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Question of the day

Thursday, Jan 23, 2020

* The Sun-Times’ candidate questionnaire asks a couple of unusual questions. Here’s one question with the response from Chicago-based House candidate Nidia Carranza

What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?

Breaking Bad: The story of what happens when a teacher has poor healthcare and not a big enough salary to afford paying medical bills after an unexpected illness. A problem I can relate to, though my solution is a little less drastic - running for public office!

Um. OK. Also, did the CTU not negotiate a decent healthcare benefits package? (Hat tip: Hillman.)

* But here’s the question we’ll be concerned with today. Same respondent

What historical figure from Illinois, other than Abraham Lincoln (because everybody’s big on Abe), do you most admire or draw inspiration from? Please explain.

Mother Jones: One of the first women to lead organized labor in this country, Mother Jones helped make Illinois the birthplace of rank-and-file organizing. She understood that justice for working families depended on fair working conditions, and was willing to fight powerful corporate interests - often putting her body on the line - in order to bring attention to the issues. I am proud of the legacy Illinois and Chicago has built around union organizing, and we would not be where we are today without her.

Mother Jones’ grave in Union Miners Cemetery is Mt. Olive’s only tourist attraction. Mt. Olive is about 50 miles south of Springfield, so if she wins her Democratic primary against appointed Rep. Eva Dina Delgado (D-Chicago) and Joaquin Vazquez, it’s an easy drive.

Anyway…

* The Question: What historical figure from Illinois, other than former presidents, do you most admire or draw inspiration from? Please explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

75 Comments
  1. - Rich Hill - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    Ida B Wells did not manage to win election to the state senate, but her work as an activist and journalist made this a more just country.


  2. - Glengarry - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    John A Logan. Nuff said.


  3. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    Jane Addams.

    The original modern social justice warrior and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

    In the face of so much social cruelty, she was ceaseless and undaunted.


  4. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:32 am:

    John Peter Altgeld - As Governor of Illinois (1893–1897), he spearheaded the nation’s most progressive child labor and occupational safety laws, appointed women to important positions in the state government, vastly increased state funding for education, pardoned three of the men convicted in the Haymarket Affair, and rejected calls to forcibly crush the Pullman strike.

    – MrJM


  5. - NotRich - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    Joe Maddon..yes, not relevant to the question..but jut wanted to throw a dig at the editor/owner


  6. - lincoln's beard - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    John Peter Altgeld: German immigrant, self-taught attorney, progressive Governor, friend to labor, stared down strong opposition, pardoned Haymarket scapegoats. A real strong contender for best Illinois governor of all time.


  7. - Fav human - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    I’ve visited the Mother Jones grave. Very impressive. Well worth a stop.

    Agree with John Logan.


  8. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    John Peter Altgeld. Prison reform stuck up for labor in Pullman strike and pardoned Haymarket prisoners


  9. - Druid Eye - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:41 am:

    Jane Addams. It’s personal for me….but my Great Grandmother passed on to her descendants that her family was able to get food when it was really needed from Hull House. They lived in a tenement on the West Side not far from Hull House. She was a remarkable woman.


  10. - Anon For Now - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:41 am:

    Goerge Pullman on how to do some things, but more so on how NOT to do things in business.


  11. - Blue Dog Dem - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    Harry Caray. One of a kind.


  12. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    George Donner. In 1846, tired of Democrats, corruption and high taxes, Donner left Springfield in search of unfettered capitalism. He found it in the mountains of Nevada, at an all-you-can eat Sierra lodge where he spent the winter. Donner and his party thus became the first to depart in the long-running Illinois Exodus.


  13. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    John Paul Stevens. Had an amazing life dedicated to the rule of law, and wasn’t afraid to evolve his views over time.


  14. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:45 am:

    John Peter Altgeld, with Henry Horner as a close second. Comparing them both is interesting - Altgeld took risks, but Horner aimed to build a more long-lasting, politically effective movement to outlast his opponents.


  15. - South of Sherman - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    Altgeld is a great choice. Also, Oscar Meyer and the guy who invented the Twinkie had Illinois connections.


  16. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    –George Donner–

    Ha. Really glad I decided not to get lunch early.


  17. - Red Ketcher - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:49 am:

    More recent history, but, have admiration for the courage of the late Judge Brocton Lockwood. Operation Greylord was both necessary and historic.


  18. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:52 am:

    Ernest Hemingway. I think anyone who reads has an author that they think most understands him/herself, and Ernest Hemingway is that for me.


  19. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:58 am:

    Nelson Algren, James Farrell, Richard Wright, there are other great Chicago realism authors, but those three stand out to me. Mike Royko and Studs Turkel on the non-fiction side.


