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House Panel Names Juanita Millender-McDonald Highway

On July 31, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed, by voice vote, a bill (H.R. 4131) to designate a section of California State Route 91 as the Juanita Millender-McDonald Highway.

Sponsored by Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA), the bill contains several findings, including:

  • Juanita Millender-McDonald was a true trailblazer, entering public service in 1990 as a member of the Carson City Council and becoming the first African American woman to serve on the Carson City Council;
  • continuing as a pioneer, Juanita Millender-McDonald served in the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1996, and in her first term, she became the first assembly member to hold the position of chairwoman of two powerful California State Assembly committees;
  • continuing to make history, Juanita Millender-McDonald served in the United States House of Representatives from 1996-2007, becoming the first African American woman to chair any full House committee when on December 19, 2006, she was named chair of the House Committee on House Administration;
  • as a member of Congress, Juanita Millender-McDonald was the first African American woman to give the national Democratic response to President Bush’s weekly radio address;
  • Juanita Millender-McDonald initiated the first annual Memorial Day tribute to women in the military at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery; and
  • as the founder and executive director of the League of African American Women, an organization responsible for the annual “AIDS Walk for Minority Women and Children”, the legacy of Juanita Millender-McDonald as a humble, selfless champion for women will endure for generations to come.Rep. Richardson said, “Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald…was always trailblazing. She was the first African American woman to serve as chair of both the insurance and taxation committees [in the California State Assembly]. She was always on the forefront of the issues…We could never say thank you enough. This honor to her is just an acknowledgement to her family and to the constituents of the work she did here in Washington on our behalf. She left us way too soon. But, hopefully, I will work as hard as I can to keep her name in a positive light.”

    Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) said, “I’m honored to support H.R. 4131…This is a very fitting tribute to our former colleague. Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald was a member of this committee for over ten years, beginning when she was elected to Congress in April 1996…She was always very attractive, very dignified, and was a real lady, both personally and professionally. She was a tireless advocate for transportation issues impacting her district…I urge all of our colleagues to support this bill honoring our friend Juanita Millender-McDonald.”

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