Larcenia Bullard

MIAMI (AP) - Larcenia Bullard, a Democrat who served for two decades in the Florida House and Senate representing parts of South Florida, has died. She was 65.

Aaron McKinney, an assistant to Bullard's son, state Sen. Dwight Bullard, announced her death in an email to lawmakers and their staffs on Saturday evening. The email did not disclose her cause of death.

In an email, Senate President Don Gaetz said Bullard had "faced many serious challenges to her health in recent months." However, Gaetz said she made an appearance on the Senate floor two weeks ago as her son began his first session as a Senator.

Gaetz, a Republican, said Bullard was well-known among her colleagues for her compassion and good humor. Tough debates "ended with her warmly embracing those with whom she disagreed and assuring them of her love," Gaetz said.

Bullard served in the House from 1992 to 2000 and the Senate from 2002 to 2012. She left the Senate because of t erm limits. Her son then ran for her vacant seat and won.

Chris Smith, the Senate Democratic leader, said in a news release Saturday that Bullard never shied away from controversial issues and standing up for what she believed was right.

"She was not only a mentor to me, but a woman many loved for her outspoken ways and selfless devotion to the people she represented," Smith said.

Bullard garnered headlines statewide - as well as a few laughs - in 2009, when she became confused by a reference to animal husbandry during a committee discussion. Husbandry is actually the breeding and raising of livestock.

"People are taking these animals as their husbands? What's husbandry?" Bullard asked.

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