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Judy Baar Topinka: 1944-2014

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014


* WSIL

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has died, less than 24 hours after having a stroke.

A statement from her office says the 70-year-old Topinka died early Wednesday morning following complications from the stroke.

She’d reported discomfort and was admitted to a hospital in Berwyn. After undergoing testing, she lost consciousness Wednesday and was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m.

* Bruce Rauner responds…

Early this morning, Illinois lost one of its all-time greats. Comptroller Topinka’s magnetic, one-of-a-kind personality brought a smile to everyone she met, and she had a servant’s heart, always only caring about what was best for the people of our state. Judy was a tremendous friend, and Diana and I will miss her deeply. We offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to her family, including son Joseph, as well as her talented and loyal team in the Comptroller’s office.

* Secretary of State Jesse White…

I’m shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing this morning of my friend Judy Baar Topinka. Judy committed her professional life to public service. She served the citizens of Illinois honorably and with distinction for decades beginning in the Illinois General Assembly, as the Illinois Treasurer and most recently in her capacity as State Comptroller.

She was a great leader and a straight shooter who served Illinois with dignity. This is a sad day for Illinois and for me personally. She will be dearly missed.

* Treasurer Dan Rutherford…

I am saddened to hear about the sudden passing of my friend State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. She was a trailblazer for women in public service in Illinois, and in general. My heart and prayers are with the Comptroller’s family and staff at this time.

* House Speaker Michael Madigan…

Judy Baar Topinka brought a special approach to every aspect of life. Illinois is a much better place because of her efforts. Shirley and I offer our prayers that her family is comforted during these times.

* Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon…

“I am deeply saddened to hear of Judy Baar Topinka’s passing. People throughout Illinois will remember her for her many years of dedication to public service just as much as they will remember her for her larger than life personality. She truly loved the people of this state.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and staff as we mourn the loss of a legend in Illinois government.”

I’ve been up all night, so I’m going to try and sleep now. Damn, I’m gonna miss that woman.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

163 Comments
  1. - Tj - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 4:10 am:

    I am very sad to hear this news. Ms. Topinka was always a kind woman when I delt with her at the annual Chicago saint Pats Parade. Every year she sought out a photo with my daughter (an Irish dancer who originally took a photo with her years earlier). Ms Topinka always sought my daughter out for that annual photo. A class act. Tears!


  2. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 4:11 am:

    Unbelievable. I just saw this on the news. I am shocked and saddened. I offer condolences to all who knew and loved her.


  3. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 4:22 am:

    A shocking and tragic loss. IL Government and politics won’t be the same without her. My heartfelt condolences and prayers to her son and family. We love you, Judy.


  4. - RitaB - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 4:42 am:

    I rarely get my breath taken away here as much as this post did. I didn’t know her, but I admired her and what she has accomplished.

    Godspeed to you Judy.

    My most sincere and heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.


  5. - foster brooks - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:07 am:

    RIP judy, One of my favorite republicans


  6. - Alexander - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:14 am:

    Will we now be having a special election?


  7. - Mike - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:20 am:

    This is just awful. I came on CapFax a week after my vacation to catch up on the news and this is the first thing I see. I didn’t always agree with her politics, but there is no denying that she was a trailblazer and will be missed.

    I don’t want to sound crass, but what does state law say about who gets to displeasure of taking over? Special election or does outgoing Gov. Quinn get to make the decision?


  8. - Louis G Atsaves - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:27 am:

    Just woke up and heard the horrible news. I’m still stunned. Judy leaves a huge void and a terrific legacy behind. May she rest in peace.


  9. - Uptown Lawyer - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:39 am:

    This is so sad. Illinois would have been a better place if she had won in 2006.

    Alexander/Mike:

    See Illinois Constitution Article 5, Section 7
    http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con5.htm

    Quinn can appoint someone to serve for the next month of the current term. Rauner gets to appoint someone for the 4-year term starting in January.


  10. - Lunchbox - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:46 am:

    Wow. Completely shocked. Condolences to Ms. Topinka’s family, what a loss.


  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:48 am:

    It’s been a long night. I loved that woman.


  12. - T.J. - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:53 am:

    Had the pleasure of talking to her at the State Fair and threw out any silly misconceptions I had of her from campaigns past. She was an easy choice in every general election and a very genuine, candid individual ready to get to work. Stunned and saddened right now.


  13. - phocion - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:54 am:

    Judy Barr Topinka made Illinois a better place. She shined a bright light on Blagojevich before the voters even understood. She lead the Illinois GOP out of its wilderness through grit and championing social moderation. She was smart, principled, wily, and wacky. Topinka was really a one-of-a-kind in Illinois politics. She will be missed in so many ways.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 5:57 am:

    There nothing I can say that can express my deep sadness upon hearing this news.

    Her impact is far greater than the groundbreaking resume she built.

    Judy Baar Topinka was fiercely loyal, not to labels but to people, and loyal to doing what she felt and knew in her heart what was right. If you had Judy Baar Topinka in your corner, you never needed to worry, her word was beyond reproach.

    She loved her staff and treated them as family. Her concern for them was genuine and you only needed to hear her speak of them to know how invested she was in them, and you can understand why they loved her so very much. It spoke volumes that the loyalty she received from her staff was not only matched by the love and support she gave back, but many times her worries were more for her staff than for herself, and that was Judy Baar Topinka.

