PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – President Joe Biden and many public officials, both Republican and Democrat, have weighed in with their condolences following the death of Virginia Fourth Congressional District Rep. Donald McEachin.
McEachin, 61, a Democrat, died Monday after a long battle with colorectal cancer. He is survived by his wife Colette and their three children.
Biden, offering his condolences, said he got to know McEachin when he was elected to Congress in 2016 and said “he never quit in his pursuit of justice” in fighting for the working people of Virginia.
“I will always be grateful for his friendship, and his early and fierce support when I ran for President,” Biden said in a statement. “Don was a fighter. He fought for justice, for civil rights, and for communities that are often left behind. Thanks to Don’s leadership and tireless advocacy, we passed historic legislation to combat the climate crisis and advance environmental justice.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, in a statement, noted both were elected to Congress in the same year and joined the Congressional Black Caucus together. She said McEachin “was a relentless advocate for his community, a dedicated colleague, and loving husband, father and grandfather.”
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin called McEachin “a valiant fighter until the end.”
Virginia’s senatorial delegation also weighed in, with Tim Kaine calling McEachin “a gentle giant.” Mark Warner said McEachin was a fighter to the end.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger said McEachin “was a good man who endeavored to make others and feel important and heard whether in the courtroom, the General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, or simply in a quiet moment.
Rep. Don Beyer said the loss of his friend, McEachin, “is heartbreaking … and his absence leaves a hole that cannot be repaired.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said McEachin was a distinguished leader on numerous issues.
She hoped it would be a comfort to his wife, children, grandchild and his family “that so many join them in mourning during this sad time.”
“He will be deeply missed by his colleagues,” Pelosi said in a Twitter thread, “and he leaves behind a legacy that will improve the lives of all of our children for generations to come.”
In a statement, Pelosi said:
“It is with great sadness that I join Virginians tonight in mourning the loss of Congressman Donald McEachin: a tireless champion for Virginia families and a force for economic opportunity and environmental justice.
“For two decades, Congressman McEachin was a distinguished leader on climate in Richmond: serving in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate. A respected voice on the Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources Committees, he advocated to lower costs, expand broadband access and protect families from gun violence. His many contributions to our Select Committee on the Climate Crisis helped lay the essential groundwork for our climate action over the last two years, especially the important progress toward environmental justice.
“Congressman McEachin understood that every family — whether in the East End of Richmond or any community across America — deserves clean air, clean water and a healthy planet. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, and he leaves behind a legacy that will improve the lives of all of our children for generations to come. May it be a comfort to his loving wife Colette, their dear children Mac, Briana and Alexandra, grandchild Gael and the entire McEachin family that so many join them in mourning during this sad time.”Nancy Pelosi
Pelosi ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff due to McEachin’s passing.
Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison called McEachin “a foot soldier for truth and justice.”
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he and his wife Dorothy were devastated by McEachin’s death, calling him a powerful voice and someone to be counted on.
State Sen. Louise Lucas noted McEachin’s historical run for attorney general of Virginia in 2001, being the first-ever African American nominee, before serving in Congress.
“His leadership in the Congress was felt throughout the Trump Presidency as he held him accountable and then helped Joe Biden pass his agenda through the past two years,” Lucas said. “We will miss him terribly.”
State Sen. Mamie Locke said McEachin was “always a compassionate, honorable man who put others first. Rest well my friend.”
State Rep. Emily Brewer, who represents the 64th District and is running for the 17th District state Senate seat in 2023, said “his smile and kind demeanor will be missed across the 4th District.”
Suffolk Mayor Mike Duman expressed his “profound sadness” over McEachin’s death in a statement.
“He was a distinguished legislator who courageously served Virginia for over 25 years,” Duman said. “Congressman McEachin was a dedicated public servant who fervently promoted equality for all. I am honored to have witnessed his unrelenting commitment to the residents of Suffolk and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“On behalf of Suffolk City Council, I offer our deepest condolences to his wife, children, and the entire McEachin family.”
Many public officials offered condolences and paid tribute to McEachin on social media: