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John Curley: Remembering a leader, friend Andy Hill

Andy Hill was one of the few politicians that I truly trusted. (Hillyes.com)

Every time I mentioned the name Andy Hill, I always put it alongside these words: The next Governor of the great State of Washington.

The good senator, and better friend, died Tuesday at the age of 54 after a battle with cancer.

Andy always described himself in three buckets. It was: first I’ll learn, then I’ll earn, then I’ll serve. Those were the three buckets of his life.

He learned by going to Princeton, where he was an outstanding student. Then he earned, working at Microsoft, where he made a lot of money. Then he decided to spend more time with his three great kids and beautiful wife, Molly. And he did. He coached the kids in soccer; he was a wonderful family man.

Then, in 2009, he wasn’t feeling well — coughing a little bit, lacking energy. He couldn’t walk up steps without losing his breath. Doctors did tests and found out he had Stage 3 cancer in his left lung.

He battles the thing, but the chemo and radiation were only working to a point; things weren’t looking good.

But because Andy is a researcher, and a bit of a wonk, he went online and talked to his doctors at the University of Washington and they find an experimental drug. He takes it and, within two weeks, is out jogging with his wife. He beat the thing. He saw it as the second chapter of his life and he dove completely into that third bucket, which was to serve. This was a second chance and he chose to get involved. He ran for senate and won, doing admirable work on both sides of the aisle.

I texted him a question during my radio show a few weeks back and he responded that chemo was kicking his butt and that he couldn’t answer at that moment. I called him afterward and he apologized for not being able to help. As if he had something to be sorry for. I talked to him again two weeks ago and he said he was feeling better and was making the turn. I think he had kept the sad truth from most everybody.

Andy was a friend of the show, not only because he was such a great guy but also because he managed to be someone both Tom and I could agree on.

To me, Andy was a guy who had come from the private sector and decided he was going to serve. His stance: Taxpayers first, government second. I align myself with those same principles.

Tom, he aligned himself with Andy, a political opposite, because of Andy’s idealism — proof that you can be a good person and still work in politics.

I’ve been a public servant, and I disagree with Tom on a lot of things — except when it comes to Andy. Because, here’s the deal about Andy: he never spoke an ill word about anybody.

We lost a great potential leader on Tuesday. We’ve been robbed.

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