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Former U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton Dies

By Jordan Shapiro
Missouri School of Journalism
Longtime Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton died on Oct. 28 in Virginia. He was 81.
Skelton represented parts of central and western Missouri in the U.S. House for more than 30 years. Skelton, a Democrat, became chairman of the House Armed Services Committee when Democrats took control of the chamber in 2007.
He remained in that post until he was defeated and Democrats lost the House majority in 2010. He lost his re-election bid that year to Republican Vicky Hartzler, an opponent with strong tea party backing.
In a statement, President Barack Obama said Skelton “was beloved and respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”
“Saddened at passing of my friend & role model Congressman Ike Skelton. A great leader & true public servant,” Gov. Jay Nixon said on Twitter.
Although he never served in the military, Skelton was a strong advocate for the armed forces. His district included Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood. He is credited with securing Whiteman as the home of the military’s B-2 bomber fleet.
The Lexington, Mo., native was first elected to the U.S. House in 1976. He served in the state Senate previously, where he earned a reputation for being a conservative on military issues, but a liberal on domestic issues.

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