Bob McCaslin, a Spokane Valley councilman and former state senator, died early this morning. At 84 years old, McCaslin had struggled with a number of recent health issues. In the past year, he'd undergone heart surgery and leg amputation. He passed away in his sleep.
"You know, Bob McCaslin was a special part of our community," Valley Councilman Dean Grafos says. "He had a commitment to efficient common-sense government. His contributions will be long remembered. I extend my heartfelt sentiment."
He was not just a friend, Grafos says, he was a mentor. Grafos says McCaslin helped him learn the ropes when it came to politics.
“He was always willing to listen,” Grafos says. “He had a way of working with people of all political viewpoints. I think he was well liked over in the senate. Obviously the public liked him, they kept re-electing him. "
Because of his health struggles McCaslin dropped out from his state senate seat in January but was still officially a part of the Valley city council. Yet, his health was far too poor for him to attend meetings. McCaslin wasn't at the winter retreat this February, when council members said he was at risk of dying soon.
Currently, Spokane Valley is trying to fill the position vacated by Rose Dempsey, who resigned in frustration in January. Ten people have submitted applications. But the council, Grafos explains, can't simply draw from those 10 to fill the spot vacated by McCaslin as well. An entirely new selection process will need to take place.
Grafos, who's trying to decide whether to run for re-election, says he remembers advice McCaslin once gave him: "Do what you feel is right, and stay with your principles, and don't worry about elections."