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Mar 5, 2013 7:48 PM by JD Downing

First Latina in Colorado House, dies

DENVER (AP) - Elizabeth "Betty" Benavidez, the first Hispanic woman elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, has died.

Her family says Benavidez passed away Friday after a heart attack. She was 77.

A lifelong resident of Colorado, Benavidez was elected to the state House in 1970 and served from 1971 to 1974. She had not worked in politics before, but the community urged her to run, according to her daughter-in-law, Celina Benavidez.

She says the Denver Democrat was an advocate for the union labor movement, farmers' rights and women's rights. She once fasted with Cesar Chavez to support fair treatment for workers.

According to Celina Benavidez, Betty viewed politics as an equalizer, and she was especially proud of her work on a bilingual education bill.

Click here to learn about her legislative record.

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