Flags at half staff for Florida's Gwen Margolis, first woman leader of a state Senate
Gov. Ron DeSantis directed flags at half-staff Wednesday to honor the Democratic late state Sen. Gwen Margolis of Miami-Dade County.
"To honor the memory of Gwen Margolis and her service to our state, I hereby direct the flags of the United States and the State of Florida to be flown at half-staff at the Miami-Dade County Courthouse in Miami, the City Hall of Miami, and at the State Capitol in Tallahassee, immediately until sunset," the governor said in a statement.
Margolis, the first woman to serve as the leader of a state Senate, died early Tuesday. She was 85.
A memorial service was held earlier Wednesday and can be watched on Facebook.
Margolis served 30 years in the Florida Legislature, including three different times in the Senate. She served as Senate president in 1990-92, and was the last Democrat to lead the chamber.
Margolis also served in the House of Representatives from 1974-80. She served in the Senate from 1980-92, 2002-08, and 2010-16.
She also served on on the Miami-Dade County Commission from 1993-2002 and was the commission's first female chair.
She unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1992, losing to Republican Clay Shaw. She was also inducted into Florida's Women's Hall of Fame in 2009. She was known for championing women's rights, children's health issues and an open and ethical government.
While the Capitol is closed to the public because of the coronavirus, a memorial was created in front of the Senate chamber doors.
Also, the portrait of Margolis that hangs in the Senate chamber was draped in black cloth, a tradition when a former presiding officer dies.
Her family asks that contributions in her name go to the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Beth Torah (Benny Rok Campus), and Feeding South Florida.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.