    Judy Baar Topinka was genuine. She had her ways, and the stories you heard, or even saw yourself, but she was herself, unabashedly unique and original. There was never a switch to turn on, she was the same person doing some of her favorite things outside politics as she was doing the business for the people of Illinois. To her credit, no politican I can think of with a footprint upon Illinois, Judy Baar Topinka was most comfortable being herself like no other. You embraced her because she embraced all that made her who she was.

    She loves her son, and his family and glowed when you watched her speak of them. It was heartwarming seeing her and hearing her talk about her son and her love untempered for him, like any parent, and it made you love her even more.

    Judy Baar Topinka loved Illinois. She took pride of her state well beyond cheerleading. She would brag on a town or a region with the pride of those she was bragging on. She enjoyed the successes of Illinois, and strove to make Illinois better by being honest, brutally honest, in hopes of bringing positive results, not soundbites for herself. You knew her critiques of Illinois were targeted to make things better and to bring solutions for the state she loved.

    Judy Baar Topinka lived and worked for Illinois, making choices on policy and issues that she felt were right for everyone, even if it meant going against what her party may say or think. Her compass pointed North and she followed her instincts where few would go, even if they knew it was right to do so. To her credit, Judy Baar Topinka was always ahead of the curve while still in the moment and understanding the impact she was making now and to the future. A true leader leading by being true to herself and her beliefs.

    Judy Baar Topinka was the moderate Illinois GOP in all the best ways. I was always glad she took that role to advocate and embrace Republicans of similar mind. She was a beacon to welcome Republicans, all Republicans to the bigger tent she strove to expand to be even larger.

    My heart goes out to Joe and Christina, their daughter Alexandra. Her love for them knew no limits. My thoughts and prayers are for them, and her staff, her countless friends and colleagues, and all who were touched by her. She has made Illinois a better place, and her legacy and place in history is as genuine as she was.

    My sincere condolences.


  15. - Mouthy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:03 am:

    I am very sad to hear the news. She was a good decent woman who also was my last boss. She will be missed. I feel bad for my former co-workers and friends. They will be in shock today. RIP JBT.


  16. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:12 am:

    Judy Badabinka

    Damnit


  17. - The Cardinal - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:16 am:

    Great post Rich, you brought back memories of the first time I met Judy. She was a Great person to be around, intelligent, hardworking and most importantly Judy was fun loving. JBT Did not care what the establishment thought, she did what she thought was right. She Carved her own path and will be sadly missed by so many. Godspeed rest in peace JBT.


  18. - Eyes wide shut - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:21 am:

    I think uptown lawyer is wrong re: appointment.


  19. - Downstate Libertarian - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:39 am:

    Regardless of one’s political leanings, you cannot argue that the mark she has left on Illinois.

    A true loss for the state. Condolences to her friends, family, and all that she touched.


  20. - Chad - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:39 am:

    Despite right wing troublemakers, Judy did a great job pulling the GOP through its toughest times this past decade. Every interaction with her was a pleasure. We have lost perhaps the best-grounded pol in the State. RIP Judy.


  21. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:41 am:

    Judy, Judy, Judy, we are going to miss you so much at the Statehouse. This Old Dem. loved you, without fail you could brighten the worst session day and treated everyone with respect and warmth. RIP Judy.


  22. - Big Muddy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:48 am:

    So saddened to hear this news. JBT was one of a kind and I loved what she brought to the GOP. Illinois lost a great, down to earth, leader and icon.
    JBT, you will be missed. Condolences to all her family, staff and friends.


  23. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:50 am:

    She was a feisty and classy lady who told it like it was and didn’t care what people thought about it. Springfield will be diminished by her absence. Condolences to her family, friends and staff.


  24. - Tony Strupac - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:53 am:

    JBT was a kind and funny lady. She was good to all, irrespective of political ideology.

    Regarding an appointment, Gov-elect Rauner, if he indeed gets the appointment, could appoint the Lt. Gov-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti, and leave the Lt. Gov post open, saving money. Quinn went 2 years without a Lt. Gov.


  25. - Ghost - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:57 am:

    This is just so sad, I have no words. She will be greatly missed. Prayers to her family and friends.


  26. - Yatzi - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:57 am:

    what a loss for Illinois


  27. - Blago's Hare - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:01 am:

    Very sad way to start the day. Huge loss for all of Illinois.


  28. - RickG - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:02 am:

    Judy, may you have as much fun in the afterlife as we know you did here on Earth. You sure earned it.


  29. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:02 am:

    Oh no! Oh no!


  30. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:07 am:

    Shocking when someone so energetic, engaged and joyful is gone so quickly. Tomorrow’s guaranteed to no one. Make the most of today.

    She was authentic, a real Cermak Road character, who knew her stuff, was principled, and could work with anyone to get things done.

    Saw a tweet that she was everyone’s favorite aunt. That’s just about perfect and about the highest praise you can give.

    Still shocked.


  31. - Cheswick - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:07 am:

    That was beautiful, Willy.


  32. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:09 am:

    When she told you something, whatever that thing might be, you knew it was from the heart. How she really felt.

    Identify another politician like that…

    That’s what I thought.

    We’ll miss you, Judy.


  33. - jakecp - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:15 am:

    I am deeply saddened to hear the news about Judy Baar Topinka. Rest in Peace!


  34. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:16 am:

    omigosh. stunned. illinois is diminished.

    Condolences to the family.


  35. - Not in the Know - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:17 am:

    Rest in peace…..job well job, ma’am.


