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Tributes pour in for Carlos Hernandez Gomez

Monday, Jan 18, 2010

* President Obama…

“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Carlos Hernandez Gomez. Our paths first crossed when I was a State Senator. He was a throwback in the style of Chicago’s storied political reporters. He loved Chicago, and he relentlessly sought to tell its story with the commitment to truth and the insatiable curiosity that any good reporter has to have. I quickly learned that when you saw his sharp fedora in a crowd, hard questions were coming. But Carlos always played it straight. And I always enjoyed our interactions in Springfield, Chicago, or on the campaign trail. Carlos was a role model to many, and an integral part of the Chicago story he strived to tell. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Randi and his family.”

* Dick Durbin and Pat Quinn

Earlier today, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, the chamber’s 2nd ranking Democrat, hailed Hernandez Gomez as a real professional whose “word’s good and they’re up on the news and they’re nice people to be with.”

“He’s the kind of person that’s a great credit to the profession and did a great job for people across Chicagoland and America to understand the real issues we face,” Durbin said.

Gov. Pat Quinn called Hernandez Gomez “a man of great humor and commitment and dedication. So, losing Carlos is a loss for everybody in Illinois and our country.”

* US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

“He was always not the first person to throw out a question, but not shy, either. And his questions were always pretty informed. He wasn’t looking for the short answer and the quick sound bite. He might say, ‘Given this fact and given this fact, what does this tell us?’”

Fitzgerald says he would often talk to Carlos in the hallways of the federal courthouse, adding that he valued Carlos’s input and impressions on what was going on in Chicago’s courtrooms.

* Dan Hynes…

“Christina and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Carlos Hernandez Gomez. Carlos was a dogged reporter who covered the politics beat with a style and substance that belied his years, and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his wife, Randi, his family and his many, many friends in this difficult time.”

* WBEZ had a nice roundup of comments from his former co-workers

Torey Malatia, General Manager: Carlos thought of Chicago as an unfinished process. He felt it was the job of you and me to see that it finished well. He loved the city’s achievements and lamented its failures. He reveled in its history and decried its corruption. He knew every current political alliance, those that made us stronger and those that shamed us.

As a journalist, he believed he was part of a tradition of road blocking the bad guys from completely having their way. He hoped to hone his craft to be remembered someday as a guardian of the common good –like Royko, or Fitzpatrick or the handful of other journalists from Chicago’s print history that he saw as the watchdogs, the truth tellers.

When Carlos worked at WBEZ, we would lunch frequently at Gene and Georgetti’s, one of his favorite restaurants and people-watching perches. One day, Carlos looked around and realized he knew every patron in the room. He whispered all their names to me and what they did–journalists, lobbyists, politicians, city officials, syndicate big shots. As we left, and he grabbed me with his customary warm bear hug, I thought, good Lord, this man was born to be a reporter.

* Carlos’ Facebook page is chock full of tributes. There are just too many to excerpt here, so go check it out for yourself.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

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