Of an apparent heart attack. This is from his bio at the county:
Within the State of Washington, Norm has led legislative efforts which culminated in the passage of a number of critical bills, including restoration and expansion of the crime victim compensation system, and establishment of our state’s presumptive sentencing system (the Sentencing Reform Act), which has brought uniformity and certainty to the state’s criminal justice system.
In 1989, Norm was selected to chair the Governor’s Task Force on Community Protection after several outrageous crimes were committed by repeat predatory sex offenders. The Task Force recommendations became law, and Washington’s laws regarding registration, notification, and civil commitment of sex offenders have become national models.
Norm helped strengthen laws in 1994 aimed at juveniles who carry firearms without adult supervision. He also worked to pass the Becca Bill in 1995, which has re-enforced the state’s truancy laws and established expectations for dealing with runaway children. In 1997, Norm was a leader in the 1997 Juvenile Justice Act, which provides an improved framework to intervene in the life of a troubled youth.
Maleng was, to my knowledge, the only Republican who ever got his start in the office of Senator Warren Magnuson (D-WA). He was always more moderate than the GOP of the state, and caused controversy when he declined to seek the death penalty against Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer.
Whenever I heard him speak, I got the sense that he was a decent guy.
I first had the opportunity to meet Norm Maleng when we both were working to defeat I-892, Tim Eyman’s slot machine initiative. I attended a couple meetings of a rather broad and bizarre coalition (for example, me sitting next to Jeff Kemp) and came away impressed with the way Maleng ran the proceedings. He struck me as kinda grandfatherly. I liked him.
To be honest, I don’t remember if I voted for him or not in his various races, but this was one Republican whose victories I never lost any sleep over. I hope his fellow Republicans appreciate what a huge loss this is to their own party.
On a more personal note, 68 is just too damn young. My heart felt condolences to his family.