The Legislature began on a somber note Friday, grieving for the family of a well-known Olympia lobbyist whose three children died in an early morning fire.
Lawmakers identified the father of the children as Brad Tower, who has been a lobbyist in Olympia since 2000 representing business interests. His father, Earl Tower, was also a lobbyist. Many Senators gave emotional speeches on the Senate floor and offered their condolences to the entire family.
“There is a cloud over the Legislature today. Our hearts are with Brad,” said Sen. Sharon Nelson, D- Maury Island. “We cannot bring back his children, but we can send him our love and our caring.”
Authorities say a house fire killed three children in Centralia early Friday as they slept upstairs. The fire woke up the mother sleeping downstairs, but she was unable to rescue the children. The mother was unharmed.
Sen. Jan Angel, R- Port Orchard, urged her colleagues to reach out to Tower in the days ahead.
“We can talk about it today, but we’ve got to talk about it tomorrow and the next day and the next day. And it’s okay to talk about these things with him openly and lovingly,” she said.
Both chambers opened with a moment of silence for Tower’s family, and the lobbyist was mentioned in opening prayers.
Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, who presides over the Senate, said Tower was a member of the Legislature’s family. He urged lawmakers to “visit or make a call — not an email, not a Facebook post — to your kids and your grandkids.”
“Then when you have the opportunity, that you give them a big hug,” Owen said.