Former Merrimack Valley Lawmaker Sue Tucker Dies, At 79

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BOSTON (State House News Service— Former Sen. Susan Tucker, who represented parts of the Merrimack Valley for two decades in the Legislature, died on Monday at the age of 79, the Eagle-Tribune reported.

The Andover Democrat served in the House from 1983 to 1991, then returned to Beacon Hill as a senator from 1999 to 2011.

In her farewell speech to Senate colleagues, Tucker recalled how "there were so few women in this building" when she first worked in the State House as an aide to Rep. Walter Bickford.

Running for her first Senate term in 1998, she cited a "pathetic" number of women in elected office as one of her reasons for jumping back onto the campaign trail.

"We haven't made many gains since I was in [the House] ... We are just starting to build the kind of networks to raise money and compete in the political arena," she said at the time.

Senate President Karen Spilka on Tuesday called Tucker "a trailblazer in every way" and said she was "just the 65th woman elected to the Massachusetts Legislature when she won her State Rep seat."

"Sue was a true fighter for the people of her district and this Commonwealth, and a strong voice for seniors, consumers, homeowners and renters. Today, we remember Sue as a colleague and friend, and her keep her family and loved ones in our thoughts," Spilka wrote in a statement to the News Service.

An outspoken opponent of casino gaming -- it was not legalized here until after she retired from the Legislature -- Tucker also focused on housing and homelessness issues, and co-chaired the Joint Committee on Housing at the end of her career.

In her farewell speech, she encouraged her Senate colleagues to "just stay close to the people that sent you here, because they're your real customers."

"Try to look at things through their lens. It's so hard when you get under this Golden Dome, the people you represent feel so far away. So always, always stay close to them," Tucker said. "And I just hope I've been a small part of your lives, because you have been a huge part of my life."

Written by Sam Drysdale/SHNS

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