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Longtime SA state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon dies

Former SA City Council member, elected to Texas House in 1996

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SAN ANTONIO – State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, a staple of the East Side community, passed away Tuesday.

She was 74.

McClendon served District 120 in the Texas House before retiring in January 2016.

Health problems forced the representative to use a motorized wheelchair throughout the 2015 legislative session.

McClendon resigning her Texas House seat

McClendon chaired the House Committee on Rules and Resolutions, and served on the Appropriations and Transportation committees.

Before serving District 120, she was a San Antonio City Council member from June 1993 to August 1996.

According to her biography, McClendon authored, sponsored, co-sponsored and passed nearly 150 bills, excluding resolutions, during her tenure in the Texas House. Her legislative priorities included improving educational opportunities for students throughout the state, fighting for health care for children, the frail and elderly, creating a climate for businesses to flourish and keeping our neighborhoods safe.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg released the following statement:

Ruth Jones McClendon was a consensus builder, who used her considerable political skills to help the needy. As a Democrat in a Republican-controlled Legislature, McClendon managed to land on the House Appropriations Committee under two Republican speakers. She was a strong voice for San Antonio and her district. She wielded power gently but effectively. McClendon was a statewide force on transportation while also working to address the needs of the state’s poorest citizens. San Antonio is a better city because of her work as a member of City Council and in the Texas House. She will be greatly missed.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-35) released the following statement:

A powerful voice in both City Council and the Texas Legislature, Libby and I are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend Ruth Jones McClendon. Her legacy of public service continues to inspire us to work for causes she championed, including access to healthcare and helping all students fulfill their God-given potential. Whether it was visiting with her at her annual Western Roundup or through her efforts to expand educational opportunities for young people at the State Capitol, she worked tirelessly on behalf of others and her constituents on San Antonio’s East and Northeast Sides. Our prayers are with Denver and Ruth’s wonderful family.

Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, released the following statement:

I am deeply saddened to learn of Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon's passing. Her 20 years of service in the Texas House were just part of a lifetime of championing criminal and social justice reforms. Rep. McClendon was an inspiration to many, and her legacy will always be remembered by the compassion and commitment she had to her constituents, the underserved, the wrongfully accused, and every Texan who wanted nothing more than a fair shot at life. On behalf of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, I join my colleagues in extending my heartfelt condolences to Rep. McClendon's family and friends.

District 2 Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw released the follow statement:

District 2, the City of San Antonio, and the State of Texas have lost a truly dynamic, brilliant, and selfless public servant. The Honorable Ruth Jones McClendon spent most of her life fighting for our most vulnerable citizens as a champion for our children, our seniors, and everyone in between. Although our hearts are heavy, we know that Mrs. McClendon’s legacy will live on forever. Through her life in public service, she touched so many lives and worked tirelessly to uplift the voices of those who far too often have felt voiceless. Her family and friends are in our prayers during this difficult time. My wife Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences.

Current District 120 Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins released a statement that said in part:

I think I speak for everyone when I say that Ruth will be missed. She was a great member of the House, a dedicated public servant, and I am proud to call her a friend. Her work touched and inspired so many throughout our community, and will undoubtedly continue to do so far into the future. Representative Ruth Jones McClendon tirelessly served the people of District 120. I will miss her smile, her laugh, and her dedication, but I hope that we can all work together to forever ensure that her legacy lives on in our district, state, and nation.