Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was a Cleveland original. Stephanie never cared about “style points.” She only cared about passing public policy that served the common good. No one matched her passion, energy, or voice for the poor and vulnerable. Everyone wanted her on their side. She was ever present in her 11th Congressional District and was tireless in her advocacy for victims of predatory lending, the uninsured, the unemployed, and children. The news this week that 30 percent of Clevelanders are living in poverty would have caused her to redouble her efforts at the national level. One of her dreams was to become the first woman chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Most certainly, she would have used that pulpit to the benefit of her constituents and the nation.
A woman of deep faith and a champion of the poor, one rarely encounters a person with the integrity, compassion, love for humanity, and political skills that Congresswoman Tubbs Jones possessed. Catholic social action in Cleveland lost a key ally. Our nation lost a marvelous public servant.
Tom Allio is director of the social action office of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, chair of the Ohio Coalition for Responsible Lending, and a Sojourners board member.