Hundreds gather to remember Calif. Sen. Dave Cox |

Hundreds gather to remember Calif. Sen. Dave Cox

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Hundreds of people who knew and worked with Republican state Sen. Dave Cox gathered Thursday in remembrance of the man they said dedicated his life to service.

The Sacramento-area lawmaker’s memorial took place several blocks from the Capitol, where he served for 12 years in the Assembly and Senate, including three years as Assembly minority leader.

The 72-year-old Cox died at his home July 13 after a 13-year battle with prostate cancer.

At the service, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger described Cox as a man who brought people together.

“If politics is the art of compromise, he was the Picasso in the Capitol,” Schwarzenegger said, adding that he considered Cox a mentor.

Other former colleagues and staffers remembered Cox as an often-difficult man but said beneath his gruff exterior was a kind and fiercely loyal father, friend and politician.

After three terms in the Assembly, Cox was elected in 2004 to represent the sprawling, heavily Republican 1st Senate District, which encompasses parts of 12 Sierra and foothill counties.

A primary election to fill his seat is scheduled for Nov. 2, the same day as the statewide general election. A special election would take place Jan. 4 if no candidate to replace Cox wins more than 50 percent of the vote.

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