An Illinois politician known as a “straight shooter” has died. Dawn Clark Netsch was a state senator for 18 years, one-term Illinois comptroller and Democratic candidate for governor in 1994. “A whole lot of people will remember her as the pool wizard who made that great shot that was on that commercial when she ran for governor,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, recalling the spot in which Netsch was characterized as a “straight shooter.”
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But she was more than that, Simon said. “She was a pioneer who really opened up government, state government, for women,” she said. When Netsch ran for governor in 1994 – losing to incumbent Republican Jim Edgar – she was the first woman to be nominated for governor by a major party in Illinois. There has been only one since – Republican Judy Baar Topinka in 2006, but Simon notes that half of the state constitutional officers now are women, and it’s no big deal. She attributes that to Netsch’s trail blazing.
Netsch was also a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1970, and a board member for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. She resided in Chicago, and she died in her home two months after announcing that she had been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She was 86. Her husband, architect Walter Netsch, died in 2008.