Olympia will see a new face from Spokane Valley’s 4th District in 2014, as longtime Rep. Larry Crouse is stepping down.
Crouse announced his retirement Tuesday, citing “family health concerns” as the reason for leaving before the end of his two-year term.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had, but it’s time. This decision is about family,” said Crouse, R-Spokane Valley. “I had an opportunity to represent a wonderful district. As I look back, it’s humbling to know thousands of voters put their faith in me. It has been a great honor to serve the people and communities of the Fourth Legislative District.”
Crouse and his wife, Peggy, have endured health issues over the last few years. These ailments forced him to miss time during the 2013 legislative sessions.
“Larry is respected by people of all political persuasions. He is a trusted statesman and a true gentleman – the type of leader we need in today’s political arena,” said House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish. “Larry has been a mentor and close friend to many of us over the years. We all say goodbye with heavy hearts.”
Crouse has lived in the Spokane area since 1974. He and Peggy have two grown daughters.
“Larry has been a statesman and leader in this institution for a long time. It’s been an honor working beside him over the years,” said Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis. “He has represented his constituents well and will be truly missed by everyone.”
Crouse has served 19 years in the Legislature, and it is likely there will be several Republicans looking to be appointed to serve out his term, which is set to expire at the end of next year. Current Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey, who is not returning to the City Council in 2014, has already expressed interest. Other possibilities include former Mayor Diana Wilhite and Robert B. McCaslin, a current member of the city’s Planning Commission and son of the late former state Sen. Bob McCaslin.
As per procedure, Republican precinct officers will nominate three candidates for Spokane County commissioners to chose an appointee to serve through November 2014 when the seat goes up for election.
Crouse is the assistant ranking Republican on the House Technology and Economic Development Committee. He also sits in the House Environment and Local Government committees. Crouse will continue to assist constituents with their interactions with state government through the end of the year.
4th District Sen. Mike Padden said he was sorry to see Crouse go but respected him for putting family first.
“I’ve known Larry for a long time,” Paden said. “I recruited him back in 1994 to run for the House because he has always been a solid conservative and a man of deep character and a true representative of the people of Spokane Valley.
“That was him in 1994, and that is him today.”