Friend and colleague remembers former Gov. O'Neill

Former Connecticut Gov. Bill O?Neill died at 77 Saturday in his East Hampton home after being sick for several months.

O?Neill served for more than a decade. He first took office in 1980 after Gov. Ella Grasso stepped down and later died from cancer. O?Neill was then elected into office twice, in 1982 and 1986.

Anthony Milano, former secretary of the state and close friend of O?Neill, says the governor had a tremendous ability to reach out to people. Milano served under the former governor for 11 years.

Milano says O?Neill?s major achievement was taking what ordinary citizens were thinking and turning it into public policy. He says the former governor was a great leader as well as a great friend.

"He was a terrific person to work with and for and he gave you an opportunity to grow. He guided you and gave you an opportunity to grow yourself,? Milano says.

Senators Lieberman and Dodd released statements upon O?Neill?s death. They describe him as a dedicated public servant who served with distinction.

Gov. Jodi Rell has ordered all state and U.S. flags to be flown at half staff this week. O'Neill's funeral is scheduled for later in the week.

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