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Sen. Dave Cox dies at 72

By: DON THOMPSON Associated Press Writer
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Republican state Sen. Dave Cox died Tuesday after what his family described as a 13-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 72. Cox’s spokeswoman Nghia Demovic said the lawmaker died peacefully at his home in the Sacramento suburb of Fair Oaks. Cox represented the sprawling 1st Senate District, a heavily Republican district that encompasses parts of 12 Sierra and foothill counties from the northeastern tip of California at the Oregon border to Mammoth Lakes in Mono County. The death leaves two vacancies in the 40-member chamber. Republican Abel Maldonado left to become lieutenant governor in April. Cox was elected to the Senate in 2004 after six years in the Assembly, where he once served as minority leader. He previously served six years as a Sacramento County supervisor. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Maggie, and three daughters. “A devoted family man, he always found time to serve his community and constituents,” his family said in a statement issued through his Senate office. “Dave took great pride in public service and making government work for the people it serves.” Memorial services were pending, his office said. Messages of condolence came from members of both political parties. Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, today issued a statement following news of Cox’s passing. “I am very saddened to learn of the passing of my colleague and friend, Dave Cox,” Gaines said. “Over nearly 12 years in the state Legislature and many years in local government, Dave leaves behind a tremendous legacy of public service to the people of the Sacramento region and all Californians. “On a personal level, I enjoyed working side by side with Dave during these past four years as we fought hard together for the interests of the constituents we were both privileged to represent,” Gaines continued. “I learned a great deal from Dave and appreciate the counsel he gave me over the years. My thoughts and prayers go out to Maggie and the entire Cox family during this very difficult time.” Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, recalled sharing laughter and a sense of collegiality with the longtime legislator, a camaraderie he said is often lacking in modern politics. “I will miss his sense of humor, his friendship, and his steadfast commitment to a more transparent and accountable government,” Yee said in a statement. Journal Staff contributed to this report.