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Stephanie Tubbs Jones, 1949 - 2008

First black congresswoman from Ohio, Iraq war critic

August 21, 2008|From Associated Press

EAST CLEVELAND, OHIO — U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress and a strong critic of the Iraq war, died Wednesday, a hospital spokeswoman said. She was 58.

Tubbs Jones died of a brain hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm that burst and left her with limited brain function, said Eileen Sheil, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Clinic, which owns the Huron Hospital in East Cleveland where Tubbs Jones died.

The liberal Democrat, first elected in 1998, suffered the hemorrhage while driving her car in Cleveland Heights on Tuesday night, said Dr. Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital.

Several news organizations, including the Associated Press, had reported earlier Wednesday that Tubbs Jones had died. That report, citing a Democratic official, was corrected a few minutes later when a hospital official held a news conference to say she was in critical condition.

Tubbs Jones represented the heavily Democratic 11th District and chaired the House Ethics Committee. She was the first black woman to serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, where she opposed President Bush's tax cuts and his efforts to create personal accounts within Social Security.

Tubbs Jones was a firm supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during the primaries until throwing her support behind Sen. Barack Obama in June.

She was to have been a superdelegate at next week's Democratic National Convention in Denver. Obama called Tubbs Jones "an extraordinary American and an outstanding public servant."

Tubbs Jones was a passionate opponent of the Iraq war, 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. She said she did so because the resolution connected Iraq to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and said Iraq poses a continued threat to the United States.

A native of Cleveland, Tubbs Jones graduated from Case Western Reserve University, where she later received her law degree. She was elected to the Municipal Court in 1981.

Information on survivors was not immediately available.

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