Vermont Business Magazine Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) and Governor Phil Scott issued the following statements today regarding the passing of former Speaker Timothy O’Connor Tuesday at 81. O'Connor was a Democrat from Brattleboro who nonetheless served as Speaker during a Republican majority in the House. He was the first Democrat to hold the post since the 1850s when he took the gavel in 1975. He also has been the long-serving Brattleboro town meeting moderator. See Brattleboro Reformer story below.
Johnson: "Today, I join with my colleagues in the Vermont House in mourning the loss of former Speaker of the House, Timothy O’Connor Jr. During his distinguished careers in the public and private sectors, Speaker O’Connor was known for his kindness, fairness, and pragmatic leadership. In his years leading the Vermont House, his unrivaled ability to build consensus and find common ground earned him genuine respect and support from all sides of the aisle. While he is known as the first Democrat to serve as Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives since the 1850s, he is perhaps more well known locally in Brattleboro as the longstanding moderator of the Brattleboro Town Meeting. His characteristic passion for fairness and his heartfelt kindness over his many decades of service to Brattleboro and to Vermont will have a notably positive impact on the lives of Vermonters for many years to come. Vermont will miss Timothy O’Connor dearly.”
Governor Phil Scott: “Today I join Vermonters and legislative leaders in mourning the loss of former Vermont House Speaker Tim O’Connor. Speaker O’Connor will be remembered for his impartiality and fairness during his time as Speaker, and the kindness and respect he carried with him throughout his life.
“Speaker O’Connor had the reputation of a true public servant – a reputation he earned through his unique ability to achieve consensus and compromise. His years of leadership have made a lasting mark, and his positive impact on Vermont will not soon be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
Senator Patrick Leahy: "The O’Connors have been friends since I was a young lawyer starting my practice. Tim had such a great sense of humor, especially when it involved the Irish. I told Martha this morning how I will miss him but that I’ll look, every day, at the walking stick he brought me from Ireland.
"Marcelle and I remember so fondly the meals at their home, and how they cared for us and our children. His love of our state was matched by his devotion to his family.
"Tim lived his life with a commitment to making a difference, and he did -- in his community and in our state. He set an example for the importance of public service, from serving as Town Moderator, to Speaker of the House. Tim did so in the Vermont tradition of bipartisan leadership and putting people first. Tim’s ability and efforts to reach across the aisle and to lead in ways that fostered bipartisan cooperation will long be remembered and are an example to all.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to Martha, Kerry, Kate and Kevin. Tim and the O’Connors are the best of Vermont."
BRATTLEBORO REFORMER — The man who wielded the gavel as Town Moderator at Brattleboro Town Meeting for more than two decades has died.
Speaker Mitzi Johnson. 1.17.2018