Senate leader Martin Looney needs a kidney transplant

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney

A Roman Catholic church has made a public appeal on Facebook for a kidney donor for Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, whose only kidney is failing.

Looney, 68, a Democrat of New Haven, does not yet need dialysis, but Santa Rosa de Lima Church made an appeal early Tuesday for potential donors:

“My dear brothers, Senator Martin Looney, a parishioner of Santa Rosa de Lima and great fighter for this community, is sick. His only kidney is failing. He needs a transplant. There’s no one in the family of him who has a kidney match.”

Looney has been a Senate leader, first as majority leader and more recently as president pro tem, since 2003, despite having severe arthritis. Kidney disease can be a complication of rheumatoid arthritis.

A spokesman declined to comment on Looney’s illness, other than to confirm the details of the Facebook posting. Looney could not be reached for comment.

As president pro tem, Looney is the top leader in the Senate, controlling committee assignments for the Democratic majority and deciding which bills are called for debate.

The kidney disease will not affect Looney’s plans to seek another term this fall or to remain as Senate leader when the General Assembly returns in January for its 2017 session, said Vinnie Mauro, his chief of staff.

“Marty was at work yesterday. He was at work today. And will be at work tomorrow. The guy never stops,” said Mauro, who also is the Democratic chairman of New Haven. “That never changes.”

Looney is the longest-serving legislator in the Senate, with a tenure split between the House and Senate. He became the majority leader in 2003 and the president pro tem in 2015.

The Senate is out of session for the year, with the 2017 session due to begin in January. Democrats control the chamber with a 21-15 majority.

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