Sharon Runner

Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
July 14, 2016 – 8:58 AM

  • Runner underwent a double lung transplant
  • Runner said earlier this year she wouldn’t seek re-election

California Sen. Sharon Runner, who returned to the Legislature last year following a double lung transplant, died Thursday. The Lancaster Republican was 62.

Runner’s family said in a statement that she died peacefully at home, surrounded by family and friends, following respiratory complications.

“Through her life, Sharon held tight to her favorite Bible verse, Proverbs 3:5-6, trusting in the Lord through all obstacles,” the Runner family said. “We take comfort in the fact that the Lord truly directed her path, and she is now home in the arms of her savior.”

Runner, who was married to Board of Equalization member George Runner, announced in March that she would not seek re-election when her term ended this year, citing “medical challenges during the cold and flu season.”

She spent six years in the Assembly before winning a 2011 special election to advance to the Senate, filling the seat of her husband, who left to serve on the state Board of Equalization. The Runners had been the first spouses to serve simultaneously in the Legislature.

Sharon Runner, an evangelical Christian, helped found Desert Christian School in Lancaster. Though she didn’t proselytize, Runner often recited the biblical passage from Proverbs that gave her comfort: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.”

Among her most significant legislative achievements was sponsoring Jessica’s Law, the successful 2006 initiative that tightened restrictions on paroled sex offenders.

In 2012, Runner announced that she would not seek re-election after a rare autoimmune disease, know as scleroderma, required a life-saving double lung transplant. She became an advocate for organ donation.

In an interview two years ago, as she planned her comeback, Runner said she was enjoying hiking, zip-lining and riding roller coasters with her grandchildren after spending considerable time in intensive care.

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