Andy Hill
Andy Hill reflects after speaking at the dedication of Jackson Roos Memorial Field at Redmond Ridge Park on Oct. 4, 2013. (Photo: Simon Puttick/Redmond North Little League)

A key fig­ure in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate’s Repub­li­can cau­cus has died after bat­tling a recur­rence of lung can­cer, his col­leagues and fam­i­ly divulged today.

Sen­a­tor Andy Hill (R‑45th Dis­trict: Red­mond, Kirk­land, Sam­mamish, Wood­inville, Duvall) has been the Sen­ate’s chief bud­get writer since late 2012. He assumed the chair­man­ship of the Sen­ate Ways & Means Com­mit­tee fol­low­ing Rod­ney Tom and Tim Shel­don’s defec­tion to the Repub­li­can Par­ty four years ago, which result­ed in Democ­rats becom­ing a minor­i­ty in the Sen­ate despite hav­ing been elect­ed to a major­i­ty by the vot­ers of Wash­ing­ton State in the 2012 elections.

Hill was first elect­ed to the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate in 2010, defeat­ing Eric Oemig, and was nar­row­ly reelect­ed in 2014 to a sec­ond four-year term, over­com­ing a chal­lenge from Navy vet­er­an Matt Isen­how­er. A physics major, Andy was a pro­gram man­ag­er at Microsoft before becom­ing involved in PTSA and Lake Wash­ing­ton Youth Soccer/Crossfire. Togeth­er with his wife Mol­ly, he has three children.

“In 2008, he was diag­nosed with lung can­cer, despite nev­er hav­ing smoked,” not­ed a pub­lic let­ter post­ed on Hill’s cam­paign web­site acknowl­edg­ing his death, put togeth­er by his good friend and col­league Joe Fain.

“Beat­ing all the odds and through the use of a cut­ting-edge can­cer treat­ment, Andy man­aged the dis­ease for years liv­ing can­cer free. With the new per­spec­tive of hav­ing come so close to death, Andy leaned fur­ther into com­mu­ni­ty service.”

Sad­ly, Andy’s can­cer came back, and has now tak­en his life.

Andy was my state sen­a­tor, and I enjoyed inter­act­ing with him, despite our very dif­fer­ent polit­i­cal views. Our last sub­stan­tive con­ver­sa­tion, which I remem­ber fond­ly, took place last March, when I was in Olympia for the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court’s oral argu­ment in Lee v. State, the case against Tim Eyman’s I‑1366.

(I‑1366 was Eyman’s scheme to wipe out $8 bil­lion in sales tax fund­ing over six years unless the Leg­is­la­ture agreed to change the state’s Con­sti­tu­tion to make it impos­si­ble to raise rev­enue with­out a two-thirds vote.)

At the time, Andy was work­ing on try­ing to fin­ish nego­ti­at­ing the sup­ple­men­tal bud­get, while I had just fin­ished live­blog­ging the goings-on at the Tem­ple of Jus­tice. After hear­ing what I’d been up to, Andy opined that he felt cer­tain the Supreme Court would strike I‑1366 down — a view long held by the team here at NPI. And a few weeks lat­er, the Court did exact­ly that, ren­der­ing a unan­i­mous ver­dict declar­ing the ini­tia­tive uncon­sti­tu­tion­al in its entirety.

What stood out to me dur­ing that con­ver­sa­tion were Andy’s per­cep­tive and con­fi­dent com­ments. He had clear­ly read up on the ini­tia­tive, ana­lyzed its defects, and con­clud­ed that it would not hold up in the courts.

I was glad to hear his take on the case, for it demon­strat­ed that he under­stood the incred­i­bly destruc­tive con­se­quences of I‑1366’s implementation.

After we wrapped up our dis­cus­sion, I found myself wish­ing he had been part of our cam­paign against I‑1366 only a few months pri­or. I would have enjoyed cam­paign­ing along­side him to defeat that awful initiative.

