State Rep. Terry Backer dies at age 61; fought for environmental issues

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STRATFORD — State Representative Terry Backer died after suffering from brain cancer Monday night.

Backer was involved in many environmental issues and was also the “Soundkeeper,” and worked tirelessly in making sure Long Island Sound was clean and safe.

As Soundkeeper, Backer fought to protect the state’s most popular natural resource and inspired over 200 other water keepers across 20 countries. Soundkeeper is a non-profit agency dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the integrity of Long Island Sound and its watershed. Backer was 61.

In the General Assembly, Backer often looked as if he just came in from a fishing boat. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1993 representing Stratford, he was re-elected in 2014.

“ As a fellow shoreline lawmaker, I greatly admired Terry’s tireless advocacy for the Long Island Sound and his fight to protect one of Connecticut’s most precious natural resources. He was incredibly dedicated. He was determined. He was a fighter. Terry Backer left a lasting impression on every lawmaker in this state. His legacy of environmental protection will forever be a part of our state, its history, and future policy,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano.

“Through his many years representing Stratford in the Connecticut General Assembly, Terry fought tirelessly to protect our Long Island Sound.  From helping to pass environmental legislation to raising money to protect the Sound he held so dear; Terry was a statesman and made our Town proud. His passing is such a loss to our region, our state and our neighborhood.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family in this difficult time,” said State Senator Kevin Kelly.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “Terry had a big heart – a relentless love for everything that exists and lives on the planet and a tireless devotion to public service and the people of Stratford and Connecticut.  I will remember him and his legacy in the beauty of the Sound.”

“Terry made everyone around him understand that Connecticut’s economy and its cultural character were intimately tied to the health of Long Island Sound and the rivers and streams that flow into it,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy