State Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, a former GOP leader of the Assembly, died Tuesday after a 13-year battle with prostate cancer, family members announced. He was 72.
Cox, a former Sacramento County supervisor and director of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, was elected to the state Assembly in 1998, representing a suburban Sacramento district, and won election to the Senate in 2004.
The family statement called Cox “a devoted family man. He always found time to serve his community and constituents. Dave took great pride in public service and making government work for the people it serves.”
Cox’s 1st Senate District included all or portions of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Placer, Plumas, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Sacramento and Sierra counties. He served as chair of the Senate Local Government Committee and Vice-Chair of the Appropriations Committee. He also served on the Senate committees dealing with banking, utilities, health and public employment.
Assembly Republicans elected Cox as their leader in March 2001, and he held the position through the final years of Gray Davis’ govership and the early period of current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cox was succeeded as GOP leader by Kevin McCarthy, who later went to Congress.
His GOP colleagues lauded Cox for his efforts to successfully unite the Caucus against proposals to raise new taxes and his advocation of a pro-business economic climate. “He led the fight against the illegal tripling of the car tax and helped trim waste from the state budget, freeing up money needed to fund essential education, public safety and health care programs,” his official biography said.