Louis DeLuca, a former Republican leader of the Connecticut state Senate who served 17 years in the General Assembly before reluctantly resigning, has died at age 89.
DeLuca died on Friday after a long illness, according to Waterbury Republican-American and Legacy.com.
DeLuca left the General Assembly in 2007 as his colleagues were considering whether to force him to turn over records in a federal criminal case. DeLuca at the time had already pleaded guilty to a charge related to him asking a trash hauler with suspected organized crime ties to threaten a man DeLuca believed was abusing his granddaughter.
DeLuca repeatedly stressed he had not violated the public’s trust and the issue was a family matter.
“I believe in my heart that my actions were designed to protect my family and to keep my family whole and safe from the horrible nature of domestic violence,” he said when he announced his resignation.
A fiscal conservative who advocated for the environment, DeLuca was known for being willing to compromise at times with the Democrats. He garnered sympathy as well as appreciation for his legislative work from many of his constituents and remained active in local politics in his hometown of Woodbury until his death.
Woodbury First Selectman Barbara K. Perkinson told the Waterbury Republican-American that she knew DeLuca and his family for more than 50 years, saying the town had “lost a true champion” for the northwestern Connecticut community.
“He was admired and a dedicated statesman who always had the best interest of the public first,” Perkinson said.
The newspaper reported DeLuca received a standing ovation during an appearance at the Woodbury Republican Town Committee nearly two weeks ago.