One of her colleagues told the state Bond Commission Tuesday that he’s never known anyone like Rep. Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Boukus, who could make a “no” sound like a “yes.”
Boukus, a 22-year veteran lawmaker, lost her re-election bid earlier this month to Dr. William A. Petit. Her colleagues and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy paid tribute to her contributions before the state Bond Commission meeting Tuesday.
During her tenure as co-chair of the bonding subcommittee, Boukus had to say no to plenty of lawmakers who were looking to get funding for capital projects in their districts.
But Rep. Carlo Leone, D-Stamford, said Boukus never saw the requests as a “Republican request or a Democratic request. You always saw it as a request that was important to someone and their community.”
“You had an uncanny ability to make a no sound like a yes,” Leone told Boukus.
He said he doesn’t think anyone will be able to measure up to Boukus’ dedication to the job and visits to each of the sites being considered for bonding.
Even when it would have been okay to take a break, “you never did phone it in,” Leone said.
Boukus choked back tears as she thanked her colleagues for their kind words and she said enjoyed touring the state and working to make people may think a little differently about their project, since she knew they weren’t going to get all the money they requested.
Rep. Jeff Berger, D-Waterbury, said Boukus cared not only about her district but about the entire state.
“You’ve made a difference in everyone’s life in the state of Connecticut,” Berger told Boukus.
Rep. Livvy Floren, R-Greenwich, described Boukus as a “force of nature” who is collegial and inclusive. Floren said she will miss driving around the state in Boukus’ red convertible to look at projects.
“I felt as if we were Thelma and Louise,” Floren joked.
Boukus, who was known for interrupting Malloy, chairman of the state Bond Commission, called the governor a “visionary.” Malloy presented Boukus with a proclamation following the meeting.
She will serve until her term expires on Jan. 4.