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williewashington.jpegFuneral services for Willie Washington, a lobbyist for California manufacturers for more than a quarter century, will be held Friday.

Washington, who retired from the California Manufacturers and Technology Association in 2006, died March 19. He was 77.

Washington, a native of North Carolina, served 22 years in the Air Force , much of that time in Sacramento, before joining Lockheed Aircraft Service Co. in 1977, working for the company in Iran and experiencing the country's bloody revolution in 1979. He returned to the United States that year and moved back to Sacramento as a lobbyist for Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel.

Eight years later, he joined the manufacturers' association and represented its 400 members in the Capitol for the next 19 years. He once told an interviewer for the Sacramento Business Journal that his pet peeve was encountering "preconceived assumptions of my views on social issues" because he was black.

"People look at me and if they are blacks or liberals, assume that I have the same views on issues that they do," Washington told the Journal in 2001. "Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't."

Washington was especially active on behalf of manufacturers on legislation, often sponsored by unions, to increase workers' compensation and other benefits. The organization has often complained that California's regulatory burdens and mandates discourage investment in factories. Manufacturing employment in California has been declining for years.

Washington's wife, Rose, and his son, Brenden, both died last year. The couple also had two daughters.

A viewing will be conducted Thursday -- the first anniversary of Brenden Washington's death -- at Morgan Jones Funeral Home, 4200 Broadway, from 4 to 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Faith Community United Church of Christ, 7486 Center Parkway in Sacramento.


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