CT flags to be lowered to half-staff after passing of former sta - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT flags to be lowered to half-staff after passing of former state Rep. Betty Boukus

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Long-time Connecticut state Rep. Elizabeth “Betty” Boukus died this week. (WFSB file) Long-time Connecticut state Rep. Elizabeth “Betty” Boukus died this week. (WFSB file)

Connecticut Democratic leaders reacted to the passing of long-time state Rep. Elizabeth “Betty” Boukus this week. 

Boukus, of Plainville, was 73 and The Associated Press reports she was battling cancer. 

As the state representative for District 22, Boukus served the people of Plainville and New Britain for more than two decades. She lost her seat to Republican newcomer Dr. William Petit this year.

"She leaves behind large shoes to fill but I will strive to follow her example," Petit said. 

Boukus, who held the seat since 1994, was the co-chair of the powerful bonding subcommittee of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and held a non-voting seat on the bond commission.

Boukus was known for her generosity and that what was won people over. She helped collect Christmas gifts for veterans and there is a statue of Prudence Crandall at the State Capitol is all because of her. She collected pennies from children to honor an admired school teacher and the states official heroine.

Gov. Dannel Malloy directed the Connecticut flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Boukus. The flags should be lowered immediately and will stay there until the date of her interment. 

Malloy said Boukus loved "being an elected official, specifically the opportunity to serve the people of her towns Plainville and New Britain in order to advocate for their best interests – and she made sure everybody knew it."

The Associated Press reports that Boukus was survived by her husband, Gary, two adult children and four grandchildren.

The governor said that Boukus "brought the ray of sunshine into the room, even on the gloomiest of days." 

"The State of Connecticut has lost one of its most vociferous advocates and honorable public servants, and we are all deeply saddened by her loss. On behalf of the people of our state, I would like Betty’s family to know how much we appreciated her spirit, her generosity, her character, and her service. She will truly be missed," Malloy said in a statement on Friday. 

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called Boukus "a dedicated public servant and a dear friend." He said her death "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," Blumenthal said in a statement on Friday. 

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) called Boukus "a compassionate public servant, a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, and a dear friend." 

“I had the honor of serving with Betty in the General Assembly, and continuing to work together over the last four years to serve the good people of her beloved Plainville and New Britain.  I have come to know, count on, and cherish Betty as an incomparable community leader and exemplary human being," Esty said in a statement on Friday. “Betty was passionate and funny, always ready with a warm laugh and a big hug. She put people – and never politics – first. She was the best, truest public servant. I join with my family in mourning her passing. She will be sorely missed.”

Connecticut lawmakers released the following statements on her passing. 

“This is a very sad day for Connecticut. We’ve lost a truly dedicated legislator and an extraordinary woman. I was honored to work with Betty – she always kept the well-being of her constituents at the forefront of all of her efforts. She was smart and well-informed, and even during the toughest debates, she always led with compassion and humor. My thoughts are with Betty’s husband Gary, her children, and grandchildren. I want to thank them and her entire family for sharing her with her Capitol family. She did lasting good work for Connecticut," Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said in a statement on Friday. 

"“Betty Boukus was a tremendous legislator and advocate, leaving behind an unparalleled legacy of success for her district and the state. But more than that, Betty was a kind and affable soul that put everyone at ease. Her constituents, her colleagues, and anyone who knew her were changed for the better by the experience. On behalf of OPM, we are going to miss a dear friend," Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes said in a statement on Friday. 

“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," Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, (D-Hamden), said in a statement on Friday. 

“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," Speaker of the House-elect Joe Aresimowicz, (D-Berlin/Southington), said in a statement on Friday. 

“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," Incoming House Majority Leader Matt Ritter (D-Hartford), said in a statement on Friday. 

“Betty was an exceptionally compassionate and dedicated soul who gave so much of herself to serve our state. 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," Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, (R-North Haven), said in a statement on Friday. 

“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.” Senator Martin represents the 31st Senate District which includes Plainville," Sen. Henri Martin, (R-Bristol), said in a statement on Friday. 

“Betty Boukus was warm, kind-hearted and one of the best friends anyone could ask for. She was a champion for children and education. She was also the driving force in ensuring that Connecticut’s state heroine, Prudence Crandall, was properly recognized at the State Capitol. Every year, I had the honor of joining Betty for an annual ceremony celebrating Prudence Crandall and that event will live on. Betty was one of a kind. She will be missed,” said Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill.

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