O'Neill served as State Chairman of the "Ella Grasso for Governor" Committee in 1974 and as Chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee.
In 1978, the Democrats nominated O'Neill as their candidate for Lieutenant Governor on the ticket with Ella Grasso; they won the election.
It was sometime in December that O'Neill learned that Grasso was going to resign because of her health.
He sold insurance for Prudential Insurance Company and later served during the Korean War with the United States Air Force as a combat flyer from 1950-1953.
For his first two years, O'Neill continued and advocated Grasso's programs. He was not ready to make changes or pursue his own policies because he had not been elected in his own right.
After his elections in 19, O'Neill instituted his own agenda.
Upon his return, he ran the family business--an East Hampton tavern where residents and politicians often met and where he, by his own admission, learned to listen. He served on the town's Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board of Finance, the Democratic Town Committee, and the Fire District Commission.
In 1962, when he was aged 32, he married Natalie (Nikki) Scott Damon, a native of Leominster, Mass.
Reagan dismantled many of the social programs developed in the 1960s and 1970s by drastically cutting federal funding and shifting more and more of the financial and administrative burden to the states.