Nov 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin dies at 61

Rep. Donald McEachin, wearing a blue suit jacket, white shirt and green tie, speaks in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) died Monday from complications due to colorectal cancer, his office said. He was 61.

Driving the news: McEachin's chief of staff Tara Rountree said in a statement, "Valiantly, for years now, we have watched him fight and triumph over the secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from 2013. Tonight, he lost that battle."

  • "The people of Virginia's Fourth Congressional District lost a hero who always, always fought for them and put them first," she said.

A former lawyer who represented Richmond in the Virginia state legislature, McEachin was elected to Congress in 2016.

  • McEachin was the third African American elected to Congress from Virginia and was a champion of environmental legislation who served on the House select committee on the climate crisis. He unsuccessfully ran for attorney general in 2001.
  • McEachin is survived by his wife, Colette, and three children.

What they're saying: Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), who shared a ticket with McEachin in 2001 as the nominees for lieutenant governor and governor, respectively, both offered tributes on Monday. Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin also recognized McEachin's memory.

  • Kaine said he and McEachin first met in 1985 and "became fast friends," adding, "I was last with him on election night three weeks ago, celebrating his win. He was a gentle giant, a compassionate champion for underdogs, a climate warrior, a Christian example."
  • "We often bonded over stories and laughs about our mutual challenges raising families with three strong-willed daughters," said Warner. "Tonight, Virginia has lost a great leader and I have lost a great friend.”
  • "A valiant fighter until the end, he admirably served Virginia & worked tirelessly to improve the lives of his constituents & Americans. Suzanne & I are thinking of his family, friends, & community during this difficult time," Youngkin said.

What's next: McEachin's Richmond-based seat will remain vacant until Youngkin schedules a special election to replace him.

  • "Until a new representative is elected, our office will remain open and continue to serve our constituents," said Rountree.
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