Courtesy of the House Dems
Rep. Linda Orange (Courtesy of the House Dems)

HARTFORD, CT —  Pancreatic cancer is forcing state Rep. Linda Orange, who has been serving Colchester, Lebanon, Windham, and Mansfield for 23 years, to leave elected office.

In a brief statement, Orange said she will need to focus all of her energy on her treatment.

“I have enjoyed working with the people of the 48th District and with all of the towns that I have served over the years. Being your state representative for the past 23 years has been an honor and a joy,” Orange said. “To my friends and colleagues: we have laughed a lot, we have agreed and disagreed and we have always come together to reach a compromise. I am very proud of the work that we have done together.”

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter said that Orange “is a fierce legislator who always stands tall for her constituents. Linda is a champion for eastern Connecticut and has an incredible depth of knowledge, especially on public safety issues. If an issue touches police or fire, we know to check in with Linda.”

As a member of the Public Safety and Security Committee, Orange was a staunch supporter of first responders. She has been recognized for her service to first responders by KX Communications, the Connecticut State Firefighters Association, the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut, the Connecticut Council of Police Unions, the Connecticut Coalition of Police and Corrections Officers, the Eastern Connecticut EMS Council, the National Guard Association, the Criminal Investigation and Prevention Association, and the Department of Public Safety.

Orange is also an honorary member of Colchester’s Hayward Volunteer Fire Department and is a Major in the Civil Air Patrol, Legislative Wing.

“Everyone in Colchester and eastern Connecticut can probably relate — you know when Linda enters the room; and her famous “Bye-bye now” as she leaves. Her voice carries … and carries. But her voice also makes you smile. Her humor and incredible commitment always come through the loudest. The Connecticut House of Representatives will miss our friend Linda Orange.”

Even though Orange was a Democrat that didn’t stop her from building friendships and working with Republicans.

“Linda Orange is such an important part of this family we call the Connecticut House of Representatives,” House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said. “In this crazy world of politics we live in , its increasingly difficult to find such a loving , committed , passionate public servant. But her strength is not just her service to her state and community . It’s who she is- a wife, mother , colleague and our friend. We love her and miss her and send all our strength to her.”

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, described Orange as “a tireless advocate for her constituents, devoting so much to serving and representing their voices in Hartford.”

Gov. Ned Lamont said “Virtually anyone who has met Linda Orange would agree that she is the sunshine of the State Capitol – equal parts optimistic, caring, humorous, and joyful, and her warmhearted laugh fills the room. She is a vocal advocate on behalf of her constituents in eastern Connecticut and remains one of the most ardent champions supporting our state’s first responders.”

Her resignation will be effective Feb. 1, 2020.