WBEZ | Dawn Clark Netsch http://www.wbez.org/tags/dawn-clark-netsch Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Former Illinois Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch dies http://www.wbez.org/news/former-illinois-comptroller-dawn-clark-netsch-dies-105896 <p><p>Dawn Clark Netsch, a pioneer of Illinois politics who helped rewrite the state&#39;s constitution and broke ground as the first woman to run for governor on a major ticket, died Tuesday, just weeks after revealing publicly that she had Lou Gehrig&#39;s disease. She was 86.</p><p>Netsch, a former state comptroller and longtime state senator, was the first woman to get the Democratic nomination for governor in Illinois. She died early in the morning at home, said her nephew, Andy Kerr.</p><p>She announced in January that she had ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative disorder that weakens the nerves and makes it difficult to walk, swallow and speak, eventually leading to paralysis and death. Near the end of her life Netsch needed assistance to walk.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a tough one,&quot; she said at the time, describing the challenge of facing down the disease that killed baseball great Lou Gehrig.</p><p>Moments later, Netsch was back to politics, telling an interviewer what she thought the state&#39;s biggest priorities should be:</p><p>&quot;No. 1, we really need to restructure how we raise money so that it is fair and adequate,&quot; she said. &quot;And then, obviously . . . we do have to address the pension problem.&quot;</p><p>Netsch had remained engaged in political life throughout her later years, advising candidates at the state and national level and always looking for a new challenge, her nephew said.</p><p>&quot;The opportunity to run for governor was an absolute highlight, but if you were to ask my aunt what her favorite moment was she would say, &#39;I haven&#39;t come to it yet,&#39;&quot; Kerr said. &quot;She was always looking forward. Last night before she went to bed she watched the news, surrounded by newspapers. She wanted to be able to keep up with everything that was going on.&quot;</p><p>The Democrat was known for her directness during her more than six decades in Illinois politics. She served as an adviser to Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner Jr., helped rewrite the Illinois Constitution in 1970 and was elected state comptroller in 1990.</p><p>&quot;The Illinois political scene will not be the same without that pool-shooting Sox fan with a cigarette holder, but generations of Illinois women can thank the indomitable force of Dawn Clark Netsch for blazing their path,&quot; said U.S. Sen. Dick Durin.</p><p>During her 18 years in the Illinois Senate, she was known as an expert in state finances, argued against the death penalty and sponsored the Equal Rights Amendment.</p><p>As a senator, she represented a district that spanned some of Chicago&#39;s poorest and wealthiest areas: the projects around Cabrini Green and the ritzy lakefront area known as the Gold Coast.</p><p>She ran for governor in 1994, losing to Republican incumbent Gov. Jim Edgar.</p><p>Netsch graduated first in her class from Northwestern University Law School in 1952, yet Kerr said she could not get a job because she was a woman.</p><p>&quot;So it&#39;s entirely possible that she really got the fire at that early age to fight discrimination of any sort,&quot; Kerr said. &quot;And throughout her career that really was a hallmark.&quot;</p><p>Netsch worked especially hard to combat racial and gender discrimination and fight for gay rights.</p><p>&quot;She had a spectacular career,&quot; Kerr said. &quot;At her roots she was a very private person, yet she led a very public life.&quot;</p><p>Tributes poured in Tuesday from Illinois politicians, including poignant words from female political leaders who said they counted Netsch among their most important mentors and role models.</p><p>&quot;Dawn Clark Netsch was a hero of mine since the early 1980s and a friend and mentor ever since,&quot; said Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, who served with Netsch on the board of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and collaborated with her on many reform issues. &quot;... She was not just a public servant, but a teacher. She will be missed.&quot;</p><p>Illinois&#39; current comptroller, Judy Baar Topinka, said &quot;Illinois lost a true legend and trailblazer today&quot; and praised Netsch as someone who fought for &quot;good, honest government that rises above politics.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Dawn always remembered that government exists to serve taxpayers, not the other way around,&quot; she said.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn remembered her as a straight-shooter in both politics and pool.</p><p>Despite her health problems, Netsch worked on two state ethics commissions until her death.</p><p>Netsch&#39;s husband, prominent Chicago architect Walter A. Netsch Jr., died in 2008.</p></p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 08:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-illinois-comptroller-dawn-clark-netsch-dies-105896 Dawn Clark Netsch reveals she has ALS http://www.wbez.org/news/dawn-clark-netsch-reveals-she-has-als-104987 <p><p>Former Illinois Comptroller and longtime state Sen. Dawn Clark Netsch says she&#39;s suffering from Lou Gehrig&#39;s disease.</p><p>The disease, also known as ALS, is a fatal degenerative disorder that weakens the nerves and makes it difficult to walk, swallow and speak.</p><p>Netsch tells <a href="http://bit.ly/USvtiS" target="_blank">WMAQ-TV</a> that the diagnosis is &quot;a tough one.&quot; She says she&#39;s talking about her disease because it might get more people thinking about ALS.</p><p>Although she sometimes needs assistance to walk, Netsch is continuing her work on two state ethics commissions.</p><p>The Illinois Democrat was elected state comptroller in 1990. She helped rewrite the Illinois Constitution in 1970 and shortly after was elected to the state senate, where she served for 18 years.</p><p>In 1994, Netsch ran unsuccessfully for Illinois governor.</p></p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 09:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/dawn-clark-netsch-reveals-she-has-als-104987 Do you promise to run a fair campaign? http://www.wbez.org/story/do-you-promise-run-fair-campaign-95741 <p><p>A relatively small number of political candidates in Illinois have signed a pledge to run an honest and fair campaign in 2012. Candidates who sign the Code of Fair Campaign Practices promise not to slander their opponents, and to limit attacks to legitimate challenges to their records.</p><p>WBEZ's Sam Hudzik joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>'s Tony Sarabia to discuss this pledge.&nbsp; Listen to their conversation here:<br> <audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483862-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-january/2012-01-23/1-23-loyalty-oath.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><strong>CODE: </strong>Read it (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/extras/2012-January/2012-01-23/FCP%20form_0.pdf">PDF</a>)<br> <strong>WHO SIGNED IT?</strong> List from state election board (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/extras/2012-January/2012-01-23/FCP%202012%20ELECTIONS.pdf">PDF</a>)</p><p>This election cycle, a couple hundred candidates from across the state filed the code with the Illinois State Election Board.</p><p>Making up an outsized portion of that total given its population is Vermillion County in east-central Illinois. The county clerk, Lynn Foster, said her staff makes sure people know about the code.</p><p>"I won't say that we encourage them to do it. But we let them know that it's available and an option to them. And many of our candidates are very interested in it," Foster said. "I'm not saying our candidates are better or nicer or more wonderful than anyone else. But clean elections and fair campaign practices in general are of concern to people in our communities."</p><p>The code got its start in 1990, when then-state Sen. Dawn Clark Netsch led the effort to get it on the books. There's no enforcement bite to the code, and it's entirely optional.</p><p>"By First Amendment principles, I couldn't make it a mandatory code with prison sentences or whatever criminal violations," Netsch said in a 2009 interview. "We thought about that a good deal, and [were] quite convinced that would have been tossed out."</p><p>Just one of Illinois' four legislative leaders, House Republican leader Tom Cross, has filed the fair campaign code this election season.</p><p>The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform sends a copy of the code to state and local candidates each election season asking them to sign it, according to David Morrison, the group's deputy director.</p></p> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 14:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/do-you-promise-run-fair-campaign-95741