Democratic State Sen. Jenny Oropeza has died following a prolonged illness. She was 53.
From Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert:
Oropeza had been largely absent from the Senate since her office announced in May that she had been diagnosed with a blood clot in her abdomen. The Long Beach Democrat, first elected to the Senate in 2006, had battled liver cancer and a tumor during her time in the Assembly.
Her own battle with cancer inspired her to become a champion of cancer prevention in the Legislature.
“I’ve always believed that we ought to regenerate the Earth and be concerned about ozone levels, but I didn’t personalize it until I got sick,” she told The Bee in 2005.
She carried legislation to curb fight cancer-causing chemicals and air pollution, including a ban on smoking at beaches and state parks. Earlier this year, she joined forces with Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, on legislation that would restore a program that provides mammograms to low-income women who do not have sufficient health coverage.
In a memo to Senate Staff this morning, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg mourned the loss of “a true public servant and cherished part of our legislative family.”
“She carried on her responsibilities through great physical challenge,which is an inspiration for all of us, and for that service we are greatful,” Steinberg said.
State Senator Lou Correa issued the following statement:
“I am saddended beyond words. Jenny sat right in front of me on the senate for four years. We became close friends and colleagues. We had some lively discussions and debate.
I learned from her and I will miss her smiling face.
At a personal level to me, Her loss becomes more painful, in light of the recent passing of another good friend and colleague, Sen. Dave Cox.
I will miss them both.”