Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the
first African-American woman to represent Ohio in Congress and an
ally to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, died
Wednesday at an East Cleveland, OH hospital after a brain hemorrhage,
a hospital spokeswoman said.
Officials say the Congresswoman
collapsed while driving in the suburb of Cleveland Heights Tuesday
night and was taken to Huron Hospital in nearby East Cleveland where
she remained in critical condition.
“Throughout the course of the day and
into the evening, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones' medical condition
declined,” said Eileen Sheil, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland
Clinic, which owns the Huron Hospital.
“Congresswoman Tubbs Jones was a
leader like none other. She spent the last 10 years of her life in
congress serving the state of Ohio and the nation with decisiveness,
fairness, and integrity. She will be deeply missed by all who loved
and admired here,” said H. Alexander Robinson, Executive Director
and CEO of the National Black Justice Coaltion (NBJC).
Tubbs Jones, a rising Democratic star
who served five House terms and was expected to win her sixth, was a
long-time GLBT ally. She was a co-sponsor of Rep. Ellen Tauscher's
Military Readiness Enhancement Act aimed at repeal of the military's
ban on gays & lesbians serving openly and she scored high on the
Human Rights Campaign GLBT index.
“The entire PFLAG family mourns the
loss of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, one of our nation's true
champions of equality. From employment non-discrimination to the
military to equality for bi-national couples, Congresswoman Jones was
an ardent advocate for the dignity of every American. She never
shirked from any civil rights battle, and never failed to stand up
and give voice to those who often felt voiceless. Our thoughts and
prayers are with Congresswoman Jones' family. Congress, and our
country, have lost one of the biggest hearts of the heartland,”
said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and
Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).