Flags were flying half staff last week across the state in remembrance of State Senator Dave Cox, who died Tuesday, July 13.
Typically, when one hears the word senator, thoughts head in the direction of politician and that equates with special interest groups and a self-serving agenda.
Senator Cox was by profession a politician, but our experience with him for the past five years was amicable and respectable. Cox meant what he said and worked hard to make sure Sacramento did not forget northeastern California, especially Lassen and Plumas counties.
He always had an ear to the ground in Lassen and Plumas, holding town hall meetings or other forums to hear from local people instead of allowing pundits to work as surrogates for the will of the public.
Susanville Mayor Lino Callegari said Cox may have been a member of the Republican Party, but "he had the right answers for the right subject and could make members of both parties see what was best for the people."
That is high praise for a man serving in Sacramento since 1998, first as an assemblyman then as state senator.
Cox believed in limiting the scope of government and keeping power in the hands of the people but he also supported sensible regulations like requiring children to wear helmets on the ski slopes until age 18 and temporarily impounding the cars of suspects of repeat DUI offenses.
Most of all, Cox never fell in love with centralized power in Sacramento and was constantly fighting for local governments with bills like the one he authored in 2007, requiring the state to pay back prosecution costs incurred on its behalf by local counties within 60 days of receiving a request.
As we mourn with his wife of 44 years, Maggie, who always traveled with the senator and his daughters, several thoughts come to mind about the senator and the job he did for Lassen and Plumas counties.
In recognition of his long-standing record of supporting law enforcement and public safety, the California State Sheriffs' Association named Cox, who represents 12 northern California counties, "Outstanding Senator for 2008." Considering Lassen and Plumas counties are home to many peace officers, we saw this recognition as something to celebrate when Cox received the award, and worthy of mention again at the time of his death.
He was a friend to Lassen and Plumas counties. He was the hardest working senator in Sacramento, and he didn't let cancer keep him from doing the job he was elected to do.
It may be an overused saying, but it looks like whoever takes Senator Dave Cox's place has some big shoes to fill.
Our condolences and prayers go out to the senator's wife, children, family, friends, staff and constituents. Senator, you will be missed!
Cox was the current state senator for California District 1 serving Lassen, Plumas, Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Placer, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Sacramento and Sierra counties.