Senator James Jeffords, 80

Senator James Jeffords, 80

Vermonters on Monday mourned the death of former U.S. Sen. James Jeffords.

“Jane and I join all Vermonters in sending condolences to the family of Jim Jeffords,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was elected in 2006 to the Senate seat that Jeffords had held since 1989. “Jim was one of the most popular elected officials in the modern history of the state – serving at the local, state and federal levels. Vermonters admired him because of his low-key and down-to-earth qualities, and because of his obvious and strong love of the state and the Vermont way of life.  He was an effective champion of education, disability rights, the environment and the arts – and millions of Americans have benefited from his efforts,” Sanders added.

Sanders also noted that Senator Jeffords changed the Senate in 2001 when he quit the Republican Party and became an independent. “He displayed enormous courage by leaving a party that, he often said, had left him because of its dramatic move to the right,” Sanders said.  “Jim was a friend and he will be sorely missed.”