Shift sometimes features a “Friday Funny” to close the week. Often, given the ideas and activities coming from what passes for political leadership in our state, we have several stories to choose from.
However, laughter doesn’t come as easy today, and we could not let this week go by without acknowledging the passing of one of our state’s true leaders, State Senator Andy Hill. He was claimed by cancer on Monday, at the age of 54.
The deepest condolences from the Shift Team go out to his family – wife Molly, and their children Allie, Charlie and Katie. Their loss of a husband and father is beyond painful, and they deserve our prayers.
But regrets should also go out to the people of Washington, for what might have been.
Senator Hill’s passing has been sadly – and in a bi-partisan way – acknowledged by colleagues, constituents, and the media. But words from editorials in Olympia and Seattle captured the true loss for our state.
From the newspaper in the state capital, where Hill served the last six legislative sessions:
“State Sen. Andy Hill’s death this week was untimely and unfortunate. Certainly our state will miss him in 2017 when the Legislature needs all the smart budget writers it can find to navigate toward a K-12 school funding solution. Hill reminded us that good public servants seek a way to reach across the divide and solve problems. His death at age 54 delivered a posthumous lesson in this nasty election season from the even-keeled politician we won’t soon forget.”
Also poignant, from the state’s largest paper:
“The outpouring of affection and admiration from across the political spectrum for the late state Sen. Andy Hill shows the value and, unfortunately, the rarity of his style of leadership. Hill’s legacy includes the state’s historic increase in education spending — from prekindergarten expansion to college-tuition reduction — and his innovative strategy to dramatically reduce by 5,000 a yearslong waiting list for services for people with developmental disabilities.”
If you knew Andy, these words ring very true, and capture some of our feelings of loss. And if you didn’t, just consider how better off our state would be if we had more leaders in public office who fit the descriptions above of Andy Hill.
Both editorials concluded by showing much more alignment than the papers’ editorial boards usually show in their political endorsements.
The Times said simply, “He will be missed.”
The Olympian closed with something a little more poetic: “We can never tell the future with precision. But we can say this about the past: The Legislature was a better place with Andy Hill in it.”
Our only disagreement with that sentiment is it was a bit too narrow. From Shift’s perspective, our entire state was a better place with Andy Hill in it.