The moments that shaped Donald McEachin’s political career

Posted at 4:35 PM, Nov 30, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- In 2007, Donald McEachin rolled the dice.

Then a delegate in the Virginia General Assembly, the Henrico Democrat decided to give up his seat and challenge State Senator Benny Lambert in their party’s primary.

The odds were long, as Lambert had been a popular figure in the statehouse for three decades.

McEachin’s gamble paid off. He upset the veteran lawmaker, and firmly established himself as one of the Democrats’ rising stars.

“Obviously I’m excited and I’m humbled by this opportunity,” McEachin told CBS 6 at his victory party.

Ten years later his political journey took him to Washington D.C. when McEachin won the election to represent Virginia’s new 4th District in Congress.

A personal injury attorney by trade, McEachin considered himself a progressive and spoke about his desire to protect Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens.

In 2018, he reached out to CBS 6 after seeing a series of Problem Solvers investigations about the conditions at some of the apartment complexes in his district.

McEachin ended up taking an unannounced look for himself, accompanied by one of our crews.

"To be forced to live in conditions like this, this young lady has to pay an electric bill that has now tripled because these folks won't come to fix the heat, it's not right. It's not the way you treat people," McEachin said.

And just one month before his death, the congressman spoke out and demanded answers, after a New York Times investigation found that Bon Secours had slashed critical resources from Richmond Community Hospital.

“It saddens me, but it also makes me very angry,” McEachin said.

From Capitol Square to Capitol Hill, Donald McEachin represented Virginians for nearly a quarter century.

And while he was a lifelong Democrat, as McEachin once told CBS 6, he was always willing to listen to the other side to try and find common ground.

“You know, one of the things I’ve learned is that the Virginia delegation works in a bipartisan fashion to advance the interests of Virginia and Virginians, and I look forward to being a part of that," he said in a 2016 interview.

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