Last year, Andy was encour­aged to run against Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee by a num­ber of well known Repub­li­cans, includ­ing the dis­tin­guished Sam Reed, but he demurred, and for good rea­sons, choos­ing to put his fam­i­ly and per­son­al health first.

Today, Gov­er­nor Inslee was one of the first to react to news of Hill’s pass­ing, stat­ing: “I am deeply sad­dened to hear of the pass­ing of Sen­a­tor Andy Hill. Tru­di and I extend our con­do­lences to Mol­ly, their three chil­dren, and Andy’s fam­i­ly and friends. Sen­a­tor Hill was ded­i­cat­ed leg­is­la­tor who served with dis­tinc­tion. He was a strong cham­pi­on for edu­ca­tion and a com­pas­sion­ate advo­cate for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. His voice in Olympia will be missed.”

“Andy was a strong advo­cate for his East King Coun­ty dis­trict,” added King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine in a state­ment on behalf of King Coun­ty. “I am grate­ful for his work to expand access to cul­tur­al pro­grams and secure ded­i­cat­ed fund­ing for pub­lic health. He leaves a lega­cy of com­pas­sion and prag­ma­tism, and we at King Coun­ty offer con­do­lences to his fam­i­ly and friends.”

“Andy Hill embod­ied what it means to be a pub­lic ser­vant,” said Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son. “He was a plea­sure to work with, both pro­fes­sion­al­ly and per­son­al­ly. Andy’s ded­i­ca­tion to hard work and mas­tery of detail result­ed in a thor­ough and thought­ful approach to pol­i­cy. His inde­pen­dence and com­mit­ment to the state of Wash­ing­ton made col­lab­o­rat­ing with him down­right enjoy­able. My heart goes out to Andy’s wife Mol­ly and their three chil­dren as they grieve this enor­mous loss.”

“We are heart­bro­ken by the pass­ing of a true ser­vant leader and exem­plary father, hus­band, friend and col­league,” said David Ammons, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor for  Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman. “Sen­a­tor Hill was one of the ‘best and the bright­est’ and will be sore­ly missed at the Capi­tol and across the state. His col­lab­o­ra­tive, col­le­gial style was a mod­el for us all.”

“Andy’s self­less courage to over­come his first encounter with can­cer and seek pub­lic office, serv­ing the state and its cit­i­zens until the can­cer returned this sum­mer, is an inspi­ra­tion to all of us,” said State Repub­li­can Chair Susan Hutchison.

She added: “We will miss his intel­lect, good humor, his abil­i­ty to solve com­plex prob­lems and bring peo­ple togeth­er across the polit­i­cal aisle. He is a mod­el for cit­i­zen­ship and ser­vice for all those in pub­lic life.”

“Andy Hill was a ded­i­cat­ed pub­lic ser­vant respect­ed by Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans,” said Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Jax­on Ravens. “His ser­vice in Olympia and in his com­mu­ni­ty proved there is much more that unites us than divides us. I join oth­er Wash­ing­to­ni­ans in griev­ing over his loss.”

“We are griev­ed to hear of the pass­ing of Sen­a­tor Andy Hill,” said King Coun­ty Demo­c­ra­t­ic Chair Rich Erwin and 45th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict Demo­c­ra­t­ic Chair Ken Albinger in a joint state­ment. “Sen­a­tor Hill was a devot­ed father, parish­ioner, state law­mak­er, and com­mu­ni­ty leader entrust­ed by his cau­cus with the impor­tant respon­si­bil­i­ty of nego­ti­at­ing with House Democ­rats and Gov­er­nor Inslee on state bud­gets. We appre­ci­at­ed Andy’s will­ing­ness as one of our elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives to engage us and our leg­isla­tive action teams on many issues of mutu­al concern.”

“We extend our deep­est con­do­lences to his wife Mol­ly, their three chil­dren, and his many friends, and com­mend them for faith­ful­ly sup­port­ing Andy dur­ing his mul­ti­ple bat­tles against cancer.”

Memo­r­i­al ser­vices for Andy have been sched­uled for Fri­day, Novem­ber 11th, but fur­ther details are not yet avail­able. I will update this post when they are.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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