By: Tanu Henry, California Black Media
Family members, friends, former colleagues and other loved ones across California were shocked to learn about the passing of former California Assemblymember Gwen Moore on Aug. 19. Her family has not yet announced the cause of her death. Moore was first elected to the state legislature in 1978 and served for 16 years until 1994, representing California’s 49th district (redistricted and renumbered in 1990 as the 47th district), which currently includes Long Beach, Catalina Island and parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties. While serving in the Assembly, Moore, introduced over 400 bills that were signed into law. She also served as Majority Whip and was a member of a number of influential committees, including the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee. Moore was the architect and political force behind California General Order 156. It is a state supplier diversity program that has, over the years, strengthened and stabilized a number of California Black-owned, Women-owned and other minority-owned small businesses by helping them secure lucrative state contracts. 1n 1994, Moore resigned from the Assembly to run for Secretary of State. Although she didn’t win that race, Moore began to pursue other opportunities outside of elected office that influenced state policy and impacted the lives of people. The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles-based GeM Communications Group, Moore was a sought-after consultant and worked with several prominent clients across the state. Her family, relatives, former colleagues and friends across California and the United States reached out to each other as the shocking news of her unexpected death was shared across her political, business and social circles. Moore served on numerous boards. Among them were the California State Bar Board of Trustees, the California Small Business Association board and the national board of the NAACP. She was also First Vice President of the California State Conference of the NAACP, Vice Chair of the California Utility Diversity Council and Chairwoman of the California Black Business Association. For her work in California and across the United States, Moore won numerous national and local awards, including honors from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. California Black media will continue to follow Hon. Moore’s death with updates, tributes from loved ones and news about her final arrangements.