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Sen. Bob Morton to retire

OLYMPIA -- Bob Morton, a conservative Republican who has served northeastern Washington's 7th District for 22 years, will retire from the Legislature at the start of next year.

Morton announced today he will step down half way through his current term, setting the stage for a multi-county process to select a replacement. The district includes northern parts of Spokane County as well as part of Okanogan and all of Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties.  

Morton said he was stepping aside to let "new blood, and a new way of looking at things" take his place: "I looked at things and I thought it was time for me to vacate that seat and leave it to someone else."

After spending three years in the state House of Representatives, Morton moved to the Senate, where he is now the second most senior member of that chamber. 

He's retired from the small logging business his family owns, and sometimes fills in as a preacher at his local church. He plans to spend time working on a long list of home and garden projects and spend more time with his wife and grandchildren.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.