Obuchowski receives O’Connor Award

BELLOWS FALLS — Former Speaker of the Vermont House Michael J. “Obie” Obuchowski was awarded the Timothy J. O'Connor Award recently by the Brattleboro Town Democratic Committee.

Obuchowski, a native of Bellows Falls, was cited for his impact on state and national politics. A graduate of Bellows Falls High School, Obuchowski attended Harvard University for two years but left at the age of 20 to run for the Vermont House. He was re-elected 19 times and served as Speaker of the House from 1995 to 2001. In 2011, he resigned to become Commissioner of the Department of Buildings and General Services.

His 38-year tenure is the longest in the history of the Vermont House. He served as chairman of the House committees on Education, Energy, Commerce, Ways and Means, and Appropriations. He also served as chairman of the Vermont General Assembly's Joint Energy, Transportation Oversight, Telecommunications Study, and Fiscal committees.

Obuchowski was praised for his attention to his constituents in his district, personally responding to every letter, telephone call or email he received.

The O'Connor Award was established in recognition of the political contributions of its namesake, Timothy J. O'Connor of Brattleboro, its first recipient in 2010. O'Connor is a former Speaker of the House, the first Democrat elected to that post. Last year's awardee was Gov. Peter Shumlin.

James Valente, chairman of the Brattleboro Democratic Committee, said the award pays tribute to the people who have had a positive impact on Brattleboro and other Windham County towns.

O'Connor made the presentation at American Legion Post 37 in Bellows Falls, with additional comments and reminiscences by former Gov. Thomas Salmon, former State Rep. Thomas Costello, and Obuchowski's boyhood friend John Cray.

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