  36. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:20 am:

    Judy was a real person who happened to get into politics - not a politician who pretends to be a real person. She was the kind of person you’d want to sit down with a in a neighborhood bar with and have a few beers and swap stories. I last saw her at the Brookfield 4th of July parade where she hopped on one of the bikes of the VFW and American Brotherhood of Honor Riders and posed for pictures with the guys, even though she was making her way around with a cane. She will be greatly missed.


  37. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:23 am:

    Music For Judy


  38. - Aldyth - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:23 am:

    Godspeed, JBT. You were consistently the only Republican I’d vote for.


  39. - Vote Quimby! - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:23 am:

    A great loss for the state. Condolences to her family and many, many friends.


  40. - Bill F. - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:26 am:

    Shocking news. Rest in Peace.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:30 am:

    - Cheswick -, thank you, and I hope others express themselves and share their thoughts on this very special person and her amazing life.


  42. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:32 am:

    Stunned and very saddened by this news. My sincere condolences to her family, her friends, her staff and those who loved her. It’s a huge personal loss for you Rich and my words can’t offer enough comfort. So so sad. She was a giant and will be missed.


  43. - Newsclown - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:32 am:

    She was the Real Deal. There will never be another quite like her. And that’s the bigger tragedy.


  44. - MrJM - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:33 am:

    A role model, a human rights hero, and a genuine Illinois character. Our state is much, much poorer this morning.

    Rats.

    – MrJM


  45. - Snucka - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:35 am:

    I am a pretty solid Democrat, but I voted for JBT in the past two elections. For the sake of the state, I wish I (and others) had voted for her in 2006. She was an asset to the state of Illinois and will be missed in so many ways.


  46. - Haverford - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:36 am:

    About the only person in politics who always told it like it was. Couldn’t have had more respect for her. She is irreplaceable.


  47. - Regnad Kcin - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:37 am:

    JBT was a unique personality on the statewide stage. Both as Treasurer and Comptroller, the office and staff became her second family as she cared for them deeply and was constantly working on office issues at all hours of the day and night. I think staff can tell you of receiving emails from her in the middle of the night. She was also a lot of fun to be around when she wasn’t working. Condolences to her beloved son.


  48. - Ken_in_Aurora - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:40 am:

    I’m stunned.

    I met Judy during her first term in the House. I was just a fingerling PJ working for one of the local chains, but she always treated me with kindness, humor and even respect.

    Our paths crossed a half dozen or so times after I moved on to a “real” career; Judy always remembered me, my name and even my family and treated me like a long lost nephew. She was a class act.

    Rest in peace, Judy. Look up my mother in law after you settle in, she plays a mean polka on her accordion.


  49. - Todd - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:42 am:

    She was one of the first people I met when I came to the capitol. always pleasant, always fun.

    A good legislator and yes loyal. If you eve got to spend 10 minutes in her office, your life is better for it.

    She is what people who hold elected office should be remembered as.

    this is just sad.


  50. - siriusly - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:43 am:

    Sad to hear the news. She was so great and I really admired how hard she worked. I have always been proud that I voted for her, a vote we never regretted.


  51. - Amalia - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:43 am:

    Condolences to her family and many friends.


  52. - Newsclown - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:43 am:

    In a conversation I had with her, she told me the only reason someone like her could get elected in the first place was the old system of multiple state reps that Quinn’s initiative did away with. It gave her enough leeway to get past the sexist decision-makers of her day, She was quite clear that she believed nobody as iconoclastic as her could get elected today, because the system isn’t as easy to enter.


  53. - Earnest - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:46 am:

    A great loss for Illinois. My prayers go out to her family, friends and admirers.


  54. - Optimistic - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:52 am:

    Sorry for the State’s loss, she was a remarkable woman and always pleasant to everyone.


  55. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:54 am:

    Aunt Judy - Jerry Herman, borrowed by VanillaMan for Judy Barr Topinka

    You coaxed the blues right out of the pols, Judy!
    You met all those challenging political goals, Judy,
    You’ve had those accordions wheezin’
    And singin’ out a tune to beat the band,
    Illinois is back to hummin’
    Since you brought heart back to GOP-land.

    You made the policies easy to pick, Judy!
    You gave Rod Blagojevich a kick, Judy!
    Who ever thought a gal like you would put
    Old Governor George Ryan to shame.
    You’d made us feel alive again,
    You’d given Illinois hope again,
    The Land of Lincoln revives thanks to you, Judy!

    You’d brought red hair back into style, Judy!
    You made Michael J. Madigan smile, Judy!
    Your heart was Sweet Corn satin,
    With rebel in your manner and your speech,
    You may be from Chicagoland,
    But all of Illinois was yours to teach.

    You made our state a hell of a place, Judy!
    You brought smiles to everyone’s face, Judy!
    You came, you saw, you conquered
    And absolutely nothing is the same.
    You’re special fascination’ll prove to be inspirational,
    We think you were just sensational, Judy!

    You chased our blues right out of the state, Judy!
    You couldn’t find any reasons to hate, Judy!
    Today your accordion is silent
    And our hearts are broken now that you’re gone,
    The whole dang state is mournin’
    Since we lost the lady great at adornin’
    Our bloviating politicos are speechless today, Judy!

    You made the politics easy to take, Judy,
    You always let us know what was at stake, Judy!
    You’d made us feel alive again,
    You’d given Illinois the drive again,
    I’ll cry when I hear, “Lady of Spain” again, Judy!
    Judy! Judy! Judy! Judy!


