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Britton, influential lobbyist, dead at 88

An influential Jefferson City lobbyist whose legislative victories included bringing legalized riverboat gambling to Missouri has died at 88.

John Britton died Tuesday at a Jefferson City hospital after an extended illness, said his son-in-law Robert Burns, an Associated Press reporter in Washington.

One of Britton’s first clients in a half-century lobbying career that made him one of the most influential people in the state Capitol was Anheuser-Busch, a company he represented despite having quit drinking.

Britton, a notorious chain smoker who frequently flaunted the Capitol’s no-smoking rules, worked to keep beer taxes down and fought limits on public smoking.

Britton was previously a speech writer for then-Missouri Attorney General Thomas Eagleton.

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