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South Los Angeles politician Mervyn Dymally dies at age 86


LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Funeral arrangements were pending today for former California Lt. Gov., Congressman and Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, who died over the weekend at the age of 86.

“My beloved husband of 44 years passed away very peacefully this morning at 6:30 a.m.,” his wife, Alice Gueno Dymally, said in a statement Sunday. “He lived a very extraordinary life and had no regrets.”

Dymally, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, served as California’s 41st lieutenant governor from 1975 to 79 after serving in the State Assembly from 1963 to 1966 and the State Senate from 1967 to 1975.

When he was elected lieutenant governor, Dymally was one of the first two Blacks elected to any statewide office in the United States since Reconstruction, according to his former press secretary, Jasmyne Cannick.

Colorado Lt. Gov. George Brown was the other.

Dymally represented southern Los Angeles County in Congress from 1981 to 1993 and returned to the State Assembly from 2002 to 2008.

“Mervyn Dymally was an icon, a legend, and one of the most loved and revered leaders in all of California,” Congresswoman Janice Hahn said in a statement. “He was a fierce advocate for his constituents as a state legislator, member of Congress and as California’s 41st lieutenant governor. He was a man of strong principles and values.”

Los Angeles civil rights leader Earl Ofari Hutchinson described Dymally as “a powerful mentor and exemplary role model for young and aspiring Black legislators in California, and nationally and internationally.

“Mervyn Dymally opened many political doors for up and coming Black political leaders and elected officials,” Hutchinson said. “He was a true political icon who left a shining legacy of political and community activist accomplishment for present and future generations of black and minority elected officials and activists.”

Added Assembly Speaker John A. Perez: “Throughout his time in office, he commanded respect on both sides of the aisle and was a thoughtful and passionate advocate for the men and women he represented and for the poorest and most vulnerable Californians.

“He will be greatly missed by all those who had the the pleasure of knowing him.”

Dymally is survived by his wife, a daughter, a son and three sisters.

Funeral arrangements were pending.