November 12, 2009

State Senate minority leader to speak on campus

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Illinois Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno will present a lecture next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Lemont Republican will speak at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18, in the SIU School of Law Auditorium in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building.

Radogno’s speech is part of the John White Lecture Series. White is a benefactor of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and a close friend to institute founder, the late Sen. Paul Simon.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Elected to the state Senate in 1997, Radogno became the first woman in Illinois history to hold one of the four legislative leadership posts when she was selected Senate minority leader in 2008.

“Sen. Radogno is one of the up-and-coming leaders of the Republican Party in Illinois,” institute Director David Yepsen said. “We were pleased to host her Democratic counterpart, Senate President John Cullerton, in the spring and we are equally pleased to give the University community the opportunity to hear from the other side.

“Given all the issues facing Illinois state government, this will be an opportunity for everyone to hear directly how policy-makers propose to deal with those issues” Yepsen said. “Many of those issues affect SIUC and Southern Illinois directly.”

Prior to entering politics, Radogno was a social worker at Mercy Center for Health Care Services. She began her political career by attending village board meetings in the Chicago suburb of LaGrange, where she and her husband were raising three children. She won a village trustee seat in 1989.

A 13-year veteran of the state Senate, Radogno unseated an incumbent state senator in the 1996 primary and went on to win in the general election. She won re-election in 2000, followed by elections in 2002 and 2004 due to redistricting, and in 2008. Radogno lost in the 2008 general election for state treasurer.

Radogno’s appearance “will also provide a chance for the University community to hear about the challenges facing women in politics today -- and how one woman has successfully overcome those obstacles,” Yepsen said. “I think her appearance will be a special opportunity for women on campus and in the community who are interested in political careers to get some good advice.”

Radogno earned a master’s degree in social work and a bachelor’s degree, both from Loyola University, Chicago.