Elinor "EZ" Taylor, the longest serving woman in the history of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and one of the first women to hold a leadership post in the state House, died Tuesday at her home in Florida.
She was 89. Taylor, who had been in failing health for some time, collapsed over the weekend at her Stuart home, The West Chester Daily Local reported.
Taylor, a Republican who represented Chester County for 30 years, retired from the House in 2006 for health reasons.
Taylor was dean of administration at West Chester University and was serving as a member of the West Chester borough council, when she was elected to the state House in 1976.
In 1994 she was elected by fellow Republican lawmakers as secretary of the caucus and during most of her tenure was the only female member of either party’s leadership team. She also served as board chair of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Association (PHEAA) from 1995 until 2006. In 2003 the PHEAA headquarters building in Harrisburg was named after her.
In 1974 she became the first woman elected to the West Chester borough council. During her three decades in Harrisburg, Taylor championed efforts to provide better access to higher education, fighting to increase college funding for financially needy students. She also worked women’s issues and health care issues.
Taylor is survived by a daughter, five grand children and one great-grandchild. Her husband, William Taylor, died in 2004. Funeral arrangements are pending.
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