“A leader and relentless advocate for women, Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald had a tremendous impact on the women of the United States. Her sudden loss to cancer will be deeply felt throughout California and the nation.
“Rep. Millender-McDonald was an EMILY’s List woman in every sense of the word. She worked tirelessly to promote the advancement of women in politics and business while encouraging women to use their vote to enact change in their communities.
“This outstanding woman knew firsthand how important it is for women to participate in politics. A teacher and school administrator, she started her political career 17 years ago when she ran for and won a seat on the Carson City Council. She served as mayor of Carson City and as a member of the California State Assembly. Finally, in 1996, her ambition and passion helped her win a hotly contested special election for the United States House. For 11 years in the House, she championed policies to strengthen communities and protect families. Rep. Millender-McDonald held her seat with dignity and enthusiasm.
“Rep. Millender-McDonald’s aptitude for leadership was immediately recognized during her tenure in the California State Assembly and continued during her years in the United States House. She served as the Democratic chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues and as a regional Democratic whip. A trailblazer, she became the first African American woman chair of the U.S. House Administration Committee when Democrats reclaimed control of Congress.
“From her work on behalf of women and families in the U.S. to her contributions to international justice and human rights, Rep. Millender-McDonald was a voice for those who truly needed an advocate. To lose such a strong and likeminded ally so suddenly is a considerable loss for the EMILY’s List family. She will be deeply missed.”