Mervyn Dymally, South LA politician was 86

Mervyn_M._Dymally.jpgMervyn Dymally served as California's lieutenant governor during Jerry Brown's first term as governor in the 1970s and also at various times represented the Compton area and southern LA County in Congress, the state Senate and the Assembly (twice.) His career as an elected office holder spanned four decades, starting with the Assembly in 1963, until he lost to Rod Wright in a Democratic primary for the state Senate in 2008. Dymally died Sunday in Los Angeles after a period of declining health.

“My beloved husband of 44 years passed away very peacefully this morning at 6:30 a.m.,” his wife, Alice Gueno Dymally, said in a statement. “He lived a very extraordinary life and had no regrets.”

Dymally, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, was part of the African American leadership that emerged out of Los Angeles in the 1960s. He later became head of the black causus in the House of Representatives.

"Mervyn Dymally was an icon, a legend, and one of the most loved and revered leaders in all of California," Rep. Janice Hahn said in a statement. "He was a fierce advocate for his constituents as a state legislator, member of congress, and as California’s 41st lieutenant governor. He was a man of strong principles and values. We will always be grateful for his leadership in the building of MLK Hospital in Watts. He’s always been a mentor and a friend. Mervyn will surely be missed.”

Assemblyman Isadore Hall posted on Twitter, "Prayers to family and friends of Hon. #MervynDymally. My revered mentor. 52AD thanks you for your lifetime service."

From Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable president:

He was the nation’s first black Lieutenant Governor, first black California state senator, was a pioneer member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and later returned to the California state assembly to become chair, of the Legislature’s Legislative Black Caucus, and a strong advocate for African economic trade and development. Few knew the ins and outs of the political process and what it took to become an effective political leader better than Dymally. He was a powerful mentor and exemplary role model for young and aspiring black legislators in California, and nationally and internationally. Mervyn Dymally opened many political doors for up and coming black political leaders and elected officials...

Stories: LA Times, CBS LA

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