EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died Wednesday (Aug. 20, 2008) after suffering a brain hemorrhage, a Cleveland Clinic official said. She was 58.
The liberal Democrat, first elected in 1998, suffered "a very serious brain hemorrhage" while driving Tuesday night, said Dr. Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital. The hemorrhage was caused by an aneurysm that burst and left her with limited brain function, spokeswoman Eileen Sheil said.
"Throughout the course of the day and into this evening, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones' medical condition declined," Sheil said in a statement from the clinic and Rep. Tubbs Jones' family.
Rep. Tubbs Jones represented the heavily Democratic 11th District and chaired the ethics committee in the House. 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.
"Stephanie Tubbs Jones was a gifted trailblazer with a spirit as big as the city she loved," Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern said in a statement.
She was known as an outspoken, gregarious lawmaker. She was an 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 posed a continued threat to the United States. Neither of those claims had been proved, she said, adding that was why the United States couldn't persuade the United Nations to support an attack.