Juanita Millender-McDonald

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Juanita Millender-McDonald
Chair of the House Administration Committee
In office
January 3, 2007 – April 21, 2007
Preceded byVern Ehlers
Succeeded byBob Brady
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 37th district
In office
March 26, 1996 – April 22, 2007
Preceded byWalter Tucker
Succeeded byLaura Richardson
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 55th district
In office
December 7, 1992 - April 15, 1996[1]
Preceded byRichard Polanco
Succeeded byRichard Floyd
Personal details
Juanita Millender

(1938-09-07)September 7, 1938
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
DiedApril 22, 2007(2007-04-22) (aged 68)
Carson, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseJames McDonald
EducationLos Angeles Harbor College
University of Redlands (BA)
California State University, Los Angeles (MA)
University of Southern California (PhD)

Juanita Millender-McDonald (September 7, 1938 – April 22, 2007) was an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1996 until her death in 2007, representing California's 37th congressional district, which includes most of South Central Los Angeles and the city of Long Beach, California. She was a member of the Democratic Party.

On December 19, 2006, Millender-McDonald was named Chairwoman of the House Committee on House Administration for the 110th Congress. She was the first African-American woman to chair the committee. She was also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and of the New Democrat Coalition and was considered a front-runner for the job of Secretary of Transportation if John Kerry had been elected President in 2004.[2]


Millender-McDonald was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She was educated at Los Angeles Harbor College;[3] at the University of Redlands, from which she received a business degree; and at California State University, Los Angeles, from which she earned a masters in educational administration; and the University of Southern California, from which she completed her doctorate in public administration. She worked as a teacher, a textbook editor, and later as director of a nonprofit organization working for gender issues. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.[4] Millender-McDonald served as a member of the City Council of Carson, California and was a member of the California State Assembly (after beating two sitting incumbent Democrats that had been reapportioned into the same Carson based assembly district in 1992) before entering the House. She was first elected to the House in a March 1996 special election to replace Congressman Walter Tucker, who resigned due to corruption charges and was later sentenced to 27 months in prison. While she won a difficult nine-candidate primary in her first election run (fellow assembly member Willard Murray came in a close second) she did not face any serious opposition in any of her reelection campaigns.

In Congress, she was known for her commitment to protecting international human rights. Millender-McDonald worked to aid victims of genocide and human trafficking. In 1996, she also led an inquiry into allegations that the CIA was working with cocaine traffickers to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua.[5]

Within a week of her requesting a leave of absence to deal with her illness, on April 22, 2007, Millender-McDonald died in hospice care,[6][7] succumbing to colon cancer at the age of 68 at her home in Carson. She left a husband, James McDonald, Jr., and five adult children.[6]


Ranking member Millender-McDonald is greeted by Chairman Vern Ehlers at a hearing of the House Administration Committee.

Congresswoman Millender-McDonald's seat was vacant until Laura Richardson won the August 21, 2007, special election. Under California law, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a special election date of June 26, and because no candidate received more than 50% of the total vote, the candidates with the most votes in their respective parties participated in an August 21 runoff. In the June Primary, State Senator Jenny Oropeza lost to State Assemblywoman Laura Richardson, with Richardson continuing to the August special election, when she defeated Republican John M. Kanaley, Libertarian Herb Peters, and Green Daniel Brezenoff.

Electoral history[edit]

California's 37th congressional district: Results 1996–2006[8]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1996 Juanita Millender-McDonald 87,247 85% Michael E. Voetee 15,399 15%
1998 Juanita Millender-McDonald 70,026 85% Saul E. Lankster 12,301 15%
2000 Juanita Millender-McDonald 93,269 82% Vernon Van 12,762 11% Margaret Glazer Natural Law 4,094 4% *
2002 Juanita Millender-McDonald 63,445 73% Oscar A. Velasco 20,154 23% Herb Peters Libertarian 3,413 4%
2004 Juanita Millender-McDonald 118,823 75% Vernon Van 31,960 20% Herb Peters Libertarian 7,535 5%
2006 Juanita Millender-McDonald 80,716 82% (no candidate) Herb Peters Libertarian 17,246 18%

*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2000, Herb Peters received 3,150 votes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Juanita McDonald Resignation letter" (PDF). clerk.assembly.ca.gov.
  2. ^ Scardino, Albert & John (2004-03-09). "Plum positions". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
  3. ^ "Faces of Our Community - Notable Alumni". californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu. California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  4. ^ Sorority Mourns Loss of California Rep. Millender-McDonald — Accessed on April 24, 2007 Archived May 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Holley, Joe (April 23, 2007). "Obituaries: California Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald". The Washington Post. Washington D.C. Retrieved April 28, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Werner, Erica (2007-04-22). "California Rep. Millender-McDonald dies". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
  7. ^ Soraghan, Mike (2007-04-22). "Rep. Millender-McDonald dies, aide says". The Hill. Archived from the original on April 23, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
  8. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2007-07-25. Retrieved 2008-01-10.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 37th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Ranking Member of the House Administration Committee
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the House Administration Committee
Succeeded by