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Ella Scarborough, Mecklenburg County commissioner, has died at 75

Ella Scarborough talked before Monday's vote that made her Mecklenburg County Commission chair.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Channel

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Ella Scarborough has died. She was 75.

Scarborough, a longtime executive at Duke Energy, was considered an icon in local politics. She was the first Black woman to serve on the Charlotte City Council in 1987. She served on the City Council for a decade. She then ran in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in 1998.

She won the Democratic primary in the 2001 Charlotte mayoral race but lost in the general election to Republican Pat McCrory. Scarborough was elected to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners in 2014.

Her death comes nearly a year after concerns started to surface about her ability to participate in meetings. When commissioners returned to in-person meetings, Scarborough did not attend. Mecklenburg County commissioners voted in February to approve Scarborough for medical leave.

In a tweet Tuesday night, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said she met Scarborough when Lyles first ran for elected office. Both women grew up in South Carolina and made Charlotte home.

"Her death is a significant loss for the city we both came to love," Lyles said.

A native of Sumter, South Carolina, Scarborough graduated from South Carolina State University with a degree in library science education. She received a master’s degree in organizational leadership from the University of Charleston in West Virginia.

Scarborough was a member of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte.

She is survived by her children Troy and Tori, her siblings Floydetta and Norman and her nieces and nephews.

Funeral services are being handled by Chris King Memorial Chapel in Chester, South Carolina.

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