Former Ill. Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch Dies | St. Louis Public Radio

Former Ill. Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch Dies

Mar 5, 2013

Updated at 11:05 a.m. with statement from Ill. Governor Pat Quinn.

Updated at 10:10 with statement from Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Former Illinois comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch has died at age 86.

Netsch's former chief of staff and longtime friend Wendy Cohen says Netsch died early Tuesday. The Democrat announced in January that she had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal nerve disorder.

Netsch spent 18 years serving in the state Senate and in 1994 was the first woman to run on a major ticket for governor in Illinois, losing to Republican Jim Edgar. She was known for her directness during her more than six decades in Illinois politics.

During her career, Netsch served as an adviser to Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner Jr., helped rewrite the Illinois Constitution in 1970 and was elected state comptroller in 1990.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn released this statement today upon Netsch's passing:

"I join with everyone in Illinois to mourn the passing of a great public servant. Dawn Clark Netsch was a strong advocate for education and a pioneer for equal rights for all people. As the first woman elected to a statewide constitutional office in Illinois, Comptroller Netsch blazed a trail for women in public office. As an elected delegate to the Illinois constitutional convention in 1970, she spearheaded the movement to modernize our constitution. I witnessed firsthand her dedication to honest government when we served together as state treasurer and comptroller. Most importantly, Dawn was a straight shooter, and not just at playing pool. She always told the people of Illinois what they needed to know. Throughout her life, Dawn Clark Netsch taught us all about the right way to move forward in our democracy. We are all better off because of her purposeful life."

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan released this statement today on Netsch's legacy.

“Dawn Clark Netsch set the standard for integrity in public service. She led by example with relentless honesty, fierce independence and a passionate belief in civil liberty for all. Her unwavering dedication to the People of Illinois will be missed. She blazed a trail for women and worked hard to make sure so many of us could follow her.”