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JENNY OROPEZA 2006.JPGThe Senate on Thursday will celebrate the life of the late Sen. Jenny Oropeza, a Long Beach Democrat who championed cancer-prevention legislation and died last October at age 53 after a long illness.

Oropeza will be eulogized by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat. The tribute will start around 10 a.m. Several of the late senator's colleagues are also scheduled to speak about her life and work.

Oropeza's mother, Sharon, is expected to attend, along with a brother and sister. The first Latina member of the Long Beach City Council, Oropeza also served in the Assembly and on transportation and education boards in the Los Angeles area.

She fought cancer and defeated it, but last year suffered from a blood clot that weakened her health.

In 2005, the League of California Cities' Latino Caucus named her legislator of the year. The Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters in 2006 recognized her legislative work to curb air pollution and increase cancer prevention.

PHOTO CREDIT: Assembly Member Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, smiles on the floor of the Assembly before the vote on an education and levee deal, Wednesday March 15, 2006. Sacramento Bee file photo / Brian Baer



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