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Kentucky state Senator Tom Buford dies

July 6, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2006, file photo, Kentucky state Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, announces Senate Bill 93 which suppresses protesters at military funerals, in the Senate chamber in Frankfort, Ky. Kentucky Senate President Pro Tempore David Givens announced Tuesday, July 6, 2021, that Buford has died. He was 72. (AP Photo/Patti Longmire, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2006, file photo, Kentucky state Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, announces Senate Bill 93 which suppresses protesters at military funerals, in the Senate chamber in Frankfort, Ky. Kentucky Senate President Pro Tempore David Givens announced Tuesday, July 6, 2021, that Buford has died. He was 72. (AP Photo/Patti Longmire, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky (AP) — Kentucky state Sen. Tom Buford has died, Senate President Pro Tempore David Givens announced Tuesday. He was 72 years old.

Buford, of Nicholasville, represented the 22nd District in the Kentucky Senate for more than 30 years. He served as Senate Republican whip from 1991 to 1992.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourned Buford’s passing Tuesday, expressing condolences for his family members.

In a statement, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recalled Buford as a “a giant of the Kentucky Senate.”

“I had the pleasure of working closely with Tom and know how deeply committed he was to our state and its people,” McConnell said. “Tom was unafraid to take on tough issues and fought hard for Kentucky’s most vulnerable, with a special focus on the disabled. The impact of his work could be felt far beyond the borders of his State Senate district, improving the lives of Kentuckians throughout the Commonwealth.”

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On behalf of the Kentucky Senate Majority Office, Givens said Buford’s “wit, intellect, and zest for life will be missed by all who knew him.”

A statement from Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus remembered Buford as a “true public servant who was full of life, laughter, and had a contagious laughter that could light up any room.”

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, in a tweet, said, “I am sad to hear of the passing of Senator Tom Buford. Britainy and I pray for solace and peace for his family.”

Buford was a member of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee, Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and The Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee.

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Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.