  20. - If only... - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:00 pm:

    Hillary Clinton. During the 2016 campaign, all I could think of was the line from “Hamilton” - “When you knock me down, I get the [banned word] back up again.” I was in awe of how she was able to take everything thrown at her and get back up again, every time.


  21. - Exit 59 - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    Paul Simon. Not the singer…The pay as you go Democrat. For many of his ideas but mostly his integrity.


  22. - Cromulent M. Biggens - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:06 pm:

    Since Mother Jones, and her grave, have been mentioned, and many persons have already noted Altgeld, I’ll throw out John L. Lewis, and his grave near Lincoln’s.


  23. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:06 pm:

    (Oops, apologies for using a banned punctuation.)


  24. - Drake Mallard - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:11 pm:

    Altgeld. Read Altgelds America. He did what he thought was right regardless of the political consequences.
    There should be more memorials for him in this state then the music venue at SIU Carbondale


  25. - JIbba - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:12 pm:

    Ray Bradbury…creative, prescient.


  26. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    Betty White, because she’s smart, talented and funny. And still going at 98.


  27. - RIJ - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique and first president of NOW.


  28. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    Great choices.
    Going with Jane Adams.


  29. - Maine East - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:18 pm:

    Hillary Clinton. She carries the weight of a press and public filled with sexism, a level of scrutiny that few in modern history have shared, and a cheating husband - and fights hard.


  30. - So_Ill - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    Former Senator Paul Martin Simon. One of the most honorable men in the history of American politics and an all around great guy.


  31. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    Since Paul Simon has been mentioned, I’ll say State Sen. Jacqueline Collins for not ignoring the issue of genocide and pushing through a sanctions bill against Sudan during the 2000’s Darfur genocide.


  32. - Rich Hill - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    ==Ha. Really glad I decided not to get lunch early.==
    Are you saying Donner changed your lunch plans?


  33. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    Harold Washington if only for his ability to both work inside and against the political establishment.


  34. - Groucho - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    Edgar Bergen. Had a successful radio career as a ventriloquist, Even Madigan could not pull that off.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    There are quite a few Illinoisans I respect and admire for many things but to this question I think I’ll choose Paul Simon.

    Sen. Simon, I could probably agree with 54% of the time, and 50 of that 54 percentage is that we both love this country and our state, (to give a clear perspective).

    What, for me, is so telling, and why I chose Sen. Simon, is that with so few policy things I agreed with him, at NO time did I think he didn’t, (in his eyes, beliefs, heart) have the best interests of Illinois or America in his politics. That’s huge for me.

    Disagreeing with Sen. Simon, I still felt his public service was him doing his job to the best of his ability, and doing so honorably, with a true heart of public service.

    So easily now we fall into the disparaging of those “not like us, not voting like us, not believing what we believe” and with that think those folks can’t love America as I do, love the Constitution, love Illinois too. Paul Simon reminds me that public service and disagreements should be honored, and the love he had in things was no different than mine, even if our ways to policy greatly differed.


  36. - Blue Dog Dem - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    Paul is a great choice.


  37. - Sayitaintso - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    Bruce Rauner- if I go to hell, at least I’ll know what to expect.


  38. - dbk - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Not sure I’d say he’s the Illinoisan I most respect/admire - others have noted several candidates - but I discovered today by accident that the great IWW unionist Frank Little was born in Illinois (1878).

    Little organized metal miners, lumberjacks, dock workers, farm workers, and oil field workers during his short period of union organizing. In addition, he was an ardent free-speech advocate.

    Little returned to Illinois in 1913 to try to organize workers at the Avery Company, manufacturers of farm equipment.

    He was lynched on August 1, 1917 in Butte, Montana during a strike by copper miners. Those responsible were never identified.

    More at: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2013/08/this-day-in-labor-history-august-1-1917


  39. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Carl Sandburg…The American Poet.


  40. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Right now Hillary Clinton. She faced accusations and investigations with such calm, so unlike the current president, who is such a thin-skinned whiner and so unbecoming for the world’s most powerful office.


  41. - Southern_Dawg - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    Sen. Paul Simon. I had the privilege to work for him for three years. He was remarkable. The last statesman.


  42. - Ned Nederlander - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:05 pm:

    Elijah Lovejoy. Abolitionist newspaper editor murdered by a mob in Alton in 1837 after his printing press was destroyed multiple times by a pro-slavery mob. A remarkable story of free speech and martyrdom. He only spent a year or so in Illinois, but I was moved by his story when I saw the Lovejoy Monument in Alton.


