Lynn Martin

Lynn Martin (born in 1939) grew up on the North Side of Chicago. Her first political contest was in 8th grade when she ran against her boyfriend for class president. She lost by one vote—hers. “I voted for my opponent because I thought it was polite. Well, he voted for himself, and I learned my lesson: if you believe in yourself, vote for yourself.” After graduating from the University of Illinois, she was a high school teacher in Rockford, Illinois. Her political career proceeded gradually from county school board member to the Illinois House of Representatives to the Illinois Senate and then to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Though she was a Republican, Martin was pro-choice and supported the Equal Rights Amendment. She was the first woman to hold a position in the Republican House Leadership and served on the Armed Services Committee, the Budget Committee and the House Rules Committee. In 1990, George H. W. Bush chose Martin to join his Cabinet as Secretary of Labor. She was confirmed by a vote of 94-0. In that position she created several programs including Job Training 2000 and the Glass Ceiling Initiative.

Martin left the world of politics in 1