Former Peninsula delegate Mamye BaCote dies at 81


Mamye BaCote (courtesy of the Virginia House of Delegates)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Mamye BaCote, a prominent legislator who represented the Peninsula in the Virginia House of Delegates for more than a decade, died Monday morning in Newport News.

The Democrat served as delegate for the 95th District, which represents portions of Hampton and Newport News, until 2015 after first being elected in 2003. She had previously served seven years on Newport News City Council.

Condolences poured in on Monday after the news broke. Delegate Cia Price, who now represents the 95th, said BaCote’s death is a “huge loss.”

“I learned so much from Mamye and appreciated her encouragement, support, and wisdom. We are keeping her family lifted in prayer,” Price said in a tweet.

Gov. Ralph Northam recalled Bacote as a “dear friend” in a statement released after her passing.

“Mamye was a legislative giant who fought to make our Commonwealth better. She was an educator first, and made it her mission to expand access to a world-class education for all students—no matter their zip code. She was a fierce advocate for commonsense gun safety measures, and played a critical role in laying the groundwork for this year’s passage of historic gun safety laws,” Said Northam.

“Most importantly, she was a public servant in the truest sense of the word—a woman who lived her life with kindness, grace, and an unwavering dedication to justice. She will be tremendously missed.”

Virginia House Democrats said BaCote left behind a “towering legacy.” She served on the House Appropriations Committee and helped secure funding for Hampton Roads. That included money for the Newport News Drug Court to help reduce incarceration levels.

Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott (3rd District) said it was “sad day for Newport News and the entire Hampton Roads community.”

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of my friend, former Delegate Mamye E. BaCote. She devoted her life to service to our community and the betterment of our society. As a student at Virginia Union University, she helped stage a sit in at an all-white lunchroom to bring attention to the injustices and inequity of segregation. After college, she helped shape young minds as a teacher with Newport News Public Schools and later as an adjunct professor at Hampton University. Outside of the classroom, she ran for elected office and served seven years on the Newport News City Council, and then 12 years representing the 95th district in the Virginia House of Delegates, where she was able to bring about real change for Newport News and Hampton as an active member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.”

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe offered his condolences in a tweet.

“Sad day for our Commonwealth. @DSMcAuliffe and I are sending our deepest condolences to Delegate Mamye BaCote’s family and everyone who was fortunate enough to know her.”

This is a breaking article and will be updated.

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