Former Vermont U.S. Sen. Jeffords dies at 80

Former Vermont U.S. Sen. Jeffords dies at 80

JIM JEFFORDS: In this May 24, 2001, file photo, Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont announces he will become an independent at a news conference in Burlington, Vt. Photo: Associated Press/Toby Talbot

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The former U.S. senator from Vermont who in 2001 tipped control of the Senate when he quit the Republican Party to become an independent has died. James Jeffords was 80.

Diane Derby, a former aide, says Jeffords died Monday in Washington. She said he had been in declining health.

Jeffords had announced in 2005 that he would not seek a fourth term, citing his and his wife’s health problems. His wife, Liz, died in 2007.

PHOTOS: 2014 Notable Deaths

Jeffords served more than 30 years in Washington. He won election to the House in 1974 as a Republican.

He was the only Republican in the House to vote against President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts in 1981. A decade late, upset with President George W. Bush’s opposition to the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, Jeffords decided that was the last straw. In May of 2001, he declared he would leave the Republicans and caucus with the Democrats.

Recent Headlines

in Weird

Man seeks woman … from 40 years ago


This is one really big "missed connection!"

in Viral Videos

WATCH: Daisy drives Oliver


You've heard of "Driving Miss Daisy." Well, this is a little different.

in Music

Rob Zombie launches haunted house


The rocker says people should expect to be "offended or scared or horrified or disgusted."

in Weird

Unlucky driver gets 1,645 traffic tickets


A Kuwaiti driver who apparently thought having license plates from another Gulf country would help avoid more than 1,600 traffic citations has been hit with a huge fine.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: A message from Donald & Melania Trump


Taran Killam and Cecily Strong clear up some of the misconceptions about The Donald, like that he hates women and immigrants.