NJ State Sen. Anthony Bucco Dies at Age 81
State Senator Anthony Bucco died on Monday following a heart attack at the age of 81, according to a family spokesman.
“It is with great sadness I share that Senator Tony Bucco suffered a major heart attack this morning at his home. He passed peacefully this evening with his family by his side at Saint Clare’s Hospital in Denville. The family kindly asks for privacy at this time," spokesman Michael DuHaime said in a statement on Monday night.
Bucco, who had served as mayor of Boonton, as a Morris County freeholder, as a state assemblyman and since 1998 as a state senator, was married to his wife Helen for more than 50 years and was the father of Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco.
One of his last legislative achievements was a bill granting free beach access to military personnel and veterans at state facilities. He had also spoken out against a what he considered a hastily written bill that signs up more registered voters to automatically receive vote-by-mail ballots for all elections.
“One thing is clear today, that when the majority party of this Legislature wants to take action on an issue, you will do so quickly and to the extent that you see fit,” Bucco said.
Senate Republican leader Tom Kean remembered Bucco as "a gentleman who earned trust on both sides of the aisle by being a man of his word. Most importantly, he was a devoted husband, loving father, and proud grandfather" he called a "great man and great friend."
Gov. Phil Murphy, currently on a trade mission in India, said Bucco served the people of Morris County and the state for 41 years taking on issues large and small.
"A dedicated public servant and successful businessman, Senator Bucco brought a perspective and commitment to his work that elevated our public discourse," Murphy wrote.
Former Gov. Chris Christie via Twitter said he was friends with Bucco for more than 25 years and called him a "tough, passionate and effective mayor, freeholder, assemblyman and senator for the people of NJ."
"His collegial and civil approach to governing was always welcomed in the Statehouse. He was a true gentleman, a respected civil servant and staunch advocate for the people of New Jersey. He was a giant in the State Legislature,' Assembly Democrats said in a Twitter message.