OCNative at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
OCNative at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, who returned to public service after undergoing a double lung transplant but announced in March she would not seek re-election due to medical concerns, died Thursday at age 62.

According to Runner’s family, she died at home surrounded by family and friends. Her husband, George Runner, serves on the state Board of Equalization.

Runner served in the Assembly for six years and was elected to the Senate in 2011, replacing her husband. Runner, who was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 1984, underwent a double lung transplant in 2012 and decided not to seek re-election. She opted to return last year, running unopposed for the Senate seat vacated by Steve Knight, who was elected to Congress in 2014.

“Sharon Runner distinguished herself as the truly best example of a wife, mother, leader and friend,” said Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus. “She and her husband George will ever represent a legendary leadership team that served the people of California nobly and well.”

Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, hailed Runner’s work to “improve educational opportunities for children, keep our communities safe from sexual predators and help foster kids.”

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, called her a tireless advocate for children and her constituents.

“Senator Runner showed great leadership in the cause of increasing organ donation, and it would be a great tribute to her memory for more Californians to sign up to be part of this vital program,” Rendon said.

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

—City News Service

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