Sen. Bob Morton announces retirement

State Sen. Bob Morton

OLYMPIA – After more than two decades in the state senate, Sen. Bob Morton (R-7th District) announced he will retire at the first of the new year.

In the announcement, made Wednesday, Nov. 28, Morton said, “It has been an honor to serve in the Washington State Senate for the past 22 years. I thank the people of the 7th Legislative District for the opportunity to represent them. I appreciate their support and insight into how we could make our district and state a better place for future generations.”

Morton first came to the Washington Sate legislature as a representative in 1990, serving there until he filled the seat of outgoing Senator Scott Barr in 1994.

“I’d also like to recognize the dedicated support of my legislative assistant, Kim Cusick. Without her help it wouldn’t have been possible to serve the people of my district in such a way,” said Morton in announcing his retirement. “I plan to serve as senator until January 1, 2013. I am looking forward to retirement and spending more time at home with my family in the beautiful 7th District.”

Morton is the reining Republican for natural resources issues in the Senate Energy, Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee and serves as a member of the Senate Environment Committee. He also served on several special committees including the Western Legislative Forestry Task Force, in which he is a past chairman and the Council of State Governments River Governance Committee.

His community involvement has included Citizens for a Great Northwest; Kettle River Grange; Washington State Grange; Washington State Pilot’s Association; Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association; Washington Cattlemen’s Association; Washington State Farm Bureau; Cattle Producers of Washington.

An avid pilot, it was not unusual for the senator to fly into the various parts of his vast and rural district, including landing on Spectacle Lake near Loomis to watch the fish planting.

He and his wife, Linda, live in Kettle Falls and have been residents and property owners in the Seventh District since 1970. They have five grown children: Bettina, Laura, Shawn, Scott, Roxanne, and eleven grandchildren.

“Thank you for affording Linda and myself the opportunity to serve these past 22 years,” he said.

In his letter making the announcement, the senator wrote, “This is the time for me to retire from the legislative district…, thereby opening the door for new leadership in the senate to take on the responsibility to learn the legislative process and get to know the ‘movers and shakers’ of the state.”

Washington State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur released a statement on Morton’s retirement on the day of the announcement, “I would like to thank Senator Morton for his 22 years of faithful service to both the Seventh Legislative District and the State of Washington. He will be greatly missed, however after two decades in Olympia, he has certainly earned the right to relax a bit.

“The Washington State Republican party will move quickly to ensure a fast and efficient nominating process, so that the Seventh LD may have a senator in place and ready to go before the beginning of the new legislative session.”

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who took Morton’s place in the state House when Morton became senator, also commented on her mentor’s retirement.

“Bob Morton is a close friend, a mentor, an outstanding leader and the reason I went into public service in the first place. It was Bob who gave me my start in politics – hiring me as his campaign manager, then bringing me to Olympia to serve as his Legislative Aide, then recommending me to replace him as State Rep. once he moved to the senate,” said McMorris Rodgers.

“As an elected official, I’ve worked with him on countless issues, and his advice and friendship have been invaluable. He has done an outstanding job in the Legislature for the last 22 years, and there is no question he will be missed. I wish Bob and Linda all the best in their next adventures.”