Hailey Announces Resignation from State House - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hailey Announces Resignation from State House

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Citing ongoing medical challenges related to his cancer treatments, state Rep. Steve Hailey, R-Mesa, has announced he will resign from his 9th District legislative seat on Jan. 11, 2009.

Hailey revealed his decision in a Dec. 11 letter to Gov. Christine Gregoire, in which he said: "My health is such that I cannot represent the interests of my constituents in the fashion they deserve."

Hailey was diagnosed with colon cancer last January, and has since undergone a long and difficult regimen of chemotherapy. Despite weakness, fatigue and other side effects of the disease and the treatment program, he has continued his legislative work largely by phone, conference calls and e-mail.

"Serving in the Legislature has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I will always be grateful to the people of the Ninth District for the honor of representing them in Olympia," said Hailey, a third-generation farmer and rancher. "The reality is, though, that it's getting increasingly difficult for me to summon the physical strength to keep up with the demands of the job, and it's not my nature to give less than a total commitment."

The 63-year-old Hailey said the chemotherapy sessions have been tough but tolerable, and reiterated confidence in his doctors and his determination to achieve a full recovery.

"Cancer's a tenacious enemy, but I've been in dangerous spots before," said Hailey, a 1960s-era combat helicopter pilot who earned numerous commendations for bravery under fire, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star. "I'm not pulling back; you can be assured of that. But now I have to focus all of my resilience, energy and faith toward beating the ultimate adversary."

Hailey said he and his family appreciate the support of well-wishers and the many messages of encouragement during the past 11 months.

"The prayers, friendship and positive thoughts are an inspiration, and have often helped us find the motivation and courage to face some stressful times. I've been heartened during the dark moments, and will never forget the kindnesses and thoughtfulness that have been shared with us," he concluded.

Three nominees to succeed Hailey will be chosen by the district's Republican precinct committee officers. County commissioners will then select a replacement from among the finalists.

The Legislature will convene Jan. 12 for a scheduled 105-day session.