Ohio Democrat Stokes to Retire From House

From Associated Press

U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes, who rose from poverty to become the state’s first black representative and went on to head the congressional panel that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy, announced Saturday he will retire at the end of the year.

“It is probably the most difficult decision I have had to make in the last 30 years,” Stokes told a room packed with supporters.

Stokes, a Democrat who will be 73 next month, said 30 years of politics was enough for him and he wanted to retire under his own terms, which means “without ever losing an election.”


He was elected to Congress in 1968 and ranks 11th in seniority among the 435 House members.

Stokes gained a national reputation as head of the Select Committee on Assassinations that investigated the slayings of Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Mayor Michael White said Cleveland is losing a powerful ally who helped funnel millions of dollars toward hometown projects and protected major employers.

Stokes was one of the Cold War-era chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee, headed the Congressional Black Caucus and was the first black on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.