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Former lawmaker from Lewiston dies from cancer

Tue., Aug. 18, 2009, 3:31 p.m.

Bruce Sweeney, who served in the Legislature for 20 years and as a member of the Idaho Transportation Board, died Tuesday after battling bone cancer. He was 77.

Sweeney was a Democrat from Lewiston who ultimately ascended to the top party leadership post in the Senate before leaving office in 1998. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1971 and served two terms before winning his first Senate term in 1983.

Sweeney was also a track star at the University of Idaho and a finalist at the 1956 U.S. Olympic trials in the 400-meter hurdles. He later became an official and starter at the Idaho State High Track and Field Championships.

His love affair with track compelled him to donate $50,000 earlier this year for remodeling at the Lewiston High School track and field, now named after Sweeney and his late wife, Marilyn.

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