  43. - Steve Rogers - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:05 pm:

    There’s a great article in today’s Illinois Times about Julius Rosenwald. I knew a little about him before, but after reading this article, he moves up the list quite a bit.


  44. - Keyrock - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    Altgeld and Addams are great choices. So are Stevens and Simon and, for that matter, Paul Douglas.

    But I’d like to suggest Eliot Ness. He started the long and continuing fight to use federal prosecution to weaken the culture of corruption and organized crime in Chicago, Cook County, and the state.


  45. - KTM350 - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    47th Ward: don’t you mean unfettered cannibalism? There fixed it for you


  46. - A Jack - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:16 pm:

    I was also going to mention John L. Lewis, (mentioned above). He was the former president of the UMW and is buried in Oakridge not far from my grandfather who was also a coal miner. I come from coal mining roots and I was likely named after John Lewis.


  47. - A Guy - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:22 pm:

    Studs Terkel. He deserves to be on any “great” list.


  48. - A Jack - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:23 pm:

    47th… you might also add the Unibomber to your list. He lived with his parents in Lombard, Illinois during the sixties and had some high ideals, even though his methods were unsound.


  49. - Occam - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    Richard Duchossois. Was a tank destroyer battalion commander in WWII. Awarded two Bronze Stars. During a german counterattack across the Moselle River, was shot and left for dead in front of a german tank. Was ultimately saved by his troops as they came back and retrieved him from in front of the german troops. Went on to own many businesses, including Arlington Park and has employed hundreds of thousands of employees over the last 68 years.


  50. - dr. reason a. goodwin - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:29 pm:

    Great thread. I’ll agree in regard to Senator Simon. Oswego Willie summed it up well. Although she’s not #1 on my list I think JBT deserves a mention.


  51. - MG85 - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:30 pm:

    John L. Lewis. Like Lincoln, he wasn’t born here but made Illinois (and Springfield) his home. While Roosevelt gets much of the credit, it was Lewis who fought for those in poverty to earn a living wage and have a say in the workplace.

    Lewis’ efforts built the modern concept of the American Dream. Most of the privileges workers take for granted today were made possible thanks to Lewis.


  52. - JoanP - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    I have to agree with everyone who named John Peter Altgeld. He was absolutely the first person who came to mind.

    I’d add Clarence Darrow to the list. I think most people know of his magnificent sentencing argument in the Leopold & Loeb case, and of course his involvement in the Scopes trial. Less well-known is the fact that he moved from representing railroads to representing Gene Debs on charges stemming from the Pullman strike, that he represented Ossian Sweet, a black man charged with murder for killing a white man who was part of a mob trying to drive the Sweet family from their home. He was involved in pretty near every progressive movement.

    @Steve Rogers - Yep, Rosenwald is definitely on the list. He did great good, in very practical ways, and did it with great modesty. He never wanted his name on anything, and I *refuse* to ever call the museum he founded the Ken Griffin Museum of Science and Industry. What a travesty.

    I, too, have visited the grave of Mother Jones. Driving down to St. Louis one day several years ago, I noticed a sign for it and knew I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t make the short detour.


  53. - RankandFile - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    Wyatt Earp - famous lawman and gambler from Monmouth, Illinois (Warren County for those not familiar with western Illinois).


  54. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    Sen. Paul Simon. I had the honor to meet him on several occasions. His integrity and dedication to making Illinois, the U.S., and the world a better place puts him at the top of my list. He was always willing to talk to people about what he stood for and why. He had weekly coffees in the Capitol when he was a Senator, and met with everyone from the politically connected to high school kids from underprivileged communities. If only we had more like him.


  55. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 2:19 pm:

    “There should be more memorials for him in this state then the music venue at SIU Carbondale”

    Lincoln Park has a John Peter Altgeld Monument, sculpted by Gutzon Borglum of Mt. Rushmore fame.

    – MrJM


  56. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 2:24 pm:

    ===then the music venue at SIU===

    UIUC and NIU each have an Altgeld Hall.


  57. - Ridgelander - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 2:27 pm:

    Bill Veeck, as in Wreck, grew up in the family business of running a major league baseball team, on the north side of Chicago. His father was the Cubs General Manager, and Bill planted the vines at Wrigley Field in the late 1903s. He eventually owned three different major league teams, in St. Louis, Cleveland and St. Louis, and two of those teams played in the World Series; the Cleveland team won it all in 1948. His 1947 Indians team integrated the American League three months after Jackie Robinson did the same for the National League, and he also brought Satchel Paige to the Major Leagues. His 1959 White Sox reinvigorated a franchise that had floundered since the Black Sox scandal in 1919, with a team that nearly won a World Series in 1959, and featured an exploding scoreboard. After he sold the Sox a second time in 1981, he spent time in the Wrigley Field bleachers, shirt off, beer in hand, and willing to talk baseball with anyone (me included.) He made the game fun for lucky fans in many cities, and in his own way, touched the lives of many who love baseball. He was an original and baseball could use more like him today.


