Rep. Jim Hutchinson, a two-term Democrat from Randolph, has died. He was found dead yesterday in his home, fellow Rep. Patsy French said. He was a week shy of his 61st birthday.
Hutchinson, a big man with a big beard and booming voice, also served on the Selectboard in his native Randolph. He served on the Appropriations Committee in the Legislature.
"He was a wonderful person," said French, who knew him for many years and whose husband grew up with Hutchinson. The retired construction manager, who had worked as a crane operator, was a natural for local civic involvement, she said. "He loved being in contact with people, talking with constituents."
He had planned to run for re-election, filing his candidacy by last week's deadline.
House Speaker Gaye Symington said of Hutchinson:
"His booming voice never left anyone wondering where he stood, either in
principle on an issue, or in location in the House. His easy and deep
laugh must have made him a ready stand-in if Santa got way-laid on his travels
to rural Vermont.
"On behalf of the entire House, I send my deepest regrets to Jim's wife,
Leslie, and their family. I know his colleagues in the House will miss Jim
tremendously. Randolph has lost a true leader and voice of common sense
and integrity. Vermont is a wiser and kinder place because of his
- Terri Hallenbeck