Remembering Joanne Alter | WBEZ
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Eight Forty-Eight

Remembering Joanne Alter

Chicago lost several other pioneering politicians this year. Among them were the city's first woman alderman, African-American Anna Langford, and the state's first openly gay legislator, Larry McKeon.

Chicago also lost Eugene Sawyer, the city's second black mayor, who took over after Harold Washington died in office. And on November 9, less than a week after Chicago's own Barack Obama clinched the presidency, Joanne Alter passed away.

Alter broke the gender barrier in Cook County politics by becoming the first woman Democrat elected to countywide office.

Eight Forty Eight's Ashley Gross spoke with her son Jonathan Alter, a Newsweek columnist.

He says that in the early 1970s, his mother was upset the Democratic party wasn't slating women candidates, so she went to see Mayor Richard J. Daley.

Joanne Alter wasn't seeking a political life herself, but Daley turned the tables on her.

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