Former state Rep. Tom Huff dies.

Tom Huff, former state legislator in the 26th District, died Sunday. He was 80.

The Gig Harbor Republican ran for the Legislature in 1994 to fill the seat left vacant by Wes Pruitt, a Democrat. “People deserve quality services from government at a reasonable tax rate, but what we’ve gotten is unreasonable taxes with poor service. That’s a disaster,” Huff said at the time.

Huff helped found the Washington Retail Association and was an executive with Sears for 35 years before retiring in 1992. He was known for being direct. “If a private business like Sears were as wasteful as state government, Weatherbeater Paint would be a hundred dollars a gallon and Diehard batteries would cost more per ounce than gold,” Huff said.

Huff beat fellow Gig Harbor Republican Dennis Johnson in the primary and in the general election netted 61 percent of the vote in defeating Democrat Mary Ann Huntington, who later became a Port of Bremerton commissioner of some renown.

The three-term representative was a fiscal conservative who rose to the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee in his first term.

In 1999 he had surgery for prostate cancer, which he said had a sobering effect on him. “I think it’s just another indication your life is valuable … and life doesn’t last that long overall,” he said. “There’s only so many years to do things I want to do.”

In 2011 Huff was part of the state’s redistricting committee, accepting a request from House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt.

He and his wife, Mary Ann, had four children and nine grandchildren.

The Olympian has more on Huff’s life.

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