There is at least one thing Rep. Doc Hastings and our two Democratic senators can agree on -- Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., has been a friend to the Tri-Cities.
When Dicks retires in January, it will be a loss to the Mid-Columbia.
He will culminate his career as the top Democrat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
He's been called "one of the most powerful people ever to represent Washington state in Congress," but today we're thinking a little closer to home.
For being from the "other" side of the mountains, Dicks has done more than his share to help the dry side of the state.
Our economy is stronger because of him. Hanford cleanup is advancing partly because of his assistance and persistence.
Our community would have a different look to it if not for his support during 36 years in office.
Of course, we can rightfully expect to get support from the 4th District representative. After all, we live in that district and voters get to decide who sits in that seat.
The representative from the 6th Congressional District, on the other hand, is under no such obligation to our community.
Yes, the benefits from some of the projects Dicks has supported over the years reach far beyond Benton and Franklin counties.
For example, cleaning up Hanford is good for the whole state -- and everybody on the downstream side of the Columbia River.
Securing a permanent storage facility for nuclear waste is another big item on the state's and country's priority list.
So it makes sense that Dicks would be in our corner on at least these issues.
But he's done a lot more for us.
He has helped to save B Reactor and get it designated as a national park.
He also was instrumental in getting federal money for the Volpentest HAMMER training facility.
TRIDEC's Gary Peterson referred to Dicks as the 4th District's second representative. Sen. Maria Cantwell said, "Often times, people would refer to Norm as Washington's third senator. His impact on Washington state will be felt for generations to come."
His critics point to his long career as somehow bad for the state. They also accuse him of being a spendthrift.
It's true that he has represented our state longer than anyone else, but that's not necessarily a negative. His time in office has earned him seniority and clout, the very characteristics that make him such an effective advocate for our region.
As for his spending habits, the federal money he's helped secure for Hanford programs have been the lifeblood of this community.
Dicks' list of accomplishments is much longer than listed in this column. We will leave something for the speakers at his retirement party.
His service has been above and beyond the scope of his assignment. We aren't the only community to benefit from his energy and influence.