09/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rest in Peace, My Fierce Friend: Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Stephanie Tubbs Jones was a BIG woman. She was big in her smile, in her motherly warmth, in her blackness, in her womanhood, her passion for Cleveland and in her political smarts. I am grieving her loss today.

We first met when I was working in the music industry and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was being built in Cleveland in the early 90's. At the time she was Cuyahoga County Prosecutor. It is hard to believe that was her job because even then, she was everywhere. Making connections, greeting visitors, sharing good stories about the local Republicans.

When she came to Congress we often went to Rock Hall events together. She had more stamina for a party than you could imagine. I will never forget the sight of her practically dancing on the tables when the Flamingos were inducted and screaming like a teenage groupie for "The Shaft" Issac Hayes another year. She was just damn fun.

I will also never forget her willingness to take on the tough fights in Congress and the jobs that others didn't want to do, whether it was Chairing the Ethics Committee; fighting Medicare cuts proposed by the Bush Administration; fighting for the minimum wage; opposing a popular ballot measure in Ohio which discriminated against gays and lesbians. She was so smart that she became a party leader right away when she was elected to Congress. Ohio needed a passionate respected Democrat for their consistently battleground elections and she fit the bill with gusto.

Most of the country got to know her this year when she was a vocal and unyielding supporter of Hillary Clinton's campaign during a primary which tore at the hearts of many black leaders. She wasn't against Barack Obama. She was just FOR Hillary. She was loyal to her girls. It was just a big motherly hug. And they will be so missed.