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 Music

Mexican Beatles fans attempt costume record


Music fans in Mexico sought to break the world record for gathering together the largest number of people dressed as members of iconic band The Beatles.

in Music

Adele’s ’25’ continues to smash records


British singer Adele's new album sold a record 3.38 million U.S. copies in its first full week, Nielsen Music said, becoming the biggest-selling album of 2015 in an astonishing feat for an era when artists rarely top 1 million.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Holiday parodies of the year’s biggest hits


From "Bad Blood" and "Watch Me," to "Uptown Funk," here are the year's hottest songs made fit for the holidays.

in Music

This week’s top alternative tracks


LISTEN: This week's top alternative songs, according to the weekly Billboard chart.

in Music

Jack White launches new Third Man Records store in Detroit


Rocker Jack White has launched his first Third Man Records venture in his native Detroit.