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2020 Dems honor Emily Clyburn

2020 Dems honor Emily Clyburn
© Stefani Reynolds

Democratic presidential candidates offered their condolences to House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Thursday after his wife, civil rights activist Emily Clyburn, passed away at the age of 80. 

"Jill and I are heartbroken this morning at the passing of Dr. Emily Clyburn. Throughout our years of friendship with the Clyburn family, she was always a force, pushing not only her husband," former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE said in a statement. 

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerIt's in America's best interest to lead global COVID-19 vaccine distribution ABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent NJ lawmakers ask Gannett to stop 'union-busting' efforts at 3 state newspapers MORE (D-N.J.) also praised Clyburn, calling her "a force and a shining example of a servant's heart," while Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump sued by Democrat over mob attack on Capitol Harris speaks with Netanyahu amid ICC probe Senate votes to take up COVID-19 relief bill MORE (D-Calif.) referred to her as a "pillar of her community." 

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South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Senate begins marathon vote-a-rama before .9T COVID-19 relief passage The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Virus relief bill headed for weekend vote Biden turns focus to next priority with infrastructure talks MORE (D) commended Clyburn for her commitment to civil rights and education. 

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Clyburn, who also worked as a librarian, met her husband after they were arrested in a civil rights demonstration. The pair married in 1961. 

The congressman credited his wife for pushing him to run for office, saying that she told him “I just wonder when you are going to stop talking about South Carolina’s problems and start doing something about them” after he delivered a speech at a housing conference in 1971, according to The State.

The South Carolina politician has become a fixture in the state's politics, hosting his famous fish fry in June, which was attended by Democratic presidential candidates.