A new biography on former state Senate icon Sid Snyder will be unveiled at launch events in Ilwaco and Olympia in February. The book is entitled "Across the Aisles: Sid Snyder's Remarkable Life in Groceries & Government," written by Jeff Burlingame.
The Snyder biography is jointly produced by The Legacy Project in the Office of Secretary of State and the Legislative Oral History Project.
"Sid Snyder was a well-respected fixture in the Legislature for decades, starting as an elevator operator and rising to secretary of the Senate and finally as the Senate's majority leader," said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. "Sid's is a classic story about how hard work, showing respect and connecting with others can make a huge difference. It's fitting that Sid was once an elevator operator because it symbolizes his career's steady rise to the top."
The book launch in Ilwaco is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Artisan, 114 Main St. SW. Books will be available for sale and signing by the author. The Columbia Pacific Heritage Center in Ilwaco will have an exhibit on Snyder on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit will run through March 10. Copies of the new book will be for sale at the museum, at Sid's Market in Long Beach and Time Enough Books in Ilwaco.
The Olympia launch event is slated for Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the State Reception Room in the Legislative Building from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Books will also be available at this event for sale and signing. The Olympia event will be followed by the Joint Session of the Legislature in memory of legislators who have died during the past two years.
The book on Snyder is available for purchase ($25) after Feb. 4 in the State Seal store, located in the Office of Secretary of State on the second floor of the Legislative Building and online, and at Amazon.com after Feb. 13. It was printed with private funds. A free electronic version is available online on The Legacy Project website.
Snyder was born in 1926 in Kelso, raised by a widowed mother who instilled a work ethic that he brought to each of the many jobs he had. In elementary school, he hauled his wagon around town to deliver the laundry his mother cleaned for area bachelors. In junior high, he worked seven days a week at the corner grocery store. In high school, he pumped gas, stacked lumber in a mill, and mopped the floors of his brother's barbershop.
Snyder bought his first grocery store in 1953 in Seaview, four years after he started his 53-year run of employment at the Capitol by accepting a job as an elevator operator. As Snyder grew his store, a community bank he founded in 1969, and other business ventures on the Long Beach Peninsula and beyond, he also grew his career in Olympia. He worked in and supervised the bill room, served as assistant chief clerk of the House and as secretary of the Senate.
In 1990, Snyder became the 19th Legislative District's senator following the death of Arlie DeJarnett (D-Longview). Before retiring from the Senate in 2002, Snyder served as Democratic Caucus chair, Senate majority leader and Senate minority leader. After leaving the Senate, Snyder continued to work at his Seaview grocery store well into his 80s. His retirement from politics came the same year he was chosen national legislator of the year. Today, streets in Snyder's hometown of Long Beach and leading onto the Capitol Campus in Olympia bear his name.
The biography about Snyder is The Legacy Project's ninth printed book. Other biographies are available of former Governor Booth Gardner, former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton, former U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn and Native American activist Billy Frank Jr.
The Legacy Project has published a number of oral histories in print. Subjects include former first lady Nancy Evans, longtime political reporter Adele Ferguson and civil rights pioneer Lillian Walker. Additionally, the program released a book on the historically close gubernatorial contest in 2004.
The program also has produced oral histories on astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, State Supreme Court justices Carolyn Dimmick, Charles Z. Smith and Robert F. Utter, and rocker-turned-political-activist Krist Novoselic.
The next book by The Legacy Project will be "John Spellman: Politics Never Broke His Heart," written by John C. Hughes, who edited the book on Snyder. It is scheduled to be released Feb. 22 in Seattle.
Burlingame is the Image Award-winning author of more than 20 nonfiction books.
The Legacy Project e-book series is available free of charge online.