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CHICAGO (AP) - The nephew of pioneering Illinois politician Dawn Clark Netsch says she remained an active behind-the-scenes political player right up until her death.

The former Illinois comptroller and the first woman to get the Democratic nomination for Illinois governor died early Tuesday at her Chicago home.

Nephew Andy Kerr says the evening before Netsch was at home watching the TV news and surrounded by newspapers.

Kerr says his aunt was always trying to stay up to date and even in her last months was advising political candidates.

Netsch graduated first in her class from Northwestern Law in 1952, yet Kerr says she could not get a job because she was a woman.

He says that experience drove her to fight all types of discrimination, which became a hallmark of her career.

Here is reaction from across the state:

"The Illinois political scene will not be the same without that pool-shooting Sox Fan with a cigarette holder, but generations of Illinois women can thank the indomitable force of Dawn Clark Netsch for blazing their path." - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

"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." - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

"Dawn leaves behind a long path paved with the shattered glass from the ceilings she broke for women in leadership." - U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley.

"Dawn always remembered that government exists to serve taxpayers, not the other way around. She was a leader who was ahead of her time and our state is better for her service." - Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

"She was straight forward, a straight shooter and great at explaining state issues. She was not just a public servant, but a teacher. She will be missed." - Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon.

"She blazed a trail for women and worked hard to make sure so many of us could follow her." - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

"Her legacy will live on through her incomparable career of helping others." - Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
Published in Local News

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