House colleagues remember State Rep. Elaine O’Brien

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor, Suffield, East Granby - posted Thu., Feb. 27, 2014
The late state Rep. Elaine O’Brien (left) with state Rep. David Baram (D-15). O’Brien died on Feb. 20 after a long battle with cancer. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Democratic state Rep. Elaine O’Brien, who has been serving the 61st District since 2010, died on Feb. 20 after a long battle with cancer. O’Brien served parts of Windsor, Suffield and East Granby. Prior to her election, she served as Town Clerk in Suffield. O’Brien served as vice chair of the Appropriations Committee and was on the Commerce and Transportation Committees.

Those who served closely with her are feeling her loss. State Rep. Peggy Sayers (D-60), who represents Windsor and Windsor Locks, worked with O’Brien often and closely, and knew she was fighting the cancer as hard as she could. “It’s a great loss to the community,” Sayers said. “She did work very hard for the people she served.”

Sayers said that although O’Brien was diagnosed before the last election, she seemed to be doing pretty well and had even planned on running again in the next race.

State Rep. Brandon McGee (D-5), a relative newcomer to the House of Representatives, says he felt welcomed by O’Brien and supported by her friendship. “I remember the first time I met Rep. O’Brien on the floor of the House of Representatives,” he said, “she came up to me and gave me this big hug. She said, ‘You’re the man for the job.’”

McGee said O'Brien was a mother-figure who often helped out the young politicians. “I appreciated her willingness to provide mentorship,” he said. “I admired her commitment to her district despite what she was going through,” said McGee. “I am going to miss her dearly.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered that Connecticut flags be flown at half-staff in honor of O’Brien on Feb. 21 and said, “Elaine was a passionate legislator who dedicated much of her life to public service at the local and state levels, championing proposals to improve the health and safety of Connecticut citizens. Throughout her illness, she remained focused on the people of her district. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and constituents at this difficult time.”

O’Brien leaves behind her husband, Justin Donnelly, sons John Patrick O'Brien and wife Sara, Daniel O'Brien and Thomas O'Brien.

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