Alabama’s first female Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley has passed away at the age of 78. She died peacefully at her home surrounded by family.
Baxley was the last Alabama Democrat to hold statewide office, serving in the as lieutenant governor from 2003-2007.
In 2006, Baxley defeated Don Siegelman to claim the Democratic nomination for governor, where she ran against incumbent Republican Gov. Bob Riley, but lost. Shortly after the election, Baxley suffered a stroke that left her confined to a wheelchair.
Nevertheless she persevered and went on to narrowly defeat Republican Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh for president of Alabama’s Public Service Commission in 2008.
In 2012, Cavanaugh defeated Baxley in her re-election bid.
“Today the state of Alabama lost a great public servant,” Gov. Robert Bentley said of Baxley’s passing. “Lucy Baxley loved Alabama and loved the people of Alabama. I enjoyed our time working together when I served in the Legislature. Lucy will forever be remembered as a fierce advocate for the people of Alabama, for her decades of service and as Alabama’s first female lieutenant governor. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this time.”
House Minority Leader Craig Ford echoed Bentley’s sentiments that Baxley was a great public servant.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Baxley family today,” said Ford in a statement. “Lucy was a true public servant, a pillar of the Alabama Democratic Party and will be greatly missed.”
Baxley is survived by her husband of 20 years, Jim Smith, her son Louis Baxley, daughter Becky Nichols, as well as four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
“When I asked Lucy to marry me, I really didn’t know what it would be like to be married to a politician,” Smith said in a news release from the family. “I’m still not so sure about the politician part, but I do know what it was like to be married to the most caring and wonderful woman in the world.”