  56. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:56 am:

    Got meet her a couple of times in one of those simple meet and greets. Talk about energy to burn, loving what you were doing and living by your word. She knew exactly what she was thinking and had no problem telling you how to do it. State needs many more like her.


  57. - OneMan - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 7:58 am:

    A loss for Illinois, a loss for the GOP…

    Stood for what she thought was right even if her party disagreed with her.


  58. - Tommydanger - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:01 am:

    Brash. Funny. Smart. A Throwback. Dealmaker. A politician’s politician. Loved her state and her family. Heaven just became a richer more joyous place than it already was. RIP JBT.


  59. - Mouthy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:02 am:

    Outside of the suddenness and grief of the passing of JBT the Governor and Governor elect must act quickly to reassure the public that the office will function. Each warrant or check must have the signature of the Treasurer and Comptroller. I don’t know how the law or state constitution addresses a situation such as this but I would think an emergency appointment may come as early as today. Warrants write every night.


  60. - The Colossus of Roads - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:02 am:

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family. To bad she didn’t beat Blago, our state and our state’s perception would have been so much better.


  61. - Tasty Grouper - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:13 am:

    Truly one of a kind. RIP Judy


  62. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:13 am:

    She was a great woman… Who happened to be a politician that truly believed in her heart and showed by action, she served all of us.


  63. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:18 am:

    A big loss for the state. We can only hope that her service in state-wide office will be an example for others, including her ability to move past our stupidity in choosing the wrong person for gov. A great leader for our state. It’s hard to imagine a replacement; I don’t think there can be one.


  64. - A-non-a-mouse - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:20 am:

    The loss of this dedicated public servant is sad news for the State of Illinois. My condolences go to her family.

    On the succession/appointment issues, here are a couple of authorities that are worth a look:

    SECTION 7. VACANCIES IN OTHER ELECTIVE OFFICES
    If the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller or Treasurer fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor. If the Lieutenant Governor fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, it shall remain vacant until the end of the term.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

    (10 ILCS 5/25-5) (from Ch. 46, par. 25-5)
    Sec. 25-5. When a vacancy shall occur in the office of Secretary of State, State Comptroller, Treasurer or Attorney General, the Governor shall fill the same by appointment, and the appointee shall hold his office during the remainder of the term, and until his successor is elected and qualified.
    (Source: P.A. 78-592.)

    So does this mean Quinn appoints a successor and his appointee remains in office until the next general election (or vacancy in the Comptroller’s office)?


  65. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:22 am:

    I suggest we reserve the discussion of the who’s and how’s of replacement for another post which I am sure Rich will provide later. Judy deserves a thread of her own. (As well as a posthumous Golden Horseshoe!)


  66. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:25 am:

    Maybe we can leave the political speculation and unreasoned panic over warrants for another day. A little respect, for a few hours at least, please.


  67. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:27 am:

    Sometimes the classy thing to do is to allow grieving and the celebration of a life in the moment, unencumbered of answers to questions not asked.


  68. - Roadiepig - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:31 am:

    To echo others- if only the voters of the state had voted for her over Blago in 2006 we would be in such better shape than we are now. Honest and able to persuade people to look at another side to an issue- there truly aren’t many like her. We need more like her from both parties. I for one was really looking forward to how she would react to the coming firestorm this spring. She will be sorely missed by this state.


  69. - PolPal56 - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:31 am:

    JBT holds a special place in my heart. I always admired and respected her, but when she volunteered to be flower girl at gay weddings at the marriage act signing, I fell in love with her. I wish Illinois had given her the chance to be the Governor I think she could have been. I will miss her excellent work and charming personality.


  70. - chiatty - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:33 am:

    A maverick in the best sense of the term, JBT was sui generis as we say in the law, one of a kind, and she will be well remembered.


  71. - Rowdy Yates - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:33 am:

    When Judy ran for Illinois Governor, I happened to be at a gubernatorial debate that she participated in one evening. After the debate was over, our paths happened to cross as she was about to leave the building. She came up to me and asked me how she did in the debate and if I was going to give her my vote?

    Her question to me took me by surprise but I answered her (as I do everyone) with a truthful response. I told her that I thought her debating skills were very good but that I disagreed with her on a couple of her positions. Hence, I was inclined to vote for her Republican opponent Mr. XXX. She just laughed and gave me a hug. She then said, “An honest man for a change. At least you aren’t voting for that Republican idiot MM.” She then laughed and walked out the door with a smile on her face. My wife then said, “I like that woman” as Judy walked out of the building.

    What you saw was what you got with Judy. That was my opinion of her. I liked her. I didn’t always agree with her political views on some of the social issues but I still liked her as an individual. She was never bland but was always colorful and vibrant.


  72. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:34 am:

    Saw the news report on WAND; first thing out of my mouth was “Oh, s***!” Voted for her every time she ran; saw her at a few political events: very likable lady, very competent official. She will be missed, especially with a new governor and the state economy; Rauner may have lost his most competent adviser…


  73. - Stones - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:35 am:

    Really shocked to hear this news this morning. Can’t say that I voted for her every time but she definitely grew on me and earned my respect later in life. Illinois is a better place because of her. My condolences to Judy’s family and friends.


  74. - JustSaying15 - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:36 am:

    As a former state employee who worked in both Chicago & Springfield, I can say from first hand experience that Judy treated all staffers with respect and kindness regards of your party or job title. I didn’t run into many people like that in my tenure as a state employee.

