RIP: Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Last week, Ohioans, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the nation lost a unique hero of progressive politics. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) died at age 58 after suffering an aneurysm caused by a brain hemorrhage.
Tubbs Jones was a trailblazer, being the first black woman to serve as an Ohio common pleas judge. She was also the first African American and first woman to serve as prosecutor for Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), OH.
Her firsts didn’t stop there, as she became the first black woman to represent Ohio in the House. She was also the first black woman to serve on the influential House Ways and Means Committee. She also served as Chairwoman on the House Ethics Committee. She was hugely popular with her constituents in the 11th district, not only because of her faithful service, but also as a lifetime resident and neighbor.
She took controversial stances unapologetically. She stood up for fair elections when everyone else was screaming “sore loser,” leading the House fight against the certification of President Bush’s re-election in 2004. She continued to call for electoral fairness until the day she died, proving her campaign was about voters and not candidates. She showed her motivation in a speech on the House floor:
“If [voters are] willing to stand at polls for countless hours in the rain as many did in Ohio, then I should surely stand up for them here in the halls of Congress. This objection does not have at its root the hope or even the hint of overturning the victory of the president, but it is a necessary, timely, and appropriate opportunity to review and remedy the most precious process in our democracy.”
Despite her controversial stances and bold words, Tubbs Jones was not argumentative. She sought to build consensus through mutual comprehension, as evidenced in one of her favorite phrases with which to introduce an important point: “Understand this.”
Aside from the battles she fought and the barriers she broke, there are words that keep coming up when her friends describe the woman they clearly miss so much. We at BuzzFlash weren’t fortunate to have known this dynamic woman well, so we thought we would let a few of the people who knew and loved her speak to the traits of the late, great Stephanie Tubbs Jones.
For all this and more, we wish to give this week’s BuzzFlash Wings of Justice Award to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones posthumously. She was well loved and will be greatly missed. We salute her, and hope she rests peacefully.