Republican state Rep. Kimmi Lewis has died.
Lewis, who died at 62, represented the largest House district in Colorado. House District 64 covers nine counties in the southeastern part of the state, and was an advocate for rural interests and private property rights.
Lewis battled cancer in recent years and was undergoing chemotherapy treatment during the 2018 legislative session. According to a statement from her family, it was her third battle with cancer.
She passed away Friday at her home, Muddy Valley Ranch in Las Animas County.
“We sincerely thank all for their prayers and words of encouragement to Kimmi throughout her long and hard-fought battle,” said the family statement. “She never let cancer hold her back from reaching her goals and the job at hand. 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' passing is being mourned by elected officials across the spectrum in Colorado. On Twitter, Gov. Jared Polis noted Lewis' "staunch passion was evident in everything she did & everyone she interacted with. She will be missed."
“Our prayers are with Rep. Lewis’ family,” said Republican House Leader Patrick Neville in a written statement. “I have no doubt that Representative Lewis was secure in her salvation and is present with our Lord. Her tenacity for protecting, freedom, property rights and her personal courage is irreplaceable.”
“Her legacy will be that of unmoving integrity and fortitude in the face of all adversity. We pray she finds peace and comfort in the hands of our Lord.”
Lewis served on two House committees: Rural Affairs & Agriculture and Transportation & Local Government. Last legislative session she sponsored a bill that would have prevented lab-grown proteins from being labeled as “meat” in Colorado. She was also a strong advocate against what she considered the abuse and “over-use” of conservation easements.
Tom Peterson, chair of the Elbert County Republican Party, told CPR’s Colorado Matters that Lewis was a delight.
“She was so passionate and had such strong convictions and was yet personable and respected on both sides of the aisle. People know exactly where she stood," Peterson said.
A vacancy committee made up of Republicans in her district will select Lewis’ replacement for the 2020 legislative session.