    RIP Judy, you have earned it!


  75. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:36 am:

    Illinois loses and heaven gains. RIP Mrs Topinka


  76. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:38 am:

    Can’t add much more, except to say that even though I didn’t always agree with her views, I had absolutely no hesitation about voting for her in 2006, and I never had any doubt that her love for our state and its people was genuine. And I would have given my right arm to go on a garage sale/thrift store shopping spree with her :-)


  77. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:40 am:

    Constitution quote didn’t answer the question: will there have to be a special election, or will Quinn’s appointment stand until the next scheduled election? Does Quinn feel kindly enough to appoint Sheila Simon, or did she burn that bridge completely? If he can, will Rauner appoint Cross?


  78. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:40 am:

    I woke up to “as we remember Judy Baar Topinka this morning”, half awake I went to Twitter to see if I was not all awake. Sadly I heard right. She was a straight shooter who spoke her mind. We could use more like that, especially in politics.


  79. - Spfld - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:43 am:

    She was Judy Badabinka!!!

    CashDash! CashDash! CashDash!


  80. - Jeanette Malafa - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:43 am:

    Rich: you made me cry. As you know, we both started in the StateHouse in 1990. ;)

    Judy was the first Senator I staffed on the Senate floor. She was the sponsor of the Department of Human Rights’ approp bill that year and that was my Department to analyze. I wont go into the details of the debate between her and Senator Leverenz (who knew he ran his own approp numbers?) - but I learned my lesson and she handled the debate with ease.

    She was the hardest working Senator and later Constitutional Officer I have ever seen. When I would come back into the office for files late at night, she would be sitting at her typewriter in her office on the first floor, clipping articles and sending them to staff with notes — at 11PM or later! We all still got those notes and articles way after she left the Senate and moved on to bigger office.

    She cared, plain and simple. She worked staff hard for the people of her district and Illinois. I loved that her local fundraisers were at consignment shops. She would bring down kolache for staff once a year — and being Bohemian she would always make sure I knew.

    Years later, I received proclamations for my children and would always get the biggest hug when I walked into her office for cheesecake.

    I am having my coffee in honor of you this morning Judy Barr Topinka!

    -love, Your little Bohemian girl


  81. - David E Miller - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:46 am:

    About 4 years ago Judy Barr Topinka beat me in the Statewide General Election for Illinois Comptroller. Although opponents, there was mutual respect during and after the campaign. In fact, during the Civil Union bill signing after I left office, she gave me one of the pens Gov Quinn used. I am sadden by hearing of her passing last night. As a public servant, she was well liked and able to cross over to many groups and people. Rest in Peace Judy - a class act and one of a kind .


  82. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:48 am:

    MrJM- perfectly stated. Illinois just got a lot less fun.


  83. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:51 am:

    Very shocked this morning. Thoughts and prayers to her family. Her witty candor will be missed by all.


  84. - Norseman - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:52 am:

    Sad day. She worked hard for the State of Illinois.


  85. - Jak Tichenor - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:57 am:

    Stunned and sad. I knew something big was up when I saw Rich had posted something before six this morning, but this is just so unexpected. Judy was one of the first people I got to know when I started covering the Statehouse back in ‘91 and she quickly became one of my favorite guests. She just knew the budget inside and out and had a gift for explaining state finances in ways the average person could understand. Somebody once told her that red looked good on TV and I’ll never forget some of the outfits that she wore when she got advance word that she was going to be on Lawmakers, they were truly eye-popping including one that I swear had to have once been worn by a drum majorette in a marching band. Her love of coffee was also legendary. I once gave her a station coffee mug about the size of fish bowl and she talked about the darned thing for years. She fought hard for her party and her point of view but I never once heard her get nasty or mean. She was a true Illinois original and I am going to miss her something awful. RIP Judy, we love you.


  86. - Democratic friend - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 8:57 am:

    Always fun with a genuine sense of humor about politics and never took herself or politics too seriously. Worked with her and for her professionally always a pleasure even when we disagreed often.
    If others truly loved their work like she did, and not their office and power, we would be in a better place in Illinois government today


  87. - Rusty Nail - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:00 am:

    RIP.I remember getting a handwritten note from her to our agency head. It said, Dear ___, please have one of your minion’s take care of this. Who uses the word minion? What a hoot.


  88. - so sad - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:02 am:

    On begalf of everyone who got suckered and voted for Blago, I’m so sorry Judy.


  89. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:05 am:

    - Chad - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 6:39 am:

    You post is inappropriate. You can’t take a moment to not throw out left wing garbage. Is it too much for you to have some decency, I guess so.


  90. - Very Fed Up - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:07 am:

    Rest in peace


  91. - Invincible Overlord - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:07 am:

    Condolences to her family for her loss.

    She transcended party lines, and she will be greatly missed.


  92. - DuPage - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:10 am:

    A sad day for all of Illinois.


  93. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:11 am:

    Judy was the most interesting character in the room when I first meet her 20 plus years ago and she was everyday since, RIP JBT


  94. - Optimistic - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:17 am:

    If you all think party leaders are waiting to decide what to do, then i have bridge to sell you.


  95. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:18 am:

    I think her standing offer at the same-sex marriage bill signing ceremony to be the flower girl for any upcoming nuptials gave me the biggest laugh and longest-lasting smile of anything related to politics.

