Norm Dicks Retiring

March 3, 2012 by staff 

Norm Dicks Retiring, As a young man, he worked for the late Warren Magnuson, a towering figure in the U.S. Senate known for his ability to strike deals and work with his fellow Democrats as well as Republicans. Almost four decades later, Rep. Norm Dicks rose to nearly equal stature in the House, famous as a fierce advocate for his state and labor interests but still able to count opponents as friends.

Dicks shocked the political establishment Friday, announcing he’ll retire at the end of the year after 18 terms in Congress.

“I have been thinking about this for years. At some point you have to retire. I just decided this was the right time,” Dicks told The Associated Press.

In a statement, President Barack Obama thanked Dicks for his service. “Norm has spent his career working to protect our national security, championing the men and women of our Armed Forces and fighting for the many natural resources of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest.”

The top Democrat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, the 71-year-old former college football player has a reputation as a defender of the Pentagon and the Boeing Co. and its unionized workforce. The aerospace company employs thousands of people in his district.

“It comes as a surprise. He’s been a mainstay of the Washington delegation for so long now, it’s hard to imagine the delegation without him,” said Sandeep Kaushik, a Seattle Democratic political consultant who has worked on congressional races in Washington state.

Over the years, Dicks has been skilled at “earmarking” pet projects like roads and community development grants to his northwest portion of the state. But Republicans controlling the House have banned the practice, much to the disappointment of lawmakers on the spending panel, who had controlled earmarks and awarded themselves an outsized share.

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