State Rep. Elaine O’Brien, 58, of Suffield, passed away overnight after a long battle with cancer, according to state officials.
O’Brien represented the 61st District, which includes Suffield, East Granby and Windsor.
Gov. Dannel Malloy has directed that state flags be lowered to half-staff in O’Brien’s memory.
“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,” Malloy said in a statement. “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.”
State Rep. O’Brien was Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee and served on the Commerce and Transportation Committees.
State Rep. O’Brien also served as Suffield’s town clerk and was involved in the community for more than 20 years, serving on the Zoning and Planning Commission and Board of Education.
“The General Assembly has lost an outstanding Representative who fought tirelessly to remain committed to the needs of her constituents – from families to small business owners to workers. Our hearts are broken today as we mourn her loss and reflect on her service,” Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said.
State of Connecticut flags will remain at half-staff until the day of O’Brien’s burial, which has not yet been determined.
Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey shared a statement that has been posted on the House Democrats Web site.
"It is with great sorrow that I share the news that Representative Elaine O'Brien has passed away after a courageous battle with brain cancer. Elaine served the 61st District and the entire State of Connecticut with great distinction fighting for the needs of all of our citizens. Elaine was a great friend to all of us, her beautiful smile and great sense of humor will be missed. Our condolences go out to her husband Justin, her children, and her entire family," Sharkey wrote.
State Rep. David Baram wrote that he saw O'Brien three weeks ago at Mass. General Hospital in Boston and a day ago at Hebrew Health Care in West Hartford.
"She was so brave, driven and optimistic. During her last few weeks, Elaine kept saying how lucky she was, to have have such a supportive family and so many friends. She cherished her very large family and her many friends," he wrote.
Baram said O'Brien had been a pilot and flew the skies regularly.
"May her last flight take her to a better place where Elaine can find eternal peace and happiness," Baram wrote.
“Connecticut Democrats join in mourning the loss of state Representative Elaine O'Brien, who served her constituents in the East Granby, Suffield and Windsor areas loyally,” state Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said in a statement. “She will be remembered as an advocate for the children and families of Connecticut."