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
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
The Olympian has more on Huff’s life.
Typically we shy away from making big splashes out of
endorsements. By the end of the campaign there will be so many that
it’s usually better to just let the candidates produce a list,
which is what most of them do at some point any way. That’s how you
knew that Chris Henry endorsed Charlotte Garrido. (It was NOT the Kitsap Sun’s Chris
A couple in the 6th District Congressional Race are worth
mentioning. I’m kicking myself now for not mentioning former
Republican U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton’s endorsement of
Republican candidate Bill Driscoll in July when it happened. I have
two reasons to regret that call. One is for the reason the (Tacoma)
News Tribune called attention to it. Gorton
and fellow Republican Tom Huff both served on the state’s
redistricting commission and split their allegiances in the
Congressional race. Gorton, as mentioned, endorsed Driscoll. Huff
endorsed Jesse Young.
The other reason to mention it then was because Young had listed Gorton as one of his
endorsements in his 2010 bid for Congress. Gorton switched horses,
as it were.
On Wednesday Democratic candidate Derek Kilmer announced what
his supporters certainly have to consider significant news. On
Sunday I was interviewed by a couple of local knuckleheads who
produce a weekly online radio show. They asked me if Driscoll’s
military experience was a plus for him. It’s an easy “yes” on the
question, and it’s one of the things Driscoll emphasizes, the other
two being businessman and non-politician.
Kilmer, in landing the endorsement of retired Washington Army
and Air National Guard Major General Timothy Lowenberg, can hope to
soften whatever impact Driscoll’s military experience is having.
Lowenberg will chair Veterans for Kilmer, going with the candidate
to veterans meetings.
“I am supporting Derek because of his intellectual rigor, work
ethic and diligence in making well-informed, fact-based decisions
on policy issues,” said Lowenberg in the statement issued by the
campaign. “He is knowledgeable about foreign and domestic security
matters and committed to serving those who serve our nation in
uniform. He will be a Congressman our service members and their
loved ones can count on – and will reflect great credit on the
citizens of his district.”
In August Lowenberg contributed $500 to Republican Rob McKenna
in the governor’s race.