Retiring Sen. Eileen Daily of Westbrook thought she would get away without being toasted, roasted, and memorialized by her colleagues if she announced her retirement after the regular legislative session. But Tuesday’s special session provided the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to her 20 year legislative career.
Daily, the powerful finance committee co-chairwoman, was described by her colleagues as “a true quiet leader.”
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said she knows the two-hour tribute was, for Daily, “the worst couple of hours she’s spent in this chamber.”
“She did not announce her retirement because she did not want to go through this,” Wyman said.
Daily, who is known for her brevity, stood up to speak at the end of the tribute and said, “Thank you,” before sitting back down. The applause lasted for more than a minute before she rose again to speak.
She talked about how blessed she was to serve in both local and state government for almost three decades.
Daily announced her retirement in May. Daily’s family, including her two grandchildren, were by her side Tuesday as she was celebrated by her colleagues.
In an earlier interview she said the long hours and late nights have taken their toll on her physically and she wanted to spend more time with her family.
“I’ve been to dance lessons and hockey lessons, but I’ve never been to a school play,” Daily said.
Daily, 69, has been diagnosed with cancer but is in remission. She also is recuperating from a broken ankle.
She has represented the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook since 1993.