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John Dempsey

Gov. John Dempsey

  • January 21, 1961 - January 6, 1971
  • Democrat
  • January 3, 1915
  • July 16, 1989
  • Other
  • Providence College
  • Married Mary Dempsey, four children
  • Succeeded


JOHN NOEL DEMPSEY was born January 3, 1915, in Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland. He attended Providence College. He was a member of the city council, Putnam, Connecticut, 1938-1949; executive secretary to Congresswoman Chase Going Woodhouse, 1946-1948; mayor of Putnam (six terms); state representative, Connecticut General Assembly, 1949-1955; executive aide to the governor, 1955-1959; and lieutenant governor, 1959-1961. Dempsey succeeded to the office of governor upon Governor Abraham Ribicoff’s resignation January 24, 1961, and he served until 1971. In 1969, legislative leaders of both parties introduced the Legislative Management Act to establish professional support staff and control the operating budget of the Assembly. When Governor Dempsey vetoed the bill, both houses voted unanimously to override his veto, and the General Assembly emerged as a co-equal branch of government. No longer would legislators depend on executive agencies for information or rely on party leaders for direction. During his tenure, he served on the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, the National Governors’ Conference Executive Committee (1968-1969), and he chaired the New England Governors’ Conference from 1963 to 1965 and the Democratic Governors’ Conference from 1969-1970. He passed away July 16, 1989 and is interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Putnam, Connecticut.

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