political allies and even onetime enemies came pouring in
for Democratic U.S. representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a
trailblazer whose energy and outspokenness made her
one of Congress's most dynamic leaders.
Tubbs Jones, the
first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died
Wednesday evening after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused
by a ruptured aneurysm. She was 58.
"She poured her
heart and soul into her job," said Rep. Dennis
Kucinich of Ohio. "She worked so hard and gave everything
she could. I'm devastated. Wherever we'd go, we'd
speak of each other as brother and sister. It's an
represented Ohio's heavily Democratic 11th district for five
terms. She was the first black woman to serve on the
powerful House Ways and Means Committee and the first
to serve as a common pleas judge in Ohio.
suffered the hemorrhage while driving her car in
suburban Cleveland Heights on Tuesday night. She had been
driving erratically and her vehicle crossed lanes of
traffic before coming to a stop, police said. An
officer found her.
An aneurysm is a
dangerous weakness or bulge in a blood vessel that can
leak or rupture, causing bleeding. In Tubbs Jones, the
aneurysm burst in an inaccessible part of her brain,
said Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital in East
Cleveland, where Tubbs Jones died. Several news
organizations, including the Associated Press, incorrectly
announced her death about four hours before she died.
Tubbs Jones, who
chaired the House Ethics Committee, was a passionate
opponent of the war in Iraq, voting in 2002 against
authorizing the use of military force. Just as the war
was starting in March 2003, she was one of only 11
House members to oppose a resolution supporting U.S.
troops in Iraq.
"I am going to
miss her as a friend and colleague, and her leadership
will most certainly be missed by her constituents, northeast
Ohio, and the state as a whole," said Republican
senator George Voinovich of Ohio.
She was one of
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's biggest boosters during the
primaries and was to have been a superdelegate at next
week's Democratic National Convention in Denver.
She switched her
backing to Sen. Barack Obama in June but said he could
not win unless Clinton's supporters rallied behind him. She
also said Obama should consider Clinton as a running
family released a statement saying Tubbs Jones was a
"one-woman force for progress in our country" and that they
shared a friendship with her that "deepened through every
trial and challenge."
"Over the course
of many years, with many ups and many downs, Stephanie
was right by our side -- unwavering, indefatigable," the
Tubbs Jones "an extraordinary American and an
outstanding public servant."
"It wasn't enough
for her just to break barriers in her own life. She
was also determined to bring opportunity to all those who
had been overlooked and left behind -- and in
Stephanie, they had a fearless friend and unyielding
advocate," Obama said in a statement.
On the Ways and
Means Committee, Tubbs Jones opposed President Bush's tax
cuts and his efforts to create personal accounts within
Social Security. In 2005 she opposed certifying his
reelection because of questionable electoral results
in her home state.
"She was an
effective legislator who was dedicated to helping small
businesses, improving local schools, expanding job
opportunities for Ohioans, and ensuring that more of
them have access to health care," Bush said Wednesday.
"Our nation is grateful for her service."
Tubbs Jones grew
up in a working-class area of Cleveland, the youngest of
three girls. Her father, Andrew Tubbs, was a skycap for
United Airlines at Cleveland Hopkins International
Airport. Her mother, Mary, was a homemaker and later a
studied sociology at Case Western Reserve University on a
full scholarship that she attributed to affirmative action
she worked for the city sewer district and Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. Tubbs Jones also served
as a Cuyahoga County common pleas judge and prosecutor
before running for political office.
representative Louis Stokes made Tubbs Jones his handpicked
successor in 1998.
somebody whom I felt could carry on what I tried to do for
30 years in that congressional district," Stokes said. "She
did it. She took it to a higher level, a new level.
She made me so proud." (AP)