Homeschool student profiles local Senate legend

Sid Snyder

I experienced a personal interview with former Sen. Sid Snyder (19th District). It opened my eyes to many interesting events he and his wife encountered.

In 1949 Ralph Smith, a legislator from Long Beach, invited a youthful Sid Snyder to come work as an elevator operator in Olympia. He accepted the job enthusiastically. From this humble beginning, he climbed to the top as Secretary of the Senate.

While in the Senate for many years, he had a noteworthy surprise.

Republicans and the Democrats had to vote on a proposed budget. The Republican majority had 26 votes but not all were "yes." They needed 25 votes to pass the budget and did not succeed. The Republicans had the vote reconsidered but still it didn't pass. Ignoring Snyder's disapproval, the Republicans thought they would change the rules (just like changing the rules in the football playoffs at halftime) to reconsider the vote again. Deeply upset, Sid Snyder stood up in the room and said, "My voice and my vote don't count anymore. I will be resigning." With that he cleared out his office and left, imagining that he would never return. Should he return, he thought he would be labeled a hypocrite. He sent his resignation in. Surprisingly, people started calling and asking him to come back; even the lady that was going to take his place in the Senate. Later, 23 Democrats signed a resolution in caucus asking him to return.

After having an overwhelming positive response, he made his decision one evening to return. He was greeted in the Senate with much admiration and a standing ovation. He jokingly told the Senate that his wife, Bette, had tougher rules at home than the Senate had, so he was back.

He was loved so much that later two streets, a railroad loop, and an outdoor bench were named after him. He was overwhelmed with honor.

Needing Sid is like needing oxygen to breathe: when removed, we realize how badly it is needed.

Why do people love him so? He is humble. Sid didn't care about party affiliation. He also didn't care about who got the credit as long as the job was done correctly. His pleasure was always in helping the "little guy." Most of all he was an elected official who demonstrated political courage.

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