Former Congressman Ike Skelton was a friend to truckers, OOIDA says

By Land Line staff | 10/29/2013

OOIDA, headquartered in Missouri, remembers former U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton as a man who supported the military to the fullest and stood up for small businesses, including truckers, during his 17 terms in Congress. Skelton, who served Missouri’s 4th Congressional District from 1977 through 2011, died Monday, Oct. 28, at the age of 81.

“Ike was always a good friend to regular people,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

“He was an extremely competent, dedicated lawmaker and public servant, but that’s not even half the story. He was a genuinely caring, thoughtful and nice person to all he met. He will be missed.”

Photo by Nikohle Ellis, Land Line Magazine

Ike Skelton, center, was no stranger at OOIDA headquarters. Skelton, pictured with Executive Vice President Todd Spencer, right, and President Jim Johnston, left, was a guest of the OOIDA Board of Directors on Oct. 2, 2010.

Skelton chaired the House Armed Services Committee from 2007 through 2011 and had been the senior Democrat on the committee since 1998. He is credited for recognizing the support role of truckers in national defense and for the provision in law that says any truckers hauling Department of Defense loads receive 100 percent of fuel surcharges on the loads they move.

“Ike’s passion was for the military and national defense,” said Spencer. “To him, the troops came first. He valued those in uniform, helping many sort through the maze that the Veterans Administration can be.”

Skelton passed away after a brief illness, according to his family. He had been admitted to a Virginia hospital a few days prior.

Skelton won his first term in Congress in the 1976 election, and won his district handily each term until the 2010 election, when he was defeated by Republican Vicky Hartzler.

President Obama said Skelton was a mentor and a friend to many.

“For 34 years, Ike Skelton served the people of Missouri in the United States Congress. He was beloved and respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee Ike was a devoted advocate for our men and women in uniform,” the president said in a White House statement.

“To many in Congress and across Missouri, Ike was a mentor and a friend, and he will be missed. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to his wife Patty, his family and loved ones.”

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