Norm Dicks retired last week after 36 years representing Washington’s 6th District in the U.S. Congress. His district — which encompassed much of Tacoma and the entire Olympic Peninsula — will surely feel the loss of his tenacity, seniority and uncommon influence on Capitol Hill. But throughout his career, Rep. Dicks again and again stretched his influence beyond the borders of his district, promoting projects in Eastern Washington that he felt had statewide importance. Sometimes referred to as Washington’s third senator, the Democrat from Bremerton never hesitated to use his clout to help advance efforts led by other members of the state’s delegation.
After a brief but exceedingly educational post-graduate stint as a reporter for The Wenatchee World, I went to work for Rep. Dicks in his Washington, D.C., office in 2004, and my education continued. For the next several years I enjoyed a rare front-row seat to the congressional process and the work of our state’s longest serving congressman at the very top of his professional life.