporting higher rates to agreeing to higher rates for income over $1 million.
Said Cenarrusa: "There might be room to compromise at $500,000. And cut down some of the spending."
For those that know and love Pete, I'll add that his voice sounded strong and his head clear. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.