    What a Happy Warrior. Aint no sin being glad you’re alive.


  96. - Name Withheld - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:20 am:

    Rich - that was perhaps one of the most moving obituaries I have ever read. Thank you for sharing that with us.


  97. - RunBikeSwim - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:22 am:

    RIP - JBT - A classy woman in a rough and tumble world!


  98. - AC - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:25 am:

    I’m shocked and saddened, she was one of the very few politicians I truly liked, and who, I believe, had the best interests of the state in mind. She spoke her mind and never seemed scripted.


  99. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:31 am:

    I don’t check into the world until I get in the car so I was driving down Lake Shore when I heard the news; I very nearly lost control.

    Hard to add to all of the kind words here. I didn’t know Judy as well as some but she was a close friend to my mother. There were days back during the ERA fight, I’ve been told, that my mom thought Judy might be her only friend in the Capitol, and they would sit in her office commisserating together. Judy was probably the only Republican my mom ever voted form, and that’s saying something. And this solid D voted for her every time she was on the statewide ballot as well.

    I did know her staff well and they are spectacularly loyal. My thoughts are with them and her family.

    I’m saddened, but more than that, I’m just bummed. Illinois lost a one-of-a-kind, a legend, and regardless of whether we see anyone like her again, we’ll never see her again. Illinois is poorer this morning. Sigh.


  100. - Leroy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:33 am:

    “Quinn can appoint someone to serve for the next month of the current term. Rauner gets to appoint someone for the 4-year term starting in January. ”

    Bleepin’ golden!


  101. - Obamas Puppy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:36 am:

    Spoke her mind and did it in a way that you admired. RIP JBT.


  102. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    I disagreed with her on many issues, but she truly was a force of nature. The last few times I saw her she was on crutches and in obvious pain. Her color and skin did not have a healthy glow, but she still exuded an undeniable strength, a genuine smile, and determination that belied her apparent health issues.

    She was truly a “woman for all seasons” and left us yearning for what she could have accomplished for Illinois had the voters of Illinois been wise enough to elect her instead of a certain currently incarcerated felon.

    Listening to clips of her describing what would befall Illinois if certain fiscal and policy issues weren’t addressed in 2006 truly made her the “Cassandra” of her times; a person blessed by the gods with foresight for the tragedy to come, but cursed not to have people believe her wisdom when she warned them.

    It was our loss politcally, as it is now our loss personally…..


  103. - walker - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    Oh no.

    Someone in politics you could count on to tell you the whole truth, with her own special brand of humor and energy. Her heart was always open.


  104. - Urbs In Horto - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    So very, very sad. JBT was one of the best.


  105. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    JBT stood out because she told the truth, she put the people of Illinois above politics, and she didn’t take herself too seriously.

    What a shame that we didn’t get to experience her as governor of Illinois.


  106. - 10th Indy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    Wow. From horse racing at the fair, to knowing how to move a photo-op line, to giving one of my favorite speeches of all time calling out the men-in-charge, Judy was one of a kind. Smart, funny, kind, hard-working, exuberant, courageous, remarkable - She will be deeply missed.

    My heart breaks for her family. and her staff. and for all of us.


  107. - Angry Chicagoan - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:42 am:

    I’m simply in shock.

    Now who will we find to call a spade a spade?


  108. - susiejones - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:42 am:

    shocking news. Admired JBT very much. Thoughts and prayers of comfort for her family and loved ones. She was one of a kind! She will be sorely missed.


  109. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:43 am:

    Please — there will be plenty of time to figure out what happens next. Right now, I just want to think about that warm, vivid, vibrant, genuine woman we have lost.


  110. - Steve - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    Bright Star Savings never had such a unique salesperson.


  111. - sunnyjeff - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:45 am:

    I was always sad that Judy never got to be Governor. Being raised in Berwyn, everyone knew Judy. Great woman who will be greatly missed.


  112. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    Called her primary opponents “morons” and Blago “little weasel eyes.”

    I wonder what she meant, lol?


  113. - Dave Clarkin - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:47 am:

    Judy Baar Topinka had no equals. We shall never see the likes of her again.

    My sympathies to all of her current and former staff.


  114. - Say WHAT? - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:49 am:

    What a tremendous loss for the entire State of Illinois. This morning when I heard the news, everything stopped and I sat in tears. I found myself wondering what we will do without her. I loved her wit, humor, honesty, and the way she remained true to herself.

    Judy was as transparent as can be. She was down to earth and approachable. She cared about the state. She was proud as punch of her son, Joseph. She loved her dogs like children.

    I know many have called her a trailblazer. While it seems so overused, it is really true of JBT. Women in politics were given a good, strong lady who went before them and made it better for those of us who came after her.

    Most sincere condolences to Joseph, family, staff and friends. RIP Judy Barr Topinka. You will be sorely missed.


  115. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:50 am:

    Woke up this morning with the 6:00 news on the radio announcing that Judy had died. I was so shocked to hear that–at first I thought I was having a bad dream.

    We are going to miss her so much. She was an original individual and told it as she saw it. You always knew where you stood with Judy.

    Rich, I hope you will have a post where we can tell our Judy stories. I am sure that everyone who has met her has an interesting story to tell.

    I am really going to miss her.


  116. - Concerned - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:51 am:

    She was self-described as “Our Lady of Illinois” and she was, a real saint. RIP


  117. - A guy... - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    My. Heart. Aches. Alot…


  118. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    She’s one of the very few politicians I actually gave campaign contributions to.

