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Rosemary Mulligan

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* I was on vacation when former Rep. Rosemary Mulligan passed away. Here’s a react roundup. House GOP Leader Jim Durkin…

“I am very sorry to learn about the death of my former colleague, Rosemary Mulligan. Rosemary was a fierce advocate of women’s health issues and protector of our most vulnerable citizens. Rosemary took the time to really understand the state budget and she was never afraid to ask the tough questions on behalf of Illinois taxpayers. She was a passionate fighter for her district and all families in Illinois during her 20 years as a legislator. She will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to her to family during this difficult time.”

* Gov. Pat Quinn…

“Rosemary Mulligan was an inspiring leader who was never afraid to reach across the aisle to get the job done. Today we mourn her loss.

“As a member of the House, Rosemary was a true public servant who fought for the people of Illinois. She was a respected voice on a wide range of issues from human services to early childhood education, victims’ rights and transportation.
“Rosemary was an energetic bridge-builder who made Illinois a better place. She will be greatly missed.”

* Governor-elect Bruce Rauner…

“Diana and I offer our heartfelt condolences on the passing of former State Representative Rosemary Mulligan. Rosemary was a tireless advocate for her district, a defender of the taxpayer and a champion for Illinois women. She was a true public servant whose legacy will continue to guide us for years to come.”

* Personal PAC’s Terry Cosgrove…

25 years ago this complete stranger called me and said she was going to run in the Republican primary against the leading right-wing Republican in the Illinois House (Penny Pullen) and was going to beat her—Rosemary asked for Personal PAC’s help and the rest is history. I admired Rosemary because she was absolutely fearless in the defense of women’s rights, LGBT people, children and the less fortunate, telling everyone and anyone exactly what she thought, often times very colorfully. Her personal generosity, passion and spirit is rare in today’s politic. She also had a wicked sense of humor and did not suffer fools very easily. As many of us know, Rosemary had a very tough last few years.

Illinois is a much better place because of Rosemary Mulligan and I was always honored to call her my friend and hero.

Rest In Peace Rosemary.

* Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois…

“Rosemary Mulligan was a traditional Republican who believed deeply in individual rights and dignity, and as such she unapologetically championed equal rights for LGBT individuals in Illinois.

“During the debate on civil unions, Rep. Mulligan was in frail health but drove all the way to Springfield to cast a decisive vote in favor of equal rights for same-sex couples. She will be terribly missed.”

* Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider…

“From her tireless service in the Illinois Legislature, to her dedication to women’s rights and the disabled, to her lifetime of work making our state and country a better place, Rep. Mulligan will be truly missed.

“On behalf of the Illinois Republican Party, our prayers and condolences are with her family and loved ones today.”

* Sun-Times

[Stephen Granzyk] described his older sister as “sort of being on the margin of a new generation.” Mulligan left college to marry and have children, becoming involved in local politics later in life.

“She really was a self-made woman. Had she been born five or 10 years later she might have gone to school, gotten a law degree and gone even further,” he said.

Mulligan defeated GOP Rep. Penny Pullen in a 1992 primary race so close that a recount was called.

In subsequent elections, House Democrats spent considerably to defeat her. But Mulligan fiercely held on to her seat cycle after cycle, once purchasing another home across town in Des Plaines after Democratic mapmakers drew her residence outside of legislative boundaries.

* Daily Herald

In a discussion about a senior-living program in 2007, Mulligan accidentally called then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich a “blithering idiot” in a microphone she had meant to cover with her hand.

She both apologized for saying it and stood by the idea.

“It was my fault. I shouldn’t have said it,” Mulligan said.

“Do I think he’s a blithering idiot? Yeah. Do I think he knows anything about the budget? No,” she said.

posted by Rich Miller
Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 9:28 am


  1. Condolences to her family and to her many political friends, especially Terry Cosgrove. It’s been many years, but the Mulligan - Pullen races were closely watched and even by Democrats. Rosemary Mulligan winning that race…finally….was an important moment in the fight for women’s rights in Illinois. She was feisty, and with some wildly unpopular, but she stood strong for women’s health issues and Democrats who wanted better advocates on both sides of the aisle welcomed her to the fray and mourn her passing.

    Comment by Amalia Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 10:13 am

  2. Now that’s a real apology, Mulligan style!

    She was admirable in many ways, and she fought for the right things.

    Comment by walker Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 10:20 am

  3. RIP Rosemary. We went “round and round” more than once in committee but at the end of the day we could always laugh know we were both trying to do the right thing.

    No one could ever question your dedication to the voters in your district and those Illinois whose voices are not always heard.

    You were a credit to the House.

    Comment by Give Me A Break Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 10:54 am

  4. Working with Rosemary in the Legislature was rarely dull and usually an interesting ride. Rosemary was my State Representative before I went in the Senate, while I was a Senator and afterwards. We worked well together and fought for many of the same important human services issues. As we all know, she was no wall flower and if you paid attention, you could learn a lot from her wisdom and experience. While we did not agree on everything (and she was of course not shy about letting me know), we were allies and friends. She was a colorful force to be reckoned with in the district and in Springfield. Many of us have Rosemary stories that are probably best shared over a beer rather than here. It was my honor to know her and work with her. JBT & Rosemary are gone…They were colorful characters in their own ways who each added so much to public service. Both were one of a kind gone too soon. My prayers are with her family.

    Comment by Dave Sullivan Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 10:58 am

  5. Rosemary was a true advocate for people with disabilities. Her knowledge on these issues and passionate support remained unsurpassed by anyone in Springfield today. She has been and will be greatly missed by all.

    Comment by BobO Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 11:09 am

  6. Often irascible, always caring. Rosemary was one of the good ones.

    Comment by Linus Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 11:52 am

  7. As I recall, her party leader helped force her off the ballot, after which she endorsed the Dem who still holds the seat. Doesn’t seem to be hard feelings about that from the GOP.

    Comment by anon Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 12:47 pm

  8. Top-notch legislator and person, and truly tenacious in pursuit of things she believed in

    Comment by steve schnorf Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 1:38 pm

  9. My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Rosemary Mulligan. She tireless advocated for social issues, and represented her district well, while working for a better Illinois.

    Comment by Oswego Willy Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 3:05 pm

  10. We are losing tremendous female political pioneers! Her grit and determination on women’s issues and those of the disabled were appreciated. May former State Representative Rosemary Mulligan’s soul rest in perfect peace!

    Comment by Black Ivy Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 3:31 pm

  11. Rosemary was also friendly to the interests of legally residing immigrants and refugees - a good legislator and a good person. I miss her already.

    Comment by Capitol View Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 3:59 pm

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