Washington, D.C. — The nation has lost another political pioneer with the passing of former Congressman Louis Stokes. As the first African-American to represent Ohio in Congress and a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, he helped blaze trails for countless others to ultimately serve in the nation’s most powerful offices. Rep. Stokes, who was the first African-American to sit on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, also served as chairman of the Intelligence and Ethics committees. During his 30 years on Capitol Hill, he earned a well-deserved reputation as a champion for social and economic justice and equality. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the many Americans whose lives his legacy of service has significantly improved.