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Former Rep. Richard Mallary, who briefly represented Vermont in the 1970s, died at age 82.
The Republican served in the Vermont state House and state Senate before winning the 1971 special election to replace then-Rep. Robert Stafford (R), who had been appointed to fill a vacant Senate seat. Mallary was elected to a full term, then opted to run for the Senate in 1974 instead of seeking another term. He lost that bid to Democrat Patrick Leahy, the office’s current holder and a Washington, D.C., newcomer at the time.
“Dick Mallary was one of the outstanding public servants in recent Vermont history and I was very sad to learn of his passing,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement. “Dick was a leader in the Vermont Legislature, and served Vermont proudly in the U.S. House of Representatives. The last time I saw Dick he was still serving his community as member of the board of trustees of Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. Dick was a wonderful human being who represented the best of Vermont. He will be greatly missed.”
As a legislator, Mallary was not afraid to cross party lines in order to stick with his principles, according to Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D).
“He was a man who put the interests of this state and all Vermonters ahead of party politics, a commitment reflected in his support of civil unions that was key to passage of the important legislation,” Shumlin said. “Dick’s passing is a loss for Vermont, and particularly for those of us who respected him and considered him a friend.”
Mallary stayed active in politics long after he left office. In 2010 he was a member of Patient Choices Vermont, a group which advocated for a bill that would have offer end-of-life options to terminally ill patients. The bill was introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives this year.
Mallary is survived by his wife, Jean, and four children.