Former Connecticut House GOP leader Robert Ward dies at 68

Former Connecticut House Gop Leader Robert Ward Dies At 68
Bob Child

FILE - In this May 3, 2006 file photo, members of the House applaud House Minority Leader Robert Ward, R-North Branford, as the House adjourns their regular 2006 session at the state Capitol in Hartford, Conn. Ward, a key player in state government for decades, died Sunday, May 9, 2021, at age 68.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Former Connecticut House Republican leader Robert Ward, a key player in state government for decades, has died at age 68.

Ward died Sunday at his home in North Branford, according to Brian Havens, owner and director of the North Haven Funeral Home. The cause of death was not released.

Ward served as a state legislator for 22 years, the last 12 as House Republican leader, a position he held for longer than anyone else in Connecticut history.

After declining to run for reelection to the legislature in 2006, Ward held positions as state motor vehicles commissioner and state auditor.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, a New Haven Democrat, called Ward “the epitome of a public servant” in a statement Monday.

“He will be sorely missed and his years as a legislator, DMV Commissioner, and State Auditor will stand as an ongoing model for other public officials to emulate,” Looney said.

Hartford Courant columnist Kevin F. Rennie, a Republican former state senator, said in a blog post Sunday that Ward “entered the thin ranks of the heroic” when he supported an impeachment inquiry into Gov. John Rowland, a fellow Republican.

Rowland resigned in 2004 during a corruption investigation and has served two terms in federal prison.