Blog Posts For The Week Of August 13, 2015 Through August 19, 2015

Lou Stokes: An Unyielding Force for Justice: Statement from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur
By Gongwer Staff
Posted: August, 19 2015 2:17 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) issued the following statement today after receiving news that former Congressman Louis Stokes of Cleveland passed away late Tuesday night.

"Our hearts are heavy but immensely grateful for the path-breaking life and legendary generous service of Congressman Louis Stokes. As the first African American Member of Congress elected to serve from Ohio, he wrote fresh history for America every day of his life. Rising from the public housing projects of Cleveland, he and his brother Carl became revered as they built a more inclusive and representative America. What courage and passion that required.


His enlightened leadership moved America ‎forward socially, economically, and legally. In Congress, his gentlemanly demeanor and sharp intellect allowed him to chair, again as the first African American, the Appropriations subcommittee on Veterans, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies. He also chaired the House Select Committee on Assassinations and served on the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran. His agile legal mind was evident in the investigations he conducted.

‎The people of Cleveland and Ohio have been blessed through his life and hold abiding gratitude for his extraordinary life and generous spirit. As Dean of the Ohio delegation, I served with Congressman Stokes for a quarter century. I hold lasting memories of his deep love for his wife and family, his indefatigable and inspired ‎efforts to gain respect and equal justice in the law for all our citizens, his perseverance in building America's communities forward, his dedication to meeting our nation's obligations to veterans, to advance space science, and to catapult Cleveland's health and human services to the top rung of national assets.

I shall sorely miss his dogged determination, easy smile, keen and measured counsel, and persevering nature. What a gifted leader has lived among us. May the angels carry him to a deserved peaceful rest close to the heart of God.‎"

House Dems pay tribute to late Congressman Louis Stokes
By Gongwer Staff
Posted: August, 19 2015 2:16 PM

COLUMBUS— Members of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus today mourned the loss of former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes after it was announced that he passed away late Tuesday night.

First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968, Congressman Stokes was the first African American member of Congress from the state of Ohio. During his 15-term career at the Capitol, Congressman Stokes led the Select Committee on Assassinations that investigated the slayings of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., headed the Congressional Black Caucus, and was the first African American member on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Here is what House Democratic lawmakers are saying about the passing of former Congressman Stokes:

“I am so grateful for every conversation and every hug that we shared, and so grateful to have been so positively affected and encouraged by his amazing work, compassion, unconditional support and wisdom,” said Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights). “I am praying for his loving family. Congressman Stokes will always be ‘Uncle Lou’ to me.”

“I am deeply saddened to mourn the loss of Congressman Stokes. The cherished memory of Congressman Stokes will always dwell within the legacy of his work. He was an exemplary standard and beacon of hope for black Democrats from Cleveland wishing to pursue public office. To his family, may God be with you during this difficult time, please know that you are in my prayers, and my thoughts are with you in this time of sorrow. I join you in honoring his many great achievements, and celebrating his life,” said Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland).

“I first met Congressman Louis Stokes in 1992. As a Euclid resident, I was proud to have him represent me in the halls of Congress,” said Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid). “The final time I saw Congressman Stokes was on May 7, when I had the pleasure to present the congressman with a proclamation from the Ohio General Assembly commemorating his lifetime of public service. As I was reading a proclamation, I stopped and remarked, ‘this is a man who has buildings named after him.’ He was a giant of a man, and well deserving of a place in Cleveland history.”

“I am saddened by the loss of an admirable statesman and individual,” said Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “Lou Stokes was an example of the best of us who serve in elected office.”

“I had the great privilege of knowing Congressman Stokes my entire life, and know that we could not have asked for a finer representative of Cleveland,” said Rep. Nick Celebrezze (D-Parma). “His commitment and service to not only our city and state, but to our entire nation will never be forgotten and will be greatly missed.”

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Congressman Louis Stokes. I consider myself blessed to have served alongside the Congressman this year as a founding member of the Governor’s Taskforce on Community-Police Relations,” said State Rep. and President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati). “We have lost another door-busting, glass ceiling-breaking giant who succeeded against all odds. As he rests in heaven for a job well done, we must take action to build on his legacy and the blueprint he left behind for criminal justice and voting rights.”


“I join our community in mourning the passing of Congressman Louis Stokes this morning. My thoughts and prayers are with the Stokes family in this difficult time,” said Rep. Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati). “After making history as the first African-American elected to Congress from Ohio, Congressman Stokes went on to fight for the rights of all Americans. Congressman Stokes truly embodied the spirt of public service and will be remembered as a champion of his community and an example to us all.”

“Today the nation lost a champion of social justice. Congressman Stokes was a true public servant in every way and his legacy will last for generations. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family,” said Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus).

“We have truly lost an icon. A prodigious trailblazer, Congressman Stokes’ enormous contributions to the cause of civil rights and human rights is unparalleled,” stated Rep. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus). “His public policy legacy clearly reflects his deep concern and support of the disenfranchised, marginalized, and most vulnerable among us.”

“My sincere and deepest sympathy goes out to family and friends of the Honorable Louis Stokes. Without a doubt, we have truly lost a legend and a giant in his death. I hope that his legacy of service continues to live on through the individuals whose lives he touched over the course of his remarkable life,” said Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron).

“Congressman Stokes was a dedicated public servant whose commitment to justice and diligent acts as an elected official cannot be replaced,” said Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron). “His legacy in the state of Ohio, and the nation, will live on for generations.”

 “Congressman Stokes illustrates a courageous and exemplary public servant whose example we all should strive to follow. May his memory enlighten those who stray from what is right and what is easy, as his legacy will forever remain a staple in our country’s history. My thoughts and prayers are with the Stokes’ family during this difficult time,” said Rep. Stephen Slesnick (D-Canton).

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