Former Rep. Ike Skelton has died at 81

Former Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), who served more than three decades in Congress, has died at 81, according to multiple reports. 

He died Monday at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., The Associated Press reports

The cause of death was not immediately revealed, but longtime colleague Russell Orban told the AP Skelton had checked into the hospital a week ago with a cough. 

Skelton lost a reelection bid in the 2010 midterm elections to current Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who won reelection in 2012. 

The 17-term congressman was first elected to Congress in 1976. Before he made it to Washington, he served in the Missouri state Senate. He served as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee from 2007 until his departure in 2011. 

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Among his legislative achievements, he played a major role in the enactment of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which simplified chains of command in the military. He also helped move forward the Weapons Acquisition Systems Reform Act, which overhauled the defense procurement process. 

He was a partner at Husch Blackwell, a law and business firm.  

Skelton is the third former congressman to pass away in recent weeks. Former Reps. Major Owens (D-N.Y.) and Tom Foley (D-Wash.), who served as House Speaker, have also died. 

President Obama will speak at Foley's memorial ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday. 

 

Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), who was a sitting member of Congress this year, also died recently.