First openly gay, statewide-elected lawmaker, Ed Flanagan of Vermont, dies at 66

Ed Flanagan
Credited as the first openly gay statewide elected official in the United States, Ed Flanagan served as Vermont's auditor of accounts (1993–2001) and state senator (2005–2011). Photo courtesy WCAX News.

‘‘He was passionate and very progressive,’’ said Vermont state Representative Mary Sullivan of her long-time friend Ed Flanagan, the first openly gay, statewide-elected lawmaker in the US. ‘‘He was guided by a moral compass.’’

Flanagan, who served as Vermont’s state auditor (1993–2001) and state senator (2005–2011) died on November 6 at a nursing home in New Hampshire. He was 66 years old.

According to an Associated Press report:

Mr. Flanagan suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2005 car crash that left him in a coma for several weeks. Sullivan said Mr. Flanagan’s declining health in recent years was a result of those injuries.

Mr. Flanagan was first elected auditor in 1992. He was elected to three additional two-year terms, including two after he came out as gay in 1995.

In 2000, after leaving the auditor’s post, Mr. Flanagan ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate seat then held by Republican James Jeffords. He was elected to the state Senate in 2004. He was reelected in 2006, after he was injured in the car crash, and again in 2008.