Melody Currey, family and file photos
Melody Currey, who died at age 71 on Monday, served as a state representative, mayor, and was commissioner of two different state departments before she retired in 2019. Credit: Family & File photos / Contributed & CTNewsJunkie images

Longtime Democratic political powerhouse Melody Currey has died at age 71.

The former state representative from East Hartford was known for her ability to get things done for her community. 

Her time in political office spanned both local and state politics, where she served stints as a state representative, East Hartford’s mayor, and as commissioner of the departments of Motor Vehicles and Administrative Services separately.

“Whenever I had a particularly difficult problem, she always provided sound advice on how to make things happen and get things done,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said. “She was a mentor to me and so many other women in local and state government. She was a true trailblazer for women in politics, empowering them in both state government and public service.”

Gov. Ned Lamont called Currey a “powerhouse of an advocate.”

“Whether it be through her elected roles as state representative and mayor, or as commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Administrative Services, she was a fierce proponent of enacting policy improvements that create a more effective, accessible, and equitable state for everyone,” Lamont said. “She mentored any and all who were interested in serving their community as she possessed a passion for putting the needs of others above self. Her passing is a significant loss for our state.”

East Hartford Mayor Michael Walsh said Currey was a wonderful person to work with. She was mayor when Walsh was director of finance.

“Melody was a wonderful boss, a great mentor, an incredible leader, and a dear friend who dedicated her life to the betterment of the East Hartford community,” Walsh said. “She was a political icon who touched the lives of so many in such a positive way. In the coming days you will be hearing more stories about what she meant to our community and the tremendous impact she had on East Hartford.”

Currey retired from state government in 2019. She is survived by her husband, Don, and children Jeff, Becky, and Matthew. Her son, Jeff Currey, is a member of Connecticut’s House of Representatives.

Before winning the mayor’s office in 2005, Currey was elected to seven terms in the General Assembly, representing East Hartford’s 10th House District. She also served as deputy House speaker under former Speaker Moira Lyons.

Currey was first elected to the mayor’s office in 2006. She was tapped by former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2013 to run the Department of Motor Vehicles and later the Department of Administrative Services.