Connecticut lawmakers react to the passing of Representative Betty Boukus

Betty Boukus spoke with News 8 on Election Night after conceding to Dr. William Petit (WTNH / Jacquie Slater)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Lawmakers from across the state are reacting to the passing State Representative Betty Boukus, who died Friday.

Boukus served the 22nd District, representing Plainville and Bristol. She served eleven terms in office. Boukus also served as Deputy Majority Caucus Chair. Last month, Boukus lost her re-election bid to Cheshire home invasion survivor Dr. William Petit.

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U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke fondly of his friend and colleague.

Betty Boukus was a dedicated public servant and a dear friend whose passing deprives Connecticut of her incomparable common sense, good humor, and boundless caring. She eschewed the partisan conflict so endemic today, and espoused a bipartisan fight for public good.”

Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) said that Boukus was beloved by the General Assembly.

My heart and prayers go out to Betty’s family, and they should know that Representative Boukus was one of the most beloved members of the General Assembly. She took on each of her responsibilities with a caring hand, always understanding that decisions had a human impact.  She was a giant for her hometown of Plainville, the kind of leader who cannot be replaced. Even as she faced health issues more recently, Betty campaigned the way she legislated – fighting selflessly for the best interests of her constituents. Certainly Betty’s experience, knowledge, and counsel as a legislative colleague were invaluable, but having her as a friend was the true gift to all of us who knew her. Representative Boukus was the rare person who knew the importance of giving back to society more than one takes from it.”

The desk of State Representative Betty Boukus at the State Capitol on the day of her passing, December 2, 2016 (WTNH / Joe Sferrazza)
The desk of State Representative Betty Boukus at the State Capitol on the day of her passing, December 2, 2016 (WTNH / Joe Sferrazza)

Speaker of the House-Elect Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington) described how much passion Boukus brought to representing the people of her district.

Betty Boukus was a great friend, an incredible person and a dedicated legislator. Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Betty knew that her personality could fill an entire room. She brought an unrivalled level of passion to the issues that she and her constituents cared about and worked hard to fight for what her district needed. She did all of this with a smile on her face and a clever comment up her sleeve. There will never be another Betty Boukus. The Connecticut General Assembly has lost one of its very best and she will truly be missed.”

Incoming House Majority Leader Matt Rittner (D-Hartford) described Boukus as a mentor for young legislators.

Betty was a mentor. She was always willing to offer young legislators advice – both solicited and unsolicited. She had the heart and soul of a teacher. Betty wanted all of us to be better legislators for our constituents and the entire state.  Betty’s Secret Santa collection for homeless veterans at the State Veterans Home in Rocky Hill has become an annual holiday tradition at the State Capitol. Her work touched so many. When I think about Betty’s joy for life it brings a smile to my face. She seized every day.  Even as she struggled with a long illness, Betty Boukus brought light into every room she entered.”

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) described Boukus’ sense of humor and cooperative attitude on the floor.

Betty was an exceptionally compassionate and dedicated soul who gave so much of herself to serve our state,” said Senator Len Fasano. “I will never forget her humor, wit and positive attitude. She was always making people laugh and always incredibly knowledgeable. My heart goes out to her family, friends and colleagues. We will all miss Betty greatly and her inspiring commitment to serving Connecticut.”

State Senator Henri Martin (R-Bristol) spoke of Boukus fighting for Connecticut’s veterans.

Rep. Betty Boukus was a colleague, a friend, and a longtime advocate for the people of the 22nd District. I am greatly saddened to hear of her passing and my heartfelt condolences go out to her husband, Gary, and the rest of her family and friends. Betty was a tremendous advocate for our veterans and organized the annual State Capitol Secret Santa Collection for the Rocky Hill Veterans Home and Hospital. Every day she worked to make Connecticut a better place. The state has lost a dedicated and honorable public servant.”

There is no word yet on how Boukus died, but legislators told News 8 that she did have a health issue. Boukus was 73 years old.

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