Lawmakers across both sides of the aisle gathered to honor the memory of State Sen. Andy Hill of Redmond, a rising star in Washington politics who lost his battle to lung cancer last week.
His service Friday at St. Jude Catholic Church was packed family, friends and colleagues, many of whom had to stand in the back and in an overflow area outside.
“He always made me feel like the most important person in his life,” said wife, Molly Hill, during remembrances. “When he would gain recognition for some work or achievement that he made, he would always credit me, calling me the CEO of the household, working harder than he did with none of the accolades. I look around me today, and I see so many wonderful people who knew and admired and respected Andy.”
Hill, a former Microsoft executive, was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008, despite having never smoked. He beat his first battle with the disease, an experience that prompted him to look into public service and run for office.
He was first elected to Washington’s 45th District in 2010 but quickly rose to chair the Ways and Means Committee. As a lead Republican budget writer, he helped negotiate increased funding for schools and reductions in college tuition in the state.
“Andy was in a political landscape, that we just saw in this most recent election. In the world wide web of cynicism and hypocrisy and negative attitudes, Andy offered a different URL. He offered a URL of hope, of achievement of inclusion and accountability,” said his brother Wayne Hill. “What he did in Olympia in six short years was nothing short of a miracle.”
Governor Jay Inslee and a number of Democratic lawmakers attended Hill’s service Friday, in addition to his Republican colleagues. Colleagues remember Sen. Hill as a principled leader who earned respect across both sides of the aisle.
“Theres’ a big hole in the state legislature that Andy’ s departure creates,” said Sen. Joe Fain. “But his memory and his values are what can help preserve what we need to do down there. It’s working together, it’s listening to one another it’s treating each other with respect, and its always keeping what’s in the best interest of the public at heart.”
Hill was 54. He leaves behind his wife and three children, Allie, Charlie and Katie.
State law specifies that his seat be temporarily filled by another Republican through an appointment process, until a special election can be held next year.