Representative Bill Grant Loses Battle with Cancer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Representative Bill Grant Loses Battle with Cancer

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RICHLAND, Wash--  News of Representative Bill Grant's Sunday morning passing came as a shock to a number of legislators gearing up for next week's meeting in Olympia.  State Senator Jerome Delvin didn't hear about Grant's death until he checked his e-mail this morning.

"Dear friends, I have very very sad news," Delvin reads out loud.  "Yesterday we lost Bill Grant.  His illness abruptly turned to the worst."

The 71-year-old had been battling lung cancer for the past month.  His death comes just one week to the day Repsentative Steve Hailey of Mesa lost his battle with colon cancer.  Representative Larry Haler didn't have enough time to process the loss of one friend, before having to worry about another.

"I learned at the Representative Hailey memorial service or funeral on Saturday from Bill's seatmate Maureen Walsh that there's a possibility that he was very seriously ill," says Haler.

Now the state legislature will meet without two of it's members.  It is widely believed Don Cox will fill Hailey's seat.  As for Grant, that's left up to county commissioners.  Delvin says it will be business as usual when legislators attempt to solve a $6 billion deficit, but doing so without Grant will be that much harder.

"It will be a big hole because he represented that district so well for 20 some years and he's well respected in the legislature," says Delvin.  "So it's going to be hard to fill his shoes."