East BayNews

Ron Dellums, former congress­man, Oakland mayor, dies at 82


National, state and Bay Area leaders are paying tribute to former Congressman, Oakland Mayor and lobbyist Ron Dellums, who has died at the age of 82.

Dellums was elected to the House of Representatives in 1970 and served for 27 years before retiring on Feb. 6, 1998, during the middle of his last term.

Dellums endorsed Barbara Lee, who was elected in a special election in 1998 to fill the rest of his term and still represents the East Bay district that Dellums served.

Dellums then worked as a lobbyist for nearly a decade before being elected as Oakland’s mayor in 2006 and serving one term from 2007 through 2011.

Lee, D-Oakland, said in a statement:

“The contributions that Congressman Dellums made to our East Bay community, the nation, and the world are too innumerable to count. … I feel blessed to have called Congressman Dellums my dear friend, predecessor, and mentor. I will miss him tremendously, and I will hold dear to my heart the many lessons I learned from this great public servant.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Dellums’ death means that:

“… the city of Oakland and our country lost a true American hero. … Ron Dellums governed from a place of morality and compassion and his political activism shed light on injustices within our country and all over the world.”

She added:

“His progressive values set the bedrock for Oakland values and his life of public service will continue to inspire all of us to fight for a more just and equitable society.”

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, said Dellums:

“… faithfully served Oakland and his community throughout his life.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who appeared with Dellums at an event in Oakland shortly before he was re-elected president in November 1996, said:

“Ron Dellums was intense and intelligent, fearless and philosophical.”

Clinton said Dellums:

“… spoke truth to power and appealed to America’s conscience in championing those who were left out and left behind, whether in the East Bay, across the nation, or around the world.”

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