State Rep. Don Cox is retiring from the statehouse for a second time.
Cox, 69, says he won’t run for re-election this fall. He was appointed Jan. 19 to the seat left vacant by then-Rep. Steve Hailey, R-Mesa, who died abruptly of cancer just after Christmas.
Cox, R-Colfax, said he’ll serve as state representative through the end of the year.
“I have stated from the time of my appointment that we need a person in the position who can make a long-term commitment to the 9th District legislative team,” he said. “There are some well-qualified, respected people who are prepared to make that commitment, but have put their decisions on hold out of courtesy to me.”
Voters need plenty of time to see what each one offers, he said.
House terms are for two years, but appointees need to run at the next general election.
Cox said he was particularly proud that Republicans — by filibustering late in the session, basically — were able to derail a bill that would have cut $60 million in “levy equalization” money that helps small rural schools.
“It never came to a vote,” said Cox, a retired school superintendent. “We fought it hard, and we proved that being in the minority doesn’t mean sitting on the sidelines.”
There’s a long list of people who want Cox’s job. Among them: Steve Hailey’s widow, Pat Hailey; Schweitzer Engineering’s Susan Fagan, WSU’s Darin Watkins and Lamont sheep producer Arthur Swannack.
For more on each of the contenders so far, please see our state political blog: www.eyeonolympia.com.