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Services Held for Political ‘Mentor’ Richard Kazen, 59

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Funeral services were held Wednesday for Richard Ernest Kazen, a longtime Orange County-based political consultant who worked for Ronald Reagan when he was governor and later directed a political action committee made up of the state’s key business leaders.

Kazen died of cancer Saturday at the age of 59.

“Dick was kind of a journeyman political worker who made the system work,” said Mike Stockstill, an Orange County Transportation Corridor Agencies spokesman who worked with Kazen on United for California, a statewide business PAC that was a major financial donor from 1977 until 1989 when it disbanded. Kazen was the committee’s executive director.

“He had all of the (political) skills. He understood campaigns, he understood fund-raising,” Stockstill said.

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Newport Beach political consultant Scott Hart said Kazen was a “mentor” for a generation of consultants who followed him. “His forte was that he was very close to the corporate community,” Hart said. “He was able to move into the political arena with those business contacts.”

Early in his political career, Kazen held several positions in the Reagan gubernatorial Administration, including the post of co-chairman of Reagan’s Tax Reduction Task Force. He formed his own political consulting firm in 1975.

Kazen is survived by his mother, Elaine Kazen of Huntington Beach; his wife, Diane Kazen of Newport Beach; his daughter, Lynda Pitman and her husband, Larry, of Valencia; a son, Gregory Kazen, and his wife, Peach, of London; and two grandchildren.


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