    Had she won in 2006, Illinois would be in far better shape as to governance and finances.

    Condolences to the family.


  119. - Soccertease - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    What a great lady! Met her a couple years ago and she acted like she knew me forever. I have to go to the Comptroller’s Office today-going to be a somber visit.


  120. - illilnifan - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    Illinois would have been better off with her at the helm….she focused more on the needs of the citizens vs. grandstanding for the media. A true Illinois champion and a rare breed of politician.

    Hopefully her spirit will live on in others.


  121. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    I didn’t know her that well, but I enjoyed her so much and had so much respect for her. I feel so bereft today. My heart goes out to her family and close friends. What a loss, to all of us.


  122. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:02 am:

    She was the rarest of rare in politics. Funny Honest Self-effacing Hard-working and Competent. She never put party politics ahead of the people she represented and that worked for her. We could use more like her but we probably won’t get that privilege. Condolences to her family and all her friends everywhere.


  123. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    Rich, that was an amazing tribute you wrote in the CapFax this morning. It was so beautiful in fact, that you should publish it for everyone to read, not just subscribers. When you wake up, please consider this.


  124. - nikobey - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    She will be missed and mourned, especially by those who knew and appreciated her efforts in behalf of the people of Illinois.


  125. - Big Joe - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    I didn’t know Judy well, but I was impressed every time I heard her speak. A genuine person that had a knack for letting people know the truth about things. This is a HUGE loss for our state. May she rest in peace, knowing just how much the people of Illinois loved her. My sincere condolences go out to her family and staff on this truly sorrowful day.


  126. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    Thanks, Cynic.


  127. - Fan of Cap Fax - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    What a wonderful woman, a great politician and best of all, a genuine old soul. I hope all of the good memories help to heal your hearts during the days ahead. My prayers are with the family that they be comforted and given the strength to endure.


  128. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    JBT was the first and only Republican I ever voted for, during this last election. I didn’t know much about her politics, but my union endorsed her. I was deeply impressed by her presence at the SSM bill signing ceremony last year. If recall correctly, she got the biggest applause, or she got very big applause. She went against her party and took a courageous and compassionate stand for marriage equality.


  129. - Homer J. Simpson - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    RIP JBT. May your example lead others.


  130. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    I remember an interview she gave to NPR in her office over ten years ago. She displayed her pink bunny office slippers and the cigarettes she smoked. Pall Malls if I recall. She was real. RIP.


  131. - persecuted - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    Such a huge loss to our state. My condolences to her family and to those of you so lucky to have personally known her.


  132. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    I met her once or twice in person. She was exactly how she was on the teevee. What a huge personality


  133. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    Word, I think you hit it right on the head with “Happy Warrior”. She took her mission seriously without taking herself too seriously, a wonderful combination. JBT was living proof that a Republican didn’t need to be hard right or mean-spirited and could be open and receptive to all and be elected statewide in Illinois. Both houses of the GA,2 constitutional offices, on the statewide ballot 5 times, won 4. Not a hateful bone in her body. Roll on, old friend!


  134. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    How sad…I never forgave Rod for bashing her in 2006….
    A genuine, honest public servant that served the people.

    God rest her soul.


  135. - MEP - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    For most of my life I regarded Judy as a wolf in sheep’s clothing because at the time I didn’t really care to learn more. She’s a moderate Republican. I’m a liberal Democrat. That’s all young me needed to know. Then I saw the interview she did at a State Fair related event. The interview touched on the change in legislator pay fiasco, the entry of Sheila Simon into the comptroller’s race, etc. She was honest and witty. She earned my respect faster in that interview then a lot of politicians I’ve met in person.

    I crossed my ticket last month for Judy. A “horse-racing” obsessed politico friend of mine texted me asking if I regret that Rauner is going to choose her replacement. I stand by my vote. She was a pioneer and though I never got to meet her in person she was clearly a great person.


  136. - Black Ivy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    For the most part, my family prides itself on being heavily Democratic and, when my father passed away, we were surprised when then Republican Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka sent a personal note of condolences to our family. Since that time, she has been revered by my clan and, so, it is with heavy heart that I learn about this tragedy! A one-of-a-kind, pioneering woman has passed on today and she will not be soon forgotten. Rest in comfort, peace, and joy, Madame Comptroller! #weoweyou


  137. - Jorge - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    Rest in peace, Judy. You will be missed. Definitely a loss for all of Illinois.


  138. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    A great, GREAT, public servant. And I am a strong Dem.

    She will be missed. Thank you Judy for your tremendous service to our state!


  139. - Levi voted for Judy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    My Capitol Fax nickname says it all.


