Kimmi Lewis, a Republican state lawmaker who represented southeast Colorado, died on Friday morning.
Lewis, who lived in the small town of Kim and was the state representative for House District 64, was battling cancer for a third time. She was first diagnosed with the disease in 2014.
Lewis passed away at home on her Las Animas County ranch surrounded by family and loved ones, according to the Colorado House Republicans. She was 62.
“Kimmi was many things throughout her life – daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, rancher, business owner, advocate, devout follower of Christ, and proud representative of her rural district in the state legislature,” her family said in a written statement. “But the common threads throughout her time on Earth were her strong ties to the land she was born and raised on and her unwavering principles.”
Leiws was first elected to the statehouse in 2016 and she served on the Rural Affairs and Agriculture and Transportation and Local Government committees. She represented nine counties, often working on issues involving rural Colorado.
Other state lawmakers mourned her loss on Friday.
“I am devastated with the news that Representative Kimmi Lewis has passed away,” state Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield, said in Twitter. “She represented her community with honesty, diligence and passion.”
“Her tenacity for protecting freedom (and) property rights and her personal courage is irreplaceable,” said House Republican Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock. “Her legacy will be that of unmoving integrity and fortitude in the face of all adversity.”
Gov. Jared Polis said she would be “dearly missed.”
“A champion for cattle producers and for Colorado water, her staunch passion was evident in everything she did and everyone she interacted with,” he said.
Lewis’ husband died in 2000, just four months after being diagnosed with acute leukemia, leaving her to care for their six children as she ran two businesses. She also leaves behind nine grandchildren.
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, praised Lewis and her commitment to the Eastern Plains in a written statement.
“Kimmi has been a strong advocate for our state’s farmers and ranchers,” he said. “She will be remembered as a treasured member of the community who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Coloradans.”
Lewis continued her work at the state capitol as she was battling cancer.
“She never let cancer hold her back from reaching her goals and the job at hand,” her family’s statement said. “We know her memory will live on in the people whose lives she so generously impacted, and in the land and way of life she worked so hard to protect.”
Lewis’ seat will be filled by a vacancy committee.
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