- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A former New York state senator who represented Long Island for 40 years has died.

Owen Johnson died early Wednesday at his home in West Bablyon. He was 85.

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos announced Johnson’s death. He said the Republican lawmaker was “beloved” by constituents and respected by legislators from both parties.

Johnson served in the state Senate from 1972 to 2012. He led the Senate Finance Committee and was a strong backer of tax cuts and government spending caps. He sponsored legislation that created the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. One of his final bills banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Senate’s Democrats, called Johnson “a true gentleman.”

Johnson is survived by his wife as well as children and grandchildren.

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