First Democratic speaker of Vt. House since 1850s dies

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) The first Democratic speaker of the Vermont House and the longtime town moderator for his hometown of Brattleboro has died at 81.

The Atamaniuk Funeral Home in Brattleboro says Timothy O'Connor Jr. died Tuesday. The Brattleboro Reformer reports Select Board member John Allen said O'Connor died after a short illness.

O'Connor was born in Brattleboro and served as a Democrat in the state House of Representatives from 1969 to 1981. He was elected Speaker of the House in 1975, becoming the first Democrat in that position since the 1850s.

Current Democratic Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said O'Connor was known for his kindness, fairness, and pragmatic leadership.

O'Connor retired in 2011.

He is survived by his wife, Martha, and his three children.

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