Top Connecticut Democrat lawmaker dead at 71

Melody A. Currey, a powerhouse Democrat state lawmaker in Connecticut who also served as mayor of East Hartford, died Monday at the age of 71.

Her son, state Rep. Jeff Currey, told the CT Mirror that she passed away as she was being driven to a dialysis appointment.

“She and dad were on the way to the appointment this morning,” Jeff Currey said.

“They were at a red light. The sun came out. She said, ‘I can’t do this. I love you.’ And she died.”

The Mirror noted Currey was known as a woman “who always seemed to find her own way as a blunt practitioner of politics in 25 years as a state lawmaker, East Hartford mayor and state commissioner.”

Currey was first elected to the state House of General Assembly in 1992.

She stayed in the lower chamber of Connecticut’s state Capitol until 2005, after her election as mayor of East Hartford.

Then, in January of 2011, she was appointed to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration as commissioner of motor vehicles.

In Malloy’s second term, she took a position as head of the commissioner of administrative services, where she arguably left a greater mark.

“As the commissioner of administrative services, Currey oversaw a complex series of purchases and renovations that moved state agencies from expensive leased space,” the Mirror reported.

“After the purchase and renovation of an office building on Farmington Avenue in Hartford and the two-tower Connecticut River Plaza downtown, the State Office Building near the Capitol was emptied and gutted.

“On a hard-hat tour of the River Plaza complex she conducted for Malloy in 2016, she noted with satisfaction that her 15th-floor office in one tower would be higher than the one slated for Kevin Sullivan, the former Senate leader who was Malloy’s commissioner of revenue services, a reflection of long-standing House and Senate rivalries.”

Her remarks that day: “I told Sullivan, ‘I always wanted to look down on you.’”

“She always did things the way and when she wanted,” Jeff Currey said.

She leaves behind her husband Don as well as three children.