UPDATED:Former state Sen. Jean Preston, 77, who retired in 2012, died Wednesday, the opening day of the new legislative session. The Republican from Emerald Isle suffered a fall while on vacation in Connecticut and died from complications, according to a statement from Senate leader Phil Berger's office. She served seven terms in the House and three in the Senate before stepping down in 2012.
Berger, the Senate President Pro Tem, called Preston"a pioneer in the field of special education who dedicated her life to ensuring our children have the brightest future possible."
“As a legislator, Sen. Preston worked tirelessly on education reform and on achieving better results for our students," Berger continued in a statement. "She was legendary in her district for an amazing work ethic and commitment to providing outstanding constituent service. Sen. Preston was a dear friend, and my colleagues and I will miss her greatly.”
Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jean Preston today. She and I became very good friends over the years and I will miss her. Emerald Isle and all of North Carolina has lost a tremendous leader and committed public servant.”