Stokes remembered across the state

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The agenda on today's Sound of Ideas was simply to preview the mayoral debate in Akron. But after learning last night about the passing of former Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes, one of the show's guests, John Green from the University of Akron, took time to discuss the legacy of the 15-term-serving congressman. You can listen to that conversation above.

Several politicans across the country also made statements remembering Stokes.

Congresswoman Marcia Marcia Fudge spoke this morning with ideastream reporter Nick Castele. In addition to that conversation, which you can listen to above, she also issued the following statement:

“Congressman Stokes was my predecessor, mentor and friend. He was a giant of a man - the person who everyone measured themselves against. It was easy to think of him as almost immortal. For more than 30 years, Congressman Stokes tirelessly fought for the people of Ohio. He was our leader in good times and bad. The first African American elected to Congress from Ohio, Congressman Stokes was the epitome of a public servant. While in Washington, he was a trailblazer.  He was the first African American to serve on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and was a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and its Health Braintrust.  He constantly fought to combat pervasive health disparities plaguing the African-American community and served as a voice for people who could not speak for themselves. His work affected thousands.  When he spoke, people listened.  Congressman Stokes exuded leadership, vision and purpose.  He was an example for us all.  It was a privilege to work with him and walk in his Congressional footsteps. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jay, children, Shelley, Angela, Louis, and Lori, and his entire family during this difficult time. As the Book of Matthew says, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done.' The greater Cleveland community, state of Ohio, and nation are indebted to Congressman Stokes. We are grateful for his time with us and his dedication to public service."

Senator George Voinovich spoke with ideastream reporter David C. Barnett this morning. You can that conversation below.

President Barack Obama:

"Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former Congressman Louis Stokes. As a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the first African-American to represent the state of Ohio in Congress, Lou believed deeply in fairness and the idea that every American should have the same opportunity to succeed.  Growing up in Depression-era Cleveland with his mother and brother Carl, Lou triumphed over hardship to become a passionate voice for those less fortunate. He fought to expand access to quality healthcare in struggling communities and worked tirelessly on behalf of hardworking Ohioans. Lou leaves behind an indelible legacy in the countless generations of young leaders that he inspired, and he will be sorely missed. Michelle and I send our condolences to his wife Jay and the family and friends who loved him so dearly."

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson:

“It is not often that someone is able to come along and impact the history of a city and nation as Congressman Louis Stokes did. The City of Cleveland’s success, history, and people were profoundly influenced by his work as a public servant. Cleveland’s progress as a city is directly tied to Congressman Stokes’ leadership and his career acts as a model for many on how to serve with integrity and dignity. The best way to honor Congressman Stokes is to remember the Stokes Era in Cleveland that he began along with his brother, the honorable Ambassador and Mayor Carl B. Stokes. Theirs is a legacy that is embed within the past and future of Cleveland. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Congressman Louis Stokes during this difficult time. Cleveland and the nation has lost a true champion of the people and I have lost a friend.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich:

"I'm saddened by the loss of my friend Lou Stokes. He was a giant, who led by his conviction as much as he did by his personal grace. I am proud to have served in Congress with him. Cleveland, Ohio and America are stronger for his service and I hope reflecting on that can inspire future leaders at a time when we need to come together more as a country. My family's thoughts and prayers go out to his at this difficult time."

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine:

"Ohio has lost one of its most dedicated public servants with the death of former Congressman Louis Stokes.  I had the pleasure of working with Lou when I served in Congress. Lou Stokes never forgot where he came from and the people he represented in Washington.  Lou was one of Ohio's leading lawyers and a fierce advocate for Cleveland.   Lou was also a true gentleman and a friend to many.   Fran and I send our deepest sympathy to his wife Jeanette, his children and grandchildren."

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish:

"Through his accomplishments in government service, Congressman Stokes lifted up countless people throughout Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and the entire nation. His impact on all of our lives has been invaluable and he will be sorely missed as part of this community."

US Senator Sherrod Brown:

“Lou Stokes always did the right thing and spent his life fighting for Ohioans. I’ve been proud to call him a friend and a mentor, whose counsel I relied on for 30 years. Lou Stokes continued to stand up for northeast Ohioans ‎long after he left Congress.‎ He’ll be remembered in the communities he strengthened, the veterans he served, and the many lives he touched. Connie and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family.”

US Senator Rob Portman:

“The city of Cleveland and our nation lost an icon this week. Lou Stokes dedicated his life to lifting up others and expanding opportunities for those most in need. He was effective because he knew how to bring people together to solve problems and, as a result, he had a meaningful impact on countless lives in his beloved hometown of Cleveland and around the country. I had the pleasure of serving with Lou in the U.S. House, where we cosponsored a number of bills together, and collaborated on the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in my hometown of Cincinnati. I was then fortunate to be his colleague at Squire, Sanders law firm. I had the opportunity to visit with Lou in Cleveland just last week, where I was able to express my gratitude for his friendship and for his remarkable public service career. Jane and I send our deepest condolences to Lou's wife Jay and their entire family.”

 Congressman Tim Ryan:

"Congressman Lou Stokes loved life and loved his family. He loved Cleveland, and he loved the political process.  He was a giant of a man who embodied a quiet dignity that still inspires me today to do more for those who don't have a voice. When I was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, it was Congressman Stokes who advised and counseled me on how to make my position work for the people of Ohio. It was not his responsibility to take the time to help a young Congressman, but everywhere you look you will find stories like mine where he went out of his way to help those in their time of need. Congressman Stokes was a man of great accomplishment, but he remained a selfless public servant. Today we celebrate his life and accomplishments and I am thankful that I had the good fortune of crossing paths with such a magnificent man."

US Attorney Steven Dettelbach:

"One of the first things I did when I became US Attorney was arrange for Lou Stokes to address every federal prosecutor in the District. We were in the midst of a huge county corruption scandal, and public service was taking a public beating. But Lou Stokes was a there as a shining beacon of integrity, of excellence and most important of all for us, of justice. I will always remember not only his words and wisdom that day, and whenever we spoke, but the incredible example that his entire life set."

The Stokes family left the following statement: 

“Our family is mourning the loss of our husband, father, grandfather and close confidant.  He died peacefully with Jay, his wife of 55 years, at his side.  During his illness, he confronted it as he did life -- with bravery and strength. He was always guided by faith, while embracing the prayers and well wishes of family, friends and constituents. We are grateful for the cards, prayers and words of comfort during this difficult time.  He loved Cleveland and he was honored to have the opportunity to represent its citizens in the United States Congress.  He was equally committed to our family, and his love knew no bounds.  It is this enduring love that will sustain us in the days and years to come.”

Before the Akron Mayoral Debate started earlier today, a moment of silence was given in remembrance of Stokes. Tomorrow the Sound of Ideas will air an encore presentation of A Conversation With Louis Stokes, an episode that originally aired in January 2013.

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