Illinois Loses Political Grand Dame, Dawn Clark Netsch

Netsch_Daw_04_jpgThe grand dame of Illinois politics has died. Dawn Clark Netsch was 86. I had the honor of meeting her on several occasions, usually at fundraisers and luncheons, and each time I would introduce myself to her, she was always gracious. Sometimes I wouldn’t say anything, I’d just stand back and watch her as she greeted fans, old friends in her friendly way.

For me, she still has one of the best political ads ever — The Straight Shooter. Sadly, I couldn’t find it in a quick YouTube search, so let me describe it. When she ran for Governor of Illinois in 1994, she ended an ad with her playing pool and making a great shot while someone said, “Dawn Clark Netsch, a straight shooter.” You can see her holding a cue stick in the photo as she claimed victory after the Democratic primary. Somehow I’m sure the ad will find its way to the internets today.

I did find that the Chicago History Museum has a nine-part oral history series on her:

She was an inspiration and while I didn’t know her personally, I feel a great loss today. Especially as I am headed to a fancy luncheon where a lot of Chicago’s power women will be in attendance. It’s an event where the chances would have been high that Dawn would have appeared. In a state filled with politicians who have broken so many promises and fallen from their pedestals, Dawn would always get a standing ovation anytime she was pointed out in a crowd.

Thanks, Dawn Clark Netsch. May we all serve as graciously as you did.

Cross-posted with permission from Viva la Feminista from Broad Side contributor Veronica Arreola.

Do you have a woman you’d like to highlight for Women’s History Month? If so, leave us the information here!

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