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Former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally remembered by California leaders

October 8, 2012 | 10:03 am

Former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally

The death of former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally on Sunday continued to reverberate a day later as California leaders praised him for his long career of public service.

Many noted the Trinidad-born Dymally was the state’s first black lieutenant governor during a long career that also included service in both houses of the state Legislature, as well as in the House of Representatives.

"Rep. Dymally was a true role model for generations of Californians, not least because of his barrier-breaking legacy as one of the first persons of color to serve at the state and federal levels of our great nation," said state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, the first African American to serve in her post. "His lifelong commitment to justice during his time in Congress, the state Legislature and the lieutenant governorship of California will continue to inspire us as we work to further the vision of equality that he championed for more than five decades."

Current Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called Dymally "a trailblazer."

"Merv served many firsts in his 50-year political career, establishing a path for future generations of African Americans to follow," Newsom said. "A true civil rights leader, he was also instrumental in passing one of the nation’s first gay rights bills in 1975."

Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) said Dymally, who died as the age of 86, will be greatly missed.

"He was an iconic figure in California politics, whose public service spanned nearly six decades in the Legislature, House of Representatives and as lieutenant governor of California," Pérez said in a statement. "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."

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo:  Former Lt. Gov., state legislator and congressman Mervyn Dymally is shown during his service in the state Assembly. Credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times

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