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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington's Republican Budget Writer Andy Hill Dies Of Lung Cancer

Washington Legislature
Washington state Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, died Monday of lung cancer at age 54.

The lead budget writer in the Washington state Senate has died of lung cancer at age 54. Republican Andy Hill’s family announced his death Tuesday.

Hill was a lean, dark-haired and affable state Senator who was talked of as a potential gubernatorial candidate. When it came to the budget, he played up his personal frugality.

“I’m the kind of guy who with toothpaste I squeeze the tube as absolutely empty as I can get it and then I cut it open and scrape out the rest,” Hill said in 2014. “I think that is how I would approach budgeting this year.”

Never a smoker, Hill was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008. He beat it thanks to an experimental treatment. This year he took less of a public role in final budget negotiations. Then in June he announced the cancer had returned.

Hill was a graduate of the Harvard Business School, a former Microsoft employee and a youth soccer coach. He leaves behind his wife Molly and three children.

In a statement, Governor Jay Inslee called Hill a “strong champion for education and a compassionate advocate for people with disabilities.”

Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler said of Hill, “After his first recovery from cancer, he used his second chance at life to make Washington a better place to live.”

Hill lived in Redmond and represented Washington’s 45th legislative district. He was first elected in 2010 and then re-elected in 2014.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."