  58. - Gruntled University Employee - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 2:31 pm:

    Eddie Vedder, nuff said.


  59. - Ridgelander - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    Sorry:

    St. Louis, Cleveland and Chicago, of course.


  60. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    The John Altgeld of professional sports: Buck Weaver.


  61. - Wire Tap - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    Rich Miller


  62. - Eugene - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    Sidney Hillman, founder of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers (later evolved into ACTWU then UNITE HERE, etc.) Led the great strike at Hart, Shaffner and Marx, and co-founded the CIO in the 1930s.


  63. - prairiestatedem - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    Lots of great nominations, John Lewis, Gov. Altgeld, the late, great Paul Simon who’s integrity as a public official is unmatched. Though he was once an “enemy” I’ve always taken inspiration from Chief Blackhawk. He fought boldly for his people and his land against overwhelming odds and harsh conditions. If you haven’t read it his autobiography is a good read. Part of the heritage and story of our great state.


  64. - Ambrose Chase - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    There are two Illinoisans - historical figures - who are kind of forgotten around here that I admire. Everybody knows Abraham Lincoln and his role in ending slavery, but not everyone thinks of Governor Coles, our second governor. He was originally from Virginia, and he freed his own slaves on the trip west. The other is Governor Wood. He helped defeat a push by members of the General Assembly to make Illinois a slave state in 1824.


  65. - Nitemayor - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    U.S. Senator Lyman Trumbull (1813-1896). First elected to the state house in 1840, circuit riding lawyer with Lincoln, Secretary of State (1841-1843) State Supreme Court (1848-1853) elected U.S. Senator in 1855 by defeating Lincoln. Chaired the Judiciary Committee 1861-1872 where he was respond able for the passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments and the Civil Rights Act of 1866. 1 of 7 Republicans who voted to acquit Andrew Johnson against the will of the vast majorities of his constituents. He later represented Samuel Tilden in the contested election of 1876. Just before he died he was co counsel, along with Clarence Darrow in arguing the appeal of the conviction of Eugene Debs before the U.S. Supreme Court. He deserves a new biography, a man of unquestioned principle.


  66. - JT11505 - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    Troy Grove’s own Wild Bill Hickock. Just because.


  67. - Streamwood Retiree - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    Concur with all but one.
    Unmentioned is Senator Everett Dirksen who stood up for ordinary soldiers that had no political connections. Can I respect and admire both Dirksen and Simon? Of course!

    re Donner. he was just beyond meat.


  68. - someonehastosayit - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    I’ve always thought Glenn Poshard was a great public servant who was able to bring folks together from both sides of the aisle. There’s pretty much consensus agreement that the state would have been better off if he had won the governor’s race in 1998.


  69. - ANON - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    Wow not a single mention of Lane Evans?


  70. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:48 pm:

    ===Wow not a single mention of Lane Evans?===

    None for Bob Newhart either. Tough crowd.


  71. - Dog Lover - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    David and Sarah Davis

    I worked and interned at the Davis Mansion in Bloomington -wonderful place. Great history.


  72. - Nick Name - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 4:21 pm:

    Mike Royko. I was reading old columns by him the other day and had to wipe my eyes. God I miss him.

    Very close runner up: Steve Albini, Chicago-based recording artist and record producer/engineer. Breathed new life into punk rock in the 1980s and is still at it.


  73. - Vote Quimby - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 11:24 pm:

    Senator Paul Simon….. respected by both sides of the aisle. If only he hadn’t lost the ‘72 primary, Illinois would be better off. His grave stone needs care,though..


  74. - Leatherneck - Friday, Jan 24, 20 @ 8:28 am:

    - someonehastosayit - Thursday, Jan 23, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    I’ve always thought Glenn Poshard was a great public servant who was able to bring folks together from both sides of the aisle. There’s pretty much consensus agreement that the state would have been better off if he had won the governor’s race in 1998.

    ————–

    I agree on Poshard–if he’d won in ‘98, that would have heavily changed the trajectory of our state, and perhaps even national implications (e.g., would have had heavy implications on Blago’s political career).


  75. - R AT - Friday, Jan 24, 20 @ 9:02 am:

    Everett McKinley Dirksen - I still believe that if he became President, we would not have problems like we do now because he was a great long-term thinker


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