According to a statement from McEachin’s office, Donald McEachin, a US Representative, has died. He was 61.
Tara Rountree (his chief of staff) said that McEachin’s death left her devastated. We have seen him triumph over the secondary effects of colorectal cancer since 2013, and we have been proud to watch his bravery. Tonight, he lost the battle and Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District mourned a hero who always put their interests first and fought tirelessly for them.
Rountree stated that “until a new representative is elected,” the office would remain open and continue serving its constituents.
The seat will be vacant until a special election takes place. McEachin represented Virginia’s 4th Congressional District which includes Richmond, the state capital. He was reelected comfortably earlier this month in the traditionally Democratic-leaning region.
After serving in both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly, McEachin was elected first to Congress in 2016.
The Virginia lawmaker was a champion for reforms in the areas of gun laws, environmental protection, and affordable health care.
McEachin declared to his supporters that “this is a dream come real folks” in his 2016 victory speech. “We know that we are out here making history and that it doesn’t come easily.”
President Joe Biden stated that McEachin’s death has deeply affected him and that he will always be grateful to McEachin for his friendship and his support during his run for the presidency.
He fought for justice, civil rights, and communities that were often overlooked. In a Tuesday statement, Biden said that Don’s leadership was a credit to his tireless advocacy and that historic legislation was passed to address the climate crisis and promote environmental justice.
McEachin is the son of an Army veteran and a teacher in public schools. He graduated from American University with a degree in Political Science and from the University of Virginia School of Law. According to McEachin’s House biography, he also earned a Master of Divinity at Virginia Union University’s The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.
People who knew McEachin were warmly touched by the news of McEachin’s passing.
“Don McEachin was a fighter right up to the end. “Even though he had battled cancer and experienced other trials, he never lost focus on social justice and environmental justice,” Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia tweeted. “Tonight Virginia has lost an outstanding leader, and I have lost my great friend.”
Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine similarly praised McEachin for being an outstanding civil servant.
“I met Donald McEachin back in 1985. We became fast friends. Kaine tweeted, “A gentle giant, a compassionate champion of underdogs, climate warrior, a Christian example and an understanding father, proud husband, loyal brother.”
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly meanwhile called McEachin “a noble friend, husband, and father.”
“An environmentalist, civil right advocate, faithful public servant, and a man who is a consequence. There was no better friend to have. Connolly tweeted, “I will miss him very much.”
McEachin aimed to address global issues while he was in Congress, such as climate change. However, he also addressed local needs during the reelection victory party. He stated that he needed to ensure basic services were available in his district.
According to McEachin’s House biography, McEachin was a lifetime Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity member and the NAACP. McEachin was also a member of the Virginia State Bar as well as the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.
McEachin’s wife Colette, and his three adult children are still with him.