Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., died Monday after a battle with cancer. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | Licensed photo
Nov. 29 (UPI) — Rep. Donald McEachin, a Democrat from Virginia, died Monday after a battle with colorectal cancer, his office said. He was 61 years old.
“Courageously, for years, I watched him fight and triumph over the side effects of his colorectal cancer in 2013. Tonight, he lost his battle, and the people of Virginia’s 4th congressional district lost a hero who fought always for them. and put them first,” said Tara Rountree, McEachin’s chief of staff a declaration.
McEachin, a champion of climate issues, was first elected to Congress in 2016 and won re-election to a fourth term in a landslide earlier this month, defeating Republican challenger Len Benjamin Sr. with nearly 65 percent of the vote. votes at 35%, suitable to declare the election results.
Rountree said his office will remain open and serve his constituents until a new representative is elected through a special election, the date of which will be chosen by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
“So sad to hear of his passing [Rep. McEachin]” the Republican governor said in a statement. “A courageous fighter to the end, he served Virginia admirably and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of his constituents and Americans.”
The son of an Army veteran and public school teacher, McEachin served as a legislator in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly before being elected to Congress as Virginia’s third House Black representative.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised McEachin for his two decades of public service, during which she said he distinguished himself as a climate leader and helped shape Democratic policies over the past two years on climate. .
“Congressman McEachin understood that every family — whether in Richmond’s East End or in any community across America — deserves clean air, clean water and a healthy planet,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement about McEachin’s death. “His colleagues will miss him deeply and he has left behind a legacy that will improve the lives of all our children for generations to come.”
Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., praised McEachin in a statement Monday night for being a “relentless champion for all Virginians.”
“Donald was a thoughtful and principled legislator and respected by people on both sides of the aisle,” Scott said. “Donald has been determined to push Virginia to lead the way on climate policy. He has also been one of Congress’ strongest champions for environmental justice, fighting to ensure our most vulnerable communities have access to clean air and water.
“The Commonwealth and our nation have lost one of its most dedicated public servants and happiest advocates of justice and equality.”
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., similarly mourned McEachin’s death online.
“To the end, Don McEachin was a fighter,” Warner said he posted on Twitter. “Even though he battled cancer and faced other trials in recent years, he never lost his focus on social and environmental justice.
“Tonight Virginia lost a great leader and I lost a great friend.”
McEachin is survived by his wife, Colette, and their three children.