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Richard "Dick" Larsen
Richard “Dick” Larsen, an editorial writer and political reporter for The Seattle Times, was the first recipient of CPLE’s Flame of Democracy Award. Larsen received the award posthumously in November 2001, following his death earlier in the year at age 73.
Larsen’s family accepted the award from then-Supreme Court Justice Faith Ireland at the annual meeting of the Bench-Bar Press Committee of Washington.
A lifelong supporter of civic education and civility in politics, Larsen was a founding member of the Council on Public Legal Education and served as a media representative.
He was a familiar face both in journalism and political circles. Before joining The Times, he covered Tom Foley’s first run for Congress 1964 as a reporter for The Wenatchee World. The young congressman from Spokane was so impressed by Larsen’s political instincts that he hired Larsen as an aide on Capitol Hill.
In 1968, Larsen returned to work as a political reporter for The Seattle Times, where he covered the state Legislature, city and county politics, and the presidential campaign of Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson. From 1984 to 1992, he wrote editorials and a regular column for The Times’ editorial page.
He later joined U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn’s staff as an adviser. To those who knew him best, Larsen’s willingness to work for both Republicans and Democrats was no surprise.
“Dick was respected by people of all political leanings,” then-Times Executive Editor Michael Fancher, told The Times shortly after Larsen’s death in April 2001. “He earned their administration through the quality and even-handedness of his reporting. He never forgot that both journalists and politicians are servants of the public.”
In addition to his work in newspapers, Larsen was an author. He co-authored a book with William Prochnau on Jackson, “A certain Democrat: Senator Henry M. Jackson,” in 1972. And in 1980, he wrote a book about serial killer Ted Bundy, “The Deliberate Stranger,” which was later turned into a television movie.