Published October 15, 2012
UPDATE 3 - Former Senate leader Snyder, a giant, diesBrad Shannon
Sid Snyder, the Long Beach supermarket owner who logged more than a half-century of time at the state Capitol in Olympia, has died at the age of 86. Snyder was a conservative Democrat who worked his way up from elevator operator to serve three terms in the Senate including as majority leader until he retired permanently in 2002. Former Democratic Sen. Lorraine Wojahn of Tacoma also has died, as our paper reported this morning. Go here for one biographical sketch of Snyder that includes a video tour of the Capitol after the 2001 earthquake and here for a chronology of the Kelso native’s life. Gov. Chris Gregoire, also a Democrat, was first to put out a statement this morning:
“Washington state government has lost one of its giants. Sid was unique and irreplaceable. Over the course of five decades, literally rising from his start as an elevator operator in the state Capitol, Sid set the standard for public service. He was humble, dedicated, a doer, world-class story teller and, above all, a family man. Sid was legendary for getting things done and for his never-failing courtesy and civility. He represented his district and the people of our state with principle, dignity and modesty. They just don't come any finer than Sid Snyder. “Mike and I send our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Bette, his family and legions of friends.”Snyder’s name is already emblazoned on the short stretch of 14th Avenue that leads to the south side of the Legislative Building from Olympia‘s Capitol Way. He was replaced by Sen. Lisa Brown as Democratic after he chose to retire. I'm out of the office but expect statements full of compliments from other politicians to pour in today. Updated to add link above to news report about Wojahn. UPDATES: A good account of Snyder’s life is <a href="http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=9088http://www.theolympian.com/2012/10/15/2286097/former-senate-leader-snyder-a.html" target="_blank"><b> here at HistoryLink. </b></a> Three Democratic senators - Lisa Brown of Spokane, Mary Margaret Haugen of Camano Island and Brian Hatfield of Raymond, who holds Snyder's former seat in the 19th district - also put out a statement: Washington state has lost one of its greatest leaders and we have lost a friend and mentor. The guidance of Sid Snyder helped shape the course of our lives, but more importantly, it provided support and leadership for the people of Washington. His vision and his skills of compromise helped bridge partisan gaps and get things done for the betterment of his district and his state while providing a steady hand on the caucus during challenging times. He was a great man and a great public servant and we will miss him tremendously. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife, Bette, who was such a part of everything he did, and his children. UPDATE 2: House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt of Chehalis, Senate Ways and Means chairman Ed Murray, D-Seattle, Sen. Debbie Regala, D-Tacoma, Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, and Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, were among others putting out comments today. DeBolt told members in an email: "With the passing of our former colleague, Sen. Sid Snyder, we have lost an esteemed figure in the institutional heritage of Washingtons Legislature. On behalf of the House Republican Caucus, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his friends and family. Sid was already a respected veteran and patriarch of the Legislature when I arrived in 1997. From elevator operator to Senate Majority Leaders, he served as a steward of decorum and integrity in Olympia. He will be remembered as the consummate statesman. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bette and the Snyder family." UPDATE 3: I just heard from Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, who was shocked to hear of both legislators' deaths. Fraser said she served with both and that each as a giant in the legislative process.> Fraser said Snyder: "He was a total expert on the complex rules of the Senate and Legislature. Once in a while he could pull out a rule you'd never heard of to make something happen or not happen." She said Wojahn was president pro tem in the Senate for quite a few years. "She was another giant in the Senate. a woman of great principle, great character, great intelligence .... She was famous for fighting hard and remembering for years who voted on bills."