I was very sad to read earlier today that Stephanie Tubbs Jones had passed away. Tubbs Jones died “after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a burst aneurysm.” She was 58.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose presidential candidacy Tubbs Jones had embraced, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, recalled Tubbs Jones as “one of a kind” and “unwavering, indefatigable.”
Senator John Kerry today released the following statement in response to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones’ passing:
“Theresa and I were shocked and saddened to hear of Stephanie Tubbs Jones’ untimely passing. This news breaks our hearts. Stephanie combined the best of heart, head, and spirit. She was a pioneer who led the way as the first African American woman from Ohio to be elected to Congress. When she was on your side, she was there all the way. We spent so many days together in 2004 and our friendship endured. She was one of a kind, the genuine article. We are praying for her family and loved ones.”
Tubbs Jones was “the first African-American woman in Congress from Ohio.” She was “in her Chrysler about 9 p.m. Tuesday when a Cleveland Heights police officer spotted her driving erratically.”
When the car stopped, the officer found Tubbs Jones unconscious but breathing. She was rushed to Huron Hospital in East Cleveland, where tearful local leaders arrived throughout Wednesday.
“She dedicated her life in public service to helping others and will continue to do so through organ donations,” said a statement issued by her family, Huron Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic. [...]
Tubbs Jones was admired by colleagues in both parties for her tenacity. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called her “a tireless force for justice, equality, and opportunity.” Minority Leader John Boehner, a Republican from southwest Ohio, said she was “a passionate representative who worked tirelessly to make Cleveland a better place for her constituents.”
Paired with an outgoing personality, her fearless approach took her from working-class Cleveland roots to Case Western Reserve University law school and rough-and-tumble Cuyahoga County politics before she arrived on the national scene.
She gained renewed prominence this year by campaigning passionately for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. But just after the 2004 presidential election, she also drew national attention for her claims, made on the floor of the House of Representatives, that electoral fraud and manipulation led to Bush’s re-election. It was only the second House election challenge since 1877.
That, more than any other single event, got her labeled as a partisan firebrand. Yet Steve LaTourette, the Republican congressman from Concord Township, said he considered Tubbs Jones “my dear, dear friend for more than 20 years, dating back to our days as county prosecutors.”
“She was a force of nature and always the most popular and gregarious person in any room,” LaTourette said.
Stokes, the 30-year congressman whose retirement created a chance for Tubbs Jones to run, described her as a “beautiful, bubbling, charismatic woman” who “was so highly talented.” No matter where she went, he said, “she lit the room up.”
Tubbs Jones, whose mother was a factory worker and father was a skycap at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, had planned to fly to Denver this Sunday for the Democratic National Convention. She was to be a super delegate and witness the formal nomination of Obama.
A great loss to America. RIP Stephanie Tubbs Jones, you will be missed in the halls of Congress and by many, no doubt whose lives you touched.