BOISE (AP) — Gov. Brad Little has responded to President Donald Trump’s call for a “National Garden of American Heroes” by not only suggesting nearly two dozen people, but also offering Idaho as a potential monument site.
The Republican governor in a letter last week to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said Idaho is a geographically diverse state, and he’d be happy to work with the Trump administration to find a good spot.
Little’s list includes Idaho potato baron J.R. Simplot.
Idaho has “incredible mountain ranges, vast high mountain deserts, and lush forests,” Little wrote. “I am open to Idaho being the recipient of the national monument and memorial.”
Trump in early July issued an executive order on Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes, and in a speech at Mount Rushmore described it as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans who ever lived.”
Trump’s idea came as elected officials and institutions are reckoning with whether it is appropriate to continue to honor people, including past presidents, who benefited from slavery or espoused racist views, with monuments or buildings and streets named after them.
Little said his list is comprised of “Idahoans who showcase the very best of what makes Idaho so special.”
Little offered 21 names, also including Kootenai Tribe member Amy Trice, entrepreneur Harry Magnuson, astronaut Barbara Morgan, women’s rights advocate Sally Reed, writer and naturalist Robert Limbert, Olympic gold medalist Gretchen Fraser, writer Carol Ryrie Brink, suffragist Abigail Scott Duniway, civil rights advocate and one of the first Latino Idaho lawmakers Jesse Berain, architect Arthur Troutner, human rights advocate Bill Wassmuth, Coeur d’Alene Tribe member Joseph Garry, Idaho state seal artist and suffragist Emma Edwards Green, human rights advocate Marilyn Shuler, grocery store pioneer Joe Albertson, opera soprano Cecelia Violetta Lopez, bus line entrepreneur Adolfo James Achabal, former U.S. Mint Director and Idaho lawmaker Mary Thomas Brooks, civil rights advocate Idaho Purce and Vernon Baker, one of the first black men to receive the Medal of Honor for service in World War II.
At least three counties also responded to Trump’s call for the monument.
Custer County Commissioner Steven Smith wrote to Bernhardt that “Names that come up that are high in our minds around here,” include President Trump. Trump was No. 6 on the list, with Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe getting the top spot. He was followed by Sacagawea, the duo of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Elmer Keith, an Idaho rancher, writer and firearms enthusiast.
Smith also suggested the small central Idaho town of Stanley as a potential site for the monument.
Minidoka County commissioners also wrote to Bernhardt, not suggesting any potential heroes and noting the area was unsuitable for the monument: “We are a small rural farming community, and therefore not a potential location where this wonderful park would best be considered for development.”
Owyhee County Commission Chairman Jerry Hoagland said his community needed more time to suggest potential heroes. He didn’t recommend any areas in the county as a possible monument site, noting the county has no large population center and “significant numbers of visitors to sites within our county would very likely cause significant disruption to the local community.”
A Trump task force is working on the monument plan that the executive order states will open before July 4, 2026.