  140. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:50 am:

    Judy Baar Topinka is the poster child for “one of a kind”

    We had a nickname that we heard she did not like — we thought it was fun and intended to honor a certain rough and tumble spirit — so we put it in the drawer forever.
    It is interesting to see the posts and various memories. A lot of good stuff.
    Regular visitors to the site will know speculation is a major element of IL politics. There is no disrespect for the person who passed just a DNA that makes it happen. Guessing JBT would do the same. Hell, we are guessing JBT may be sending some brainwaves of her own right now!
    Maybe we can create a scholarship fund honor her and create some new government leaders in her likeness


  141. - LisleMike - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    I so enjoyed JBT! So real, so energetic and loyal.
    When the Repbulicans had their convention in Greenville, I was standing outside of the hall when this wonderful red headed woman asked me for aa favor. Of course I knew whom she was, and said “You’re Judy Bar Topinka!” She responded with “Of course I am. Will you help me?”
    She asked if we could adjourn away from the hall and appear to be having a private conversation. she told me that no one would interupt and she really needed a cigarette and time to compose herself before addressing the convention. We did.
    Every time I saw her, including Republican Day in Dupage County, she would throw out her arms and say “Well, if it isn’t my ‘Smokin’ buddy!” I never have smoked, but it didn’t matter to her. She was loyal and really did remember me by name. You don’t find that much any more among most polticians. RIP friend, and if smoking is allowed in heaven, save a spot and we’ll reconnect as you gather yourself again!!!


  142. - pol atty - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    No special election. Quinn appoints - no Sen approval needed. Appointee serves remainder of this term and until next general election in 2018.


  143. - Reader - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    Judy was a ray of sunshire wearing a pair of brass knuckles. She wasn’t afraid of the ole-boys-club, nor did she whine about it. She just GOT IT DONE. Bless you, Judy! I miss you already!


  144. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    Plus, she had the courage to go against the party majority regarding gay issues. Agree or disagree, I respect the heck out of her for that.


  145. - gg - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    I gave her money.
    I knocked on doors.

    We often think successful people avoid the hard knocks.
    She had a lot of hard knocks.
    She never complained about her problems.
    Most knew not to ask.

    Once, I saw her sitting with some girlfriends shooting the breeze after and away from an event.
    She gave me a look like … yes I have everyday friends.

    She gave me hope.


  146. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    I never voted for her, but I damn well respected her. Judy was honest and I could never really say a bad word about her. She was a hard worker and loved the State of Illinois. She was a Cermak Road personality and Senator Durbin said it best that Illinois Politics lost its Polka Queen.
    Miss ya Judy.


  147. - State Worker - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    A lot of tears in the Comptroller’s Office. A huge loss. RIP Judy


  148. - A guy... - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:07 am:

    Maybe, just maybe, this is the only post we need today on Capitol Fax. It’s enough for me. The outpouring of goodness remembering Judy is good for all of us.

    To every person in Illinois; I’m very sorry for your loss. Yep, she was that kinda gal.

    Sweet dreams beautiful lady!


  149. - cover - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    One of the on-air personalities on the local sports station, during a news break, said that his favorite tribute to the late JBT was written by Oswego Willy on CapFax.


  150. - Eddy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Devastating day here in Illinois. I am heartbroken as well. Thought and prayers are with her family and her staff. Thinking of you also Rich. Rest in peace Judy. We’ll always love and miss you.


  151. - Ginhouse Tommy - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    In the words of Billy Crystal about the loss of Robin Williams “No words”. Down to earth, honest, good hearted, a voice for the common man/woman, an ever present smile, hopefully many toasts tonight at the local bar for this sweetheart of a human being. When anyone thinks of her please smile. I think she would like that.


  152. - The Muse - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    Thanks for sharing, Rich. That obit was absolutely beautiful and well-deserved for such a lovely human being.

    I’ll never forget her incredible slippers on Cheesecake Day - she truly knew how to make people laugh and smile. Combine that with her intellect and, boy, what a force she was. RIP JBT


  153. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    A great lady…very sad news.

    My sympathies and condolences to her family and friends.


  154. - liandro - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    She devoted her life to serving her fellows. Salute!


  155. - anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    It’s hard to say anything new on this topic. To say she was one of a kind has been said already, but it was true. It’s also true that at one time - although she was “one of a kind” - there were other moderate Republicans like her walking the halls of the Capitol. You don’t see as many of those elected officials as much these days. Smart, moderate Republicans who were fiscally conservative and at the same time compassionate on social issues. It felt good knowing that if all else failed, we had someone like that leading our state. Hopefully someone will pick up the mantle she carried. Rest in Peace to her family, employees and friends, who were one and the same.


  156. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    Good day to take in Sawas Old Warsaw buffett on Cermak and 16th. Serious comfort food and all you can eat for a gray winter’s day.

    It’s goulash night, highly recommended.


  157. - Skeptical - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    RIP JBT.

    “Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.” Oscar Wilde


  158. - Lincoln16 - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    Female Version of Will Rogers!

    Never met anybody that she did not like. The Good Lord should re-build this Mold, for this State needs as many Judy Barr Topinka that it can get.

    I agree with Rich Miller:

    ‘Damn I’m Going To Miss That Woman’!


  159. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    When you thinka of a hard working-decent-funny-smart-honest-trail blazer- woman, you thinka Topinka!!!

    I will miss you Judy


  160. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    She was definitely on of Illinois’ more interesting political characters, and in a good way. She will be missed.


  161. - Earl Shumaker - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    How fortunate we were to have this lady in public office. She was a straight shooter with a lot of back bone. She truly cared about all of Illinois citizens. She has been one of our most effective politicians because she actually spent her energy and time governing and not playing
    politics
    She most definitely will be missed and the “people.”

    Our hearts ,thoughts and prayers are with her family

    Earl


  162. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    Let’s move this to a fresh thread: https://capitolfax.com/2014/12/10/tributes-flood-in-for-jbt/


  163. - Lou Lang - Wednesday, Dec 10, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    Judy will be missed by all of us in government, and on both sides of the aisle. She had heart and guts. A rare public servant. Illinois is better because she was with us.


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