After 30 years, 4th District Sen. Bob McCaslin – who also serves on the Spokane Valley City Council – is retiring due to health concerns.
In a prepared statement released Tuesday, McCaslin said it was on his doctors’ advice he not return to Olympia for the 2011 session.
“Although I intended to continue my service with the state Senate, developments that occurred last year regarding my health have recently resurfaced, which prompted me to make this decision,” McCaslin stated.
McCaslin, who is 84, missed much of the 2010 session after undergoing heart surgery.
McCaslin was at Tuesday’s night council study session. He plans to remain on the City Council.
McCaslin was first elected to the Legislature in 1980 and is its most senior member. His term would have expired in 2012, and he has previously stated he would not run for another four years in office.
“I’ve always tried not to let the years slow me down or affect my ability to serve the people of the 4th District,” McCaslin wrote. “But as my doctors have made clear to me, this can no longer be the case.”
McCaslin, a resident for Spokane Valley for 55 years, worked for Kaiser Aluminum for 18 years and as a real estate agent for another 18. He also served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
McCaslin attended Washington State University, where he received a degree in sociology in 1950.
Republican precinct committee officers in the 4th Legislature will now offer three nominees for McCaslin’s replacement in the Senate. Spokane County commissioners will then have the choice for a replacement, who then must run in the next general election cycle if he or she intends to remain in office.
Larry Crouse and Matt Shea serve the 4th District in the House of Representatives. Crouse has indicated he is not interested in seeking the Senate seat, but Shea has shown interest.
However, Diana Wilhite – a former Spokane Valley mayor and City Council member who ran against Shea in 2008 for the House seat – said she is also seeking McCaslin’s post in Olympia.
“I’ll be throwing my hat in,” she said.