Last week the staff of Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald put out the word that she would take a leave of absence to recuperate from an unstated form of cancer. Now AP quotes her chief of staff, Bandele McQueen, announcing that Millender-McDonald died today at home in Carson while under hospice care. She was 68. Millender-McDonald came up in politics via the Carson city council and had represented the district spanning Compton and parts of Long Beach and Los Angeles since 1996. "California and the nation have lost a great friend and public servant," state Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres told AP.
Mayor V: "As a freshman legislator, I had the honor of serving with Juanita Millender-McDonald in the California State Assembly. She was a problem-solver and a barrier-breaker who was always charging forward with a glint in her eye. This was a woman who could not be deterred. She went back to school and got her degree when she was 40 years old, and she went on to become the first African American woman to serve on the Carson City Council and one of the most effective and respected members of the United States House of Representatives."