Monday, September 21, 2015

EXTRA: R.I.P. to the Rep.

Esther Golar was a life-long Chicagoan who spent the last decade of her life representing a chunk of the South Side in the Illinois House of Representatives.

GOLAR: Dedicated to the end
One of the rank-and-file, she passed away this weekend. Yet her dedication came out in what turned out to be her last Capitol appearance. Even though she was hospitalized, she made a point of showing up at the Statehouse for the vote in August when Democrats tried overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto on the “no strike” bill.

THE ONE THAT fell a couple of votes short of override in large part because state Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, was busy in New York – leaving the “veto-proof” Illinois House a vote short in strength.

Golar could easily have used her health as an excuse to not show up. Yet she was dedicated enough to her legislative duties that she had herself brought to Springfield, wheeled into the building in a wheelchair, then being present to cast her "aye" vote.

The ordeal left her so weak that the Capitol Fax newsletter’s Rich Miller later reported that she had to be taken to a Springfield hospital on that legislative day.

But Golar was able to cast one of her final votes by siding with Madigan – which I’m sure some people will use as an excuse to demonize her. Although I wonder how many legislators would have felt that much of an obligation to their constituents to show up under such circumstances.

I ALSO FOUND it encouraging that Rauner himself was able to issue the standard statement of condolence upon learning of her death even though she was among the 68 who voted against him that day.

“Rep. Esther Golar served the people of Illinois and her constituents in Chicago admirably, while advocating for some of our most vulnerable citizens,” the governor said. “She championed change in the areas of housing, education, restorative justice and mental illness.

“She was a pillar of strength in her community and represented the people of the 6th District with tenacity and grace,” he said. “Diana and I hold her family in our thoughts and prayers as they navigate this difficult time. We thank her for her service.”
It's too bad he couldn't be as big-minded and gracious with regards to the underlying issues that are keeping he and the Legislature from reaching agreement on a state budget.


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