Lola Aiken Gets Her Day

MONTPELIER - Lola Aiken, the iconic matriarch of the Vermont Republican Party, turned 100 this week and celebrated with a multi-partisan bash at the Vermont State House.Mrs. Aiken is the widow of George Aiken, who was well respected by politicians and citizens of the state during his tenure in Vermont politics. George Aiken, who died in 1984, served in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1931-1935, as Lieutenant Governor from 1934-1936, Governor from 1937-1941, and a member of the U.S. Senate for 34 years, from 1941-1975. George Aiken, a farmer, was described as a moderate to liberal Republican who supported social reform legislation and once criticized his party by stating that Abraham Lincoln "would be ashamed of his party's leadership today." Despite his long career in the U.S. Senate, George Aiken was always and affectionately referred to as "Governor."Lola was Gov. Aiken's second wife. His first wife, Beatrice, died in 1966. He then married Lola Pierotti who had been his longtime administrative assistant and who continued to be his supporter and advocate throughout their marriage, often being seen at his side. Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, escorted Mrs. Aiken to the party and declared Lola Aiken Day in Vermont.