The daughter of Czech and Slovak immigrants, Judy Baar Topinka (1944-2014) not only worked as a journalist after graduating from Northwestern University but also had a side gig in public relations where many of her clients were politicians. In 1980, Topinka dipped her own toe into world of politics and ran for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives. She won that election along with subsequent elections for the Illinois State Senate. Topinka went on to become the first woman elected to be the Illinois State Treasurer, a position which she held for three terms. Even though her political winning streak came to an end when she lost the 2006 Illinois gubernatorial election to Rod Blagojevich, she made a political comeback in 2010 getting elected as Illinois Comptroller.
Topinka, a Republican, was a major supporter of LGBT causes throughout her political career. When Illinois’ marriage equality bill was signed into law in 2013, she was the only Republican speaker at the ceremony (and, in true Judy Baar Topinka fashion, she volunteered to be any couple’s flower girl at their wedding). Recognizing her unwavering support for gay rights, Topinka was inducted into Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.
Why this stop? Topinka’s Illinois State Senate district included the area around the Pink Line's Cicero stop.
Judy Baar Topinka unexpectedly died while in office as the Illinois Comptroller. Watch this video which recaps her political career and legacy.