The Bulletin

Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin dies at 61

By: - November 28, 2022 10:51 pm

U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Richmond, speaks at a Democratic watch party in downtown Richmond, Va., Nov. 5, 2019. (Parker Michels-Boyce/ for the Virginia Mercury)

Virginia Congressman Donald McEachin, a Democrat who represented the commonwealth’s 4th District, died Monday night, according to a statement from his office. He had recently won re-election Nov. 8.

“Valiantly, for years now, we have watched him fight and triumph over the secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from 2013,” said the statement. “Tonight, he lost that battle, and the people of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District lost a hero who always, always fought for them and put them first.”

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, in a release following the announcement called McEachin “a gentle giant, a compassionate champion for underdogs, a climate warrior, a Christian example, an understanding dad, a proud husband, a loyal brother” before quoting from the Book of Psalms: “Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.”

McEachin, 61, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016 to represent the 4th Congressional District,  an area now encompassing Richmond and Petersburg and running south to the North Carolina line. In Congress, he was particularly outspoken on the issue of climate change, serving on the House Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources committees, as well as the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Prior to serving in Congress, McEachin served in the Virginia state Senate and House of Delegates. An attorney, he also held a divinity degree from Virginia Union University and studied law at the University of Virginia.

“Up until the very end, Don was a fighter,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, Monday night. “Even though he battled cancer and faced other trials in recent years, he never lost his focus on social and environmental justice. Tonight, Virginia has lost a great leader and I have lost a great friend.”

Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat who represents Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, said McEachin “was resolute in pushing Virginia to lead the way in climate policy.”

“He was also one of Congress’s strongest champions for environmental justice, fighting to ensure that our most vulnerable communities have access to clean air and water,” Scott said in a statement.

Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, in a tweet said McEachin “was always warm and kind to his colleagues. Don was a dedicated public servant, and I pray that his family finds peace in the days ahead.”

McEachin’s office said that “the family asks for privacy at this time. Arrangements will be announced over the next few days.”

This is a breaking news story.

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Sarah Vogelsong
Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is Editor-in-Chief of the Mercury and previously its environment and energy reporter. She has worked for multiple Virginia and regional publications, including Chesapeake Bay Journal, The Progress-Index and The Caroline Progress. Her reporting has won awards from groups such as the Society of Environmental Journalists and Virginia Press Association, and she is an alumna of the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative and Metcalf Institute Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]