Ben Miranda, Former Lawmaker, Dies at 64

Ben Miranda, an attorney, former Democratic lawmaker and longtime Latino community leader, died at the age of 64.

Miranda was serving on the Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board at the time of his death.

The Arizona Capitol Times was the first to report Miranda's death, earlier today.

His wife, Catherine Miranda is in the state House of Representatives, in the same district he represented from 2002 to 2010.

Federal prison records show his brother, former state Representative Richard Miranda, is still serving a 27-month prison sentence for illegally taking money from a charity he was directing.

Ben Miranda also has two daughters, and four grandchildren.

Here's a biography of Ben Miranda from the Legislature's website:

"Ben Miranda comes from a farm worker family of 11 brothers and sisters. By the age of ten he had attended over fifteen different elementary schools in four different states. This family has given our community four attorneys, a State Representative, a State Senator, and other career professionals. Ben Miranda grew up in the Marcos de Niza Housing Projects of down town Phoenix. He graduated from Phoenix Union High School and served in the U.S. Army. He served our country in the Vietnam conflict and was awarded the Bronze Star by Senator Barry Goldwater. After attending Phoenix College and undergraduate studies at Arizona State University, he graduated with Deans Award from ASU Law School where he led a recruitment effort that increased minority law student enrollment by 50%.

In 1994, Ben received the City of Phoenix's First Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Living the Dream" Award. His law firm contributed hundreds of hours and over $100,000.00 of immigrant legal services, in support of Cesar Chavez of United Farm Workers. In the words of Bill Soltero-Cesar Chavez's closest friend and confidant... "Without an exception when Cesar needed help in Arizona, he and I would visit Ben. No-one in Arizona sacrificed or gave more of himself for our cause then Ben."

Ben's law practice has focused on personal injury law where a significant case involved the death of a 13-year old girl named Grizelda Zamora, who died from a ruptured appendix for alleged denial of timely medical attention. This landmark case has significant implications for the quality of medical treatment provided to low-income families throughout Arizona.

Elected to the State Legislature in 2002, Ben serves with his brother, Senator Richard Miranda, the first brothers elected to serve together as state level office holders. Ben has twice been selected by his peers to serve as Chair of the Arizona Latino Caucus of the State Legislature. In November 2007, Ben was awarded the John S. Martinez Leadership Award in Miami, Florida by the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.

Ben's passion for helping the uderserved had led him to establish Proyeto Manzana which is focused on immigrant issues. Ben has traveled extensively to Central and South America and met with local elected leaders. Ben has also served on the boards of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, American Red Cross and Valle de Sol. In addition to holding a weekly television program on legal issues, Ben Miranda has represented the City of Avondale, Pacific Gas and Electric and Local 383, A.F.L.C.I.O. Ben Miranda has acquired a well-deserved reputation for devoting countless hours of free legal advice to people in our community who could not otherwise obtain legal services.

Finally and most important to Ben, he is married to Catherine, an Elementary School Assistant Principal and he is a devoted father to his daughters, Maritza and Elisa, grandfather to Mariella and Abraham.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley