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Thursday, October 18, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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'Bud' Shinpoch, budget watchdog

Albert N. "Bud" Shinpoch, who rose from a childhood of poverty to powerful positions in the state legislative and executive branches, is dead at 76.

Mr. Shinpoch, a Democrat who served as chief budget writer in both chambers of the Legislature and later headed two of the biggest state agencies, died Tuesday (Oct. 16) at Valley Medical Center in Renton of complications of diabetes.

Known for a razor-sharp command of complex finances, Mr. Shinpoch served in the House from late 1969 to 1977, representing first the 47th district and then the 11th, and in the Senate from 1977 to 1984, representing the 11th. He later headed the departments of Finance and of Social and Health Services.

"His work ethic was incredible. He had a real caring for people affected by government which, of course, is all of us," said former Gov. Mike Lowry, who served in the Legislature with Mr. Shinpoch.

"He, in particular, realized that those in our society most in need needed efficient government. He was a no-nonsense person if he thought tax dollars weren't being spent well."

As chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in each chamber, Mr. Shinpoch was known for grilling officials who arrived unprepared to fully describe, explain or defend their agencies' performances and budget requests.

"He knew the budget backward and forward," said state Sen. Sid Snyder, D-Long Beach, the majority leader. "When bureaucrats appeared before the committee, they had better know their facts, figures and background on the measures — because he knew them. "His knowledge of the budget saved taxpayers millions of dollars."

Mr. Shinpoch was born in McIntosh, Okla., "straight out of a John Steinbeck novel," said his wife, Barbara Shinpoch, chairwoman of the state Horse Racing Commission. "His mother died. His little brothers went to an orphanage. A neighbor lady and her family took him to California in a truck."

Mr. Shinpoch went to work after graduating from high school and later came to Seattle to work for Boeing, where he and his wife met in 1952. He spent 42 years in management at Boeing.

Survivors include daughters Terre Scappini of Renton and Jan Shinpoch of Takoma Park, Md., three brothers, a foster sister and four grandchildren. At Mr. Shinpoch's request, no service is planned.

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