Friends remember former Senator and Yak. Co. Commissioner - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Friends remember former Senator and Yak. Co. Commissioner

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Former State Senator and Yakima County Commissioner Alex Deccio died Tuesday at Yakima Regional Medical Center.

He was 89 years old, and died of liver failure.

"His main thrust was always, 'what is best for our community,'" said Rep. Norm Johnson, long time friend of Deccio.

Alex Deccio mentored Rep. Norm Johnson who remembers him not only as a lawmaker, but a politician who cared more about those who elected him, than his party. A true bi-partisan legislator.

"He said, you don't have to compromise your core beliefs but he said, work for the betterment of the people of the state of Washington," said Rep. Johnson.

Deccio graduated from Moxee High School before enlisting in the Army Air Corps and serving in World War II.

He was first elected to the State House of Representatives in 1974, than to the State Senate in 1980 before leaving to serve as a Yakima County Commissioner.

"He wanted to hand his family and his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren a better place than he found," Rep. Johnson said.

Deccio served only one term in Yakima County before going back to the State Legislature in 1992.

But, his career was not without controversy. Once during a heated moment, Deccio used a racial slur for African-Americans toward another lawmaker.

He later apologized and was even defended by many, including an African-American democrat.

During his 32 years of public service Deccio secured more than $250 million in state funds for Yakima County.

Senator Deccio is survived by his wife of 65 years Lucille, their 7 kids, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

He would have been 90 years old on Friday.

Johnson added that although Deccio was dedicated to Downtown Yakima development, the Selah School, and the SunDome, his family was his proudest achievement.

Memorial services are still being planned. We will bring you that information as soon as it is available.