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I Stand Before You Today Saddened

Location: Denver, CO

I Stand Before You Today Saddened

I stand before you today saddened because of the passing of my dear friend and colleague, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

As a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, I was overjoyed to be a part of history at the beginning of the 110th Congress with Stephanie. We became two of the five CBC members who would chair full committees in the House of Representatives.

Her life and legacy is full of history making—as the first black woman to become a member of Congress in Ohio and the many "firsts" she accomplished as a successful attorney in the state. One thing is clear: to be a first in so many areas, to be such a trailblazer in public service you have to be strong. You have to be committed to making a difference in the lives of others.

The role of a first is not to walk through a door and then close only to prevent future entry by others. The role of a first is to walk through that door of opportunity, open new doors, and create new opportunities for others. And so, my challenge to all of us is: to avoid the legacy of the one and only.

We don't need to create any more opportunities that die with an individual. We need more legacies like Stephanie's—the kind of legacy that lives on. Her legacy demands that we do what Gandhi once said—to "be the change you want to see in the world." This is the change we see in Barack Obama. So, let's continue to trail blaze, to take the road less traveled, so that someone else can walk down that road. Then our living will not be in vain.

We're going to see a video tribute to other great Democrats who passed away over the last four years.

Now let us observe a moment of silence to honor Stephanie's memory.

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