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Longtime Antelope Valley State Senator Sharon Runner Dead At 62

LANCASTER ( — California state Sen. Sharon Runner, a Lancaster Republican who has struggled for years with health problems, has died. She was 62.

A spokeswoman says she died Thursday morning at her home following respiratory complications.

A statement from the Runner family read: "We are heartbroken to share that Sharon passed away today at the age of 62 following respiratory complications. She died peacefully at home, surrounded by family and friends.

"Through her life Sharon held tight to her favorite Bible verse, Proverbs 3:5-6, trusting in the Lord through all obstacles. We take comfort in the fact that the Lord truly directed her path, and she is now home in the arms of her Savior."

Sharon was elected to the California State Assembly in 2002 and served until her term limit in 2008.

Perhaps the most noteworthy of her extensive list of public achievements, Runner was the co-author of California's Proposition 83, or Jessica's Law, which passed in 2006 with 70 percent voter approval and created the nation's toughest sexual predator laws.

Runner also worked to expand the role of women in government, serving as President of California Women Lead, a bipartisan organization that encourages and empowers women running for public office. She also served as the PAC chair of California's Women's Leadership Association and worked as a co-chair of Meg Whitman for Governor.

Several local lawmakers expressed their condolences following the announcement of Runner's death.

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend and mentor Senator Sharon Runner," said Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita. "She inspired all who knew her as she walked out her faith every day. Sharon is the model of true servant leadership and we should all aspire to be as good a person as she was."

California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said, "While battling a tragic illness, Senator Runner endured and showed a real commitment to representing the people of her district. She committed her life to lifting all children with a quality education by helping found the Desert Christian schools and fought tirelessly for small businesses during her time in the Assembly and Senate."

She is survived by her husband George, son Micah and daughter-in-law Sandy, daughter Rebekah and son-in-law James, and grandchildren Raider, Hailey, James, and Paxton.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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