Washington, D.C. – Former Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) passed away yesterday in Virginia. The 81-year-old served 17 terms in Congress. The Center for American Progress’ Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy Rudy deLeon, who worked with Rep. Skelton as the staff director of the House Armed Services, released the following statement:
Ike Skelton contracted polio as a young boy, but it affected his arms and not his legs. To run track in high school, coaches tied a belt around his body to keep his arms steady, but they could not keep him off the track. Skelton’s early determination would continue throughout his career, as he tenaciously improved and protected the welfare of America’s servicemen and women.
Alongside his professional dedication and deep interest in American and military history, Ike was always happy to share his time and knowledge with all manner of people, from the staff director of his committee to the freshest of interns. His eyes would light up when discussing the training techniques of foreign militaries or Stonewall Jackson’s tactics in the Shenandoah campaign. This intellectual curiosity and openness came to characterize the Committee he led and the military he helped shape.
Determined, good natured, ambitious in the way an eagle scout is ambitious, and gentle because of his handicap, Skelton was a good man who did his best. He will be missed.
To speak with Rudy deLeon, contact Anne Shoup at 202.481.7146 or email@example.com.