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Former Florida Senate President Gwen Margolis dies

Gwen Margolis served as Florida's Senate President from 1990 to 1992. (Photo: The Associated Press)
Gwen Margolis served as Florida's Senate President from 1990 to 1992. (Photo: The Associated Press)(WCTV)
Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 11:43 AM EDT
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By: Pat Mueller | WCTV Eyewitness News

June 9, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Gwen Margolis, Florida's first female Senate President, has passed away, the Florida Senate confirmed to WCTV. She was 85 years old and died peacefully of natural causes.

According to the Senate President's Office, they were notified of Margolis' death in Miami by her family early Tuesday morning. She served as Florida's Senate President from 1990 to 1992.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement:

“Today, our party mourns the loss of a pioneer. Gwen Margolis was a hardworking leader with a remarkable career. She was a trailblazer for many Democratic women in our state, including myself. During these difficult times as a nation, when our country needs exceptional leaders like Gwen Margolis, her passion, commitment, and leadership will be remembered more than ever. We send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried also released a statement on Margolis' death:

Margolis was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1974, and she won her seat three more times before she was elected to the Florida Senate in 1980, according to the

.

Her selection as Senate President in 1990 was historic; she became the first woman in the country to serve as president of any Senate, the Florida Women's Hall of Fame says.

"While President, she spearheaded landmark open government and open records legislation," the website says. "She also helped secure passage of legislation touted at the time as the toughest ethics in the country."

She also served eight years on the Miami-Dade County Commission, holding the title of chairman along the way for six years.

The Senate says Margolis had two more periods of service in the Senate: 2002 to 2008 and 2010 to 2016.

Margolis was given the honorary title of "Dean of the Senate" in 2012 by President Don Gaetz, according to the Senate.

Details of funeral arrangements will be shared when they become available.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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