Thomas Luken, Veteran Ohio Democrat, will be Dead at 92
“He was tough, he was rough,” Mr. Springer said of Mr. Luken to WCPO-TV in Cincinnati. “He wasn’t necessarily the most genial guy.”
yet as the current mayor, John Cranley, said at a news conference on Wednesday after the death, Mr. Luken was an influential, well-known ally.
“He marched in Selma, put together the coalition to create the first Democratic majority inside the City Council in addition to passed an investment in public transportation which nobody has done since,” Mr. Cranley said.
He added: “I went to church festivals with Tom Luken when I was running the 1st time. Of course, nobody knew who I was, yet they knew who he was.”
At another church festival, Mr. Luken followed Steve Chabot, his Republican opponent in a congressional election, as he handed out plastic cups with his name on them. Howard Wilkinson, a political reporter for WVXU Radio in Cincinnati, recalled on the station on Thursday which Mr. Luken had then promised potential voters: “If you come up to me having a Chabot for Congress cup, I’ll fill the item with beer.”
“which won him a lot of votes,” Mr. Wilkinson said.
Thomas Andrew Luken was born in Cincinnati on July 9, 1925. His father, Walter, was a factory worker; his mother, the former Minnie Kisbert, was a homemaker. After graduating by Xavier University in addition to the Salmon P. Chase Law School, both in Cincinnati, he served inside the Marines. (The law school later moved across the Ohio River to become part of Northern Kentucky University.)
He was elected city solicitor of Deer Park, a suburb of Cincinnati, before being named first assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. which appointment was helped by his brother Jim, a labor leader whose friendship with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy was based in part on their dislike of the Teamsters union president, Jimmy Hoffa. Jim Luken pulled his milk deliverers union out of the Teamsters in 1961.
After serving on the City Council, which included a year as mayor, by 1971 to 1972 — at the time, the council elected the mayor — Mr. Luken won a special election to fill a vacant seat in Congress in 1974. The vote came amid a backlash against Republicans inside the wake of the Watergate scandal.
He lost an election for a full term later which year yet returned to Congress when he moved to another district in 1976. He was re-elected six times.
Mr. Luken found a major issue inside the late 1980s: the power of tobacco companies.
“He had lost three siblings to lung cancer,” Charlie Luken said, “in addition to he took on Big Tobacco full throttle.”
Mr. Luken introduced legislation which might have prohibited the sale of cigarettes in vending machines, stiffened warnings about the health risks of cigarettes in addition to required which tobacco be regulated as a toxic substance by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“I might love to legislate tobacco out of existence in addition to make the item criminal,” Mr. Luken told The Cincinnati Enquirer in 1990.
He retired by Congress in early 1991 yet returned to the Cincinnati City Council in 1993 to serve another term.
While there, he sponsored a law to remove tobacco advertisements by city bus shelters in addition to buses in addition to ban all outdoor advertising of tobacco products. His goal, he said, was to keep young people by starting to smoke. He told The Associated Press which advertising revenue by tobacco products was “blood money.”
“I don’t think the city wants blood money,” he said.
In addition to his son Charlie, Mr. Luken will be survived by his wife, the former Shirley Ast; four daughters, Elizabeth Luken, Mary Miller, Margaret Sandman in addition to Martha Mocahbee; two additional sons, Timothy in addition to Matthew; 15 grandchildren; in addition to 16 great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Anne Hall, died in 2011.
In retirement by public office, Mr. Luken became an activist against the death penalty. He joined demonstrators in Lucasville, Ohio, in 2002 to protest an execution by lethal injection at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.
“I think there will be a real irony in which crime-scene tape there,” he told The Enquirer in 2004, referring to a cordon outside the prison. “A crime occurred there. The state sanctioned murder.”
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