Sen. Patty Murray, also a Democrat, said Dicks was "our state's quarterback here in Congress. ... Norm is the guy who loves Washington state more than life, who would do anything to defend it, and who works everyone to the bone to make sure the families he represents are taken care of."
Gov. Chris Gregoire said Dicks "will leave behind a legacy that is unmatched."
Dicks said he was ready for the change.
"I'm going to see more Husky games, basketball and football, and do a little bit more fishing."
Taylor reported from Washington.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.