HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A veteran eastern Connecticut legislator says she's stepping down for health reasons.

Democratic state Rep. Linda Orange of Colchester announced Friday she is resigning, effective Feb. 1. Orange says she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and will need to devote all of her focus and energy to her treatment.

Orange has served in the state House of Representatives for 23 years, representing the 48th Assembly District, which includes Colchester, Lebanon, Windham and Mansfield. A deputy speaker of the House, Orange says being a state representative has been "an honor and a joy."

Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz and House Majority Matt Ritter praised Orange for her sense of humor, commitment to eastern Connecticut and knowledge of public safety issues.

The new regular legislative session opens in February.

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