The Last State Senator to Die in Office Before Dave Cox Was…
Prior to Dave Cox’s death July 13 from prostate cancer, the last state senator to die in office was Pete Knight in May 2004.
A former Air Force test pilot who in 1967 made the fastest airplane voyage in history, Knight was also the author of Proposition 22, the 2000 ballot measure defining marriage as solely between a man and woman.
Knight was born Nov. 18 1929 in Noblesville, Indiana. The Los Angeles Times obituary of knight quotes Andrew Pugno, the lawyer for the Proposition 22 Legal Defense Fund and a former Knight aide as saying his boss became attracted to speed through a brief job as a jockey.
Pugno was also the chief counsel for Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that overturned a state Supreme Court ruling invalidating Proposition 22’s ban on same sex marriages. Pugno is the GOP candidate for the 5th Assembly District.
One of Knight’s three sons, Stephen, has been a GOP Assemblyman since 2008, representing his father’s old Lancaster and Palmdale centered district.
Knight the elder was an Assemblyman from 1992 through 1996. When he died of leukemia, he was in the final months of his second four-year term.
Another son, David, who is gay, publicly opposed Proposition 22.
On October 3, 1967 – 10 months after Stephen’s birth – Knight piloted an experimental X-15 at 4,520 miles-per-hour, nearly seven times the speed of sound. He retired as a colonel in 1982 after flying missions in Southeast Asia.
A stint on the Palmdale City Council began his political career.
The stte veterans home in Lancaster is named after him as is a Palmdale high school.
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