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Local political leaders react to Senator John McCain’s death

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., gives a thumbs up as he arrives at his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va. McCain’s family says the Arizona senator has chosen to discontinue medical treatment for brain cancer. | Photo/Gerald Herbert)

People from across the political aisle and across Connecticut have offered their own thoughts on the death of the “Maverick” of the United States Senate, John McCain.

Sympathy and support for McCain are coming from near and far.

Bristol Connecticut Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu posted on Facebook:

I am saddened by the passing of Senator John McCain. Senator McCain served the country in war and public service with courage and commitment. He was a true statesman. Ironically, he died on the same day as Senator Edward M. Kennedy, 9 years later. They were on opposite sides of the aisle, politically & at times philosophically, but often worked together well. It’s that type of working for the greater good that people want and deserve from their elected officials.

In a statement, Governor Malloy recognized McCain’s dedication to his country as a veteran and congressman.

“John McCain is a hero who put his life on the line to defend our nation during a turbulent time of war, experiencing torture and suffering that left him with lifelong physical wounds, and yet on his return home he continued lived his life as humble and unassuming as even the most modest among us,” Malloy said. “Throughout his time in elected office, whether you agreed or disagreed with him on any policy issue, nobody could deny that Senator McCain truly studied every matter intricately and made a decision based on what he thought was best for the people he was elected to represent. He set standards that all of us should try to emulate. The entire McCain family has given so much for our country, particularly through their long and respected line of military service, and our hearts are with them on this day of mourning.”

Chris Larson Representative for Connecticut in District 1 said “John McCain was an iconic American hero, whose life of principle, centered around leadership and was dedicated to service above self, to country, and the human condition over petty politics and personal gain. The McCain moment that is seared in the mind of so many Americans was during the 2008 Presidential race with everything on the line in the heat of battle, in the midst of the debate, when he pauses and corrects a woman’s racist stereotyping of Barack Obama. It was an example of valor that has been on display throughout his life, and underscored at that moment when it mattered most to do what was right! You didn’t have to agree with him to recognize his heroism love of country and unwavering adherence to doing the right thing….. This is a sad day for America. My deepest condolences to his wife Cindy, children, loved ones, and to fellow Americans who share this grief.”

Both Connecticut senators also reacted to the news of McCain’s death, both referring to his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

“Our country lost an American hero and true public servant tonight,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said.

“John McCain was the epitome of grit and grace, and his selfless service will continue to inspire this nation to choose courage over cowardice, and country over party. From his tremendous bravery as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to his spirited and steadfast leadership in Congress, Senator McCain will forever be remembered for his numerous contributions to our nation. I was honored to travel and work closely with him as a member of the Armed Services Committee, and count him as a friend. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones as they grieve this loss. Let us honor his memory, and may this maverick rest in peace.”

Sen. Christopher Murphy took to Twitter to share a story about McCain.

“A few years ago, the whole Senate gathered to hear John tell, in spellbinding detail, his POW story,” Murphy said. “I remember he described how he developed a system of tapping out letters on the cell walls to talk to nearby POWs, (because) they would be beaten if they spoke.”

“When it was time for questions, Diane Feinstein asked John if he could still recall, 40 years later, how the system worked,” Murphy added. “He didn’t say a word. He just started a rhythmic, staccato tapping on the podium. ‘I just tapped out ‘Yes, Diane, I still can,’ he whispered into the mic.”

And former President Barack Obama, who beat McCain to become president in 2008 offered this tribute: “Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt.”

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been asked to deliver eulogies at the funeral on Saturday.

McCain didn’t want Donald Trump to attend.

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