Former Westbrook state senator dies at age 72

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Sen. Eileen Daily

Sen. Eileen Daily

HARTFORD — Connecticut officials are mourning the death of former veteran state Sen. Eileen Daily, recalling her sense of humor, forthrightness, brevity and advocacy for her constituents.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday called the Westbrook Democrat “one of the toughest elected officials in the state,” but said her “jovial disposition” made people around her feel at ease.

Daily died Wednesday. She was 72.

Daily served nearly 20 years in the General Assembly, including as co-chairman of the powerful Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee. She retired in 2012, saying public office had become physically demanding since being diagnosed with cancer.

“Eileen Daily was a dedicated and passionate public servant – first in local office, then in the State Senate,” Connecticut Democratic Party Chair Nick Balletto. “She always stood by her principles and fought for her constituents, but she did it with grace and was widely respected on both sides of the aisle. Eileen embodied the best of the Democratic Party, and I send my condolences to her family and friends.”

“Eileen Daily was always a strong willed person,” said Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos “She had a tough exterior, but also a gentle collegial approach. I remember she always had a better handle on the state budget than most and it was clear that she put in the time and the energy to serve our state proudly. My deepest sympathy and condolences go to her family and loved ones.”

“Sen. Daily was a true champion for small towns and for the people of the 33rd Senate District,” said Senator Art Linares. “She worked tirelessly on behalf of her constituents, and her environmental advocacy will be a lasting legacy for our region and throughout Connecticut. She was personable and she knew the issues inside and out. Sen. Daily was respected by everyone at the State Capitol. ”

Daily represented Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

She was also a former Westbrook first selectman and school board member.