Former Republican Sen. Lowell P. Weicker died Wednesday at the age of 92.
Weicker, who also served as governor of Connecticut from 1991 to 1995, passed away at a hospital in Middletown, Conn., after a short illness, according to a family statement.
The Republican was first elected to Connecticut’s General Assembly in 1962. He was later elected to the U.S. Senate, serving from 1971 to 1989.
Weicker served on the Senate’s special committee on Watergate in 1973. Weicker was one of three Republicans represented on the seven-person committee.
A brash politician, Weicker did not shy away from criticizing President Richard Nixon.
‘More and more, events were making it clear that the Nixon White House was a cauldron of corruption,’ Weicker wrote in his memoir, ‘Maverick: A Life in Politics’. ‘And even as disclosures kept coming, more and more national leaders were acting as though nothing especially unusual had happened.’
Weicker, who was considered a Rockefeller Republican by some conservatives, broke with his party on major social issues of his day, such as abortion and school prayer.
As senator, he sponsored the Protection and Advocacy for the Mentally Ill Act and introduced legislation that would become the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. As governor of Connecticut, Weicker fought against income tax increases but eventually relented, which helped fix Connecticut’s $963 million deficit.
‘It is with great sadness that we learn the news of the passing of former Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.,’ Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont tweeted on Wednesday. ‘I am directing U.S. and state flags lowered in his honor effective immediately.’
Lamont had previously described Weicker as a genuine friend.
‘I think he was just incredibly genuine, a little unfiltered,’ Lamont told The Associated Press in 2021. ‘And we sort of miss that in this day and age with the teleprompter.’
In a statement, Weicker’s family said he was ‘the center of our universe.’
‘In nearly four decades of public service, he used his position to protect the Constitution of the United States and to improve the lives of people who had no power advocating for education, health care and research, civil rights and equal opportunity,’ the statement read.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.