Democrats in New Hampshire are mourning the loss of a once-prominent and powerful progressive leader in the state.
Former state Rep. Robert “Renny” Cushing, the former leader of the Democratic minority in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, reportedly died Monday at the age of 69, local media outlet Seacoastonline reported.
Cancer the culprit
Cushing was said to have been surrounded by his loved ones as he finally succumbed to the Stage 4 prostate cancer he had been battling for nearly two years.
The outlet reported that Cushing was first diagnosed with the disease in August 2020 and, in light of the fact that his cancer had already metastasized and spread to other parts of his body, he had been given a span of nine to 18 months left to live by doctors.
He continued to serve in the New Hampshire House, however, and only recently stepped down from his position last week in order to focus more on his health. “I have fought my entire life for the people of New Hampshire and served in the legislature for more than 20 years — but for now, I need to focus on another fight,” Cushing said at that time in a statement announcing his decision to his fellow Democrats.
A progressive fighter
According to local ABC affiliate WMUR, Cushing was praised by his former colleagues, including his successor, acting Democratic leader David Cote, who said, “Renny never put himself first, and that was never more obvious than in his valiant fight against cancer.”
“When anyone else would have put aside all but personal concerns, Renny never retreated from devotion to the progressive causes that had been his lifeblood, or from his service to the people of New Hampshire and the institution of the House,” Cote added.
Indeed, the Associated Press reported that Cushing had been a prominent progressive voice in the state in opposition to nuclear power plants and helped get the death penalty abolished in New Hampshire.
He was also a champion for the legalization of medical marijuana in the state and, according to Seacoastonline, had been “instrumental” in getting same-sex marriages legalized in the state in 2009.
Even praised by Republicans
Though Cushing had long been an outspoken progressive leftist, he nonetheless also had a reputation for working across the aisle to find common ground with his Republican colleagues.
“I am saddened by the passing of Leader Cushing,” state House Speaker Sherman Packard (R) said in a statement, per WMUR. “He was highly respected amongst his peers in the House and throughout the state of New Hampshire. He was a passionate and dedicated public servant — never afraid to take on controversial issues for the sake of bettering this great state.”
According to Seacoastonline, Cushing was also heralded by former Republican state Sen. Nancy Stiles, who had worked together with Cushing on a number of different things to benefit their home communities. “He was all about social issues, things that were going to help people,” she said. “Anything that would help people he was supportive of. He will be missed. He’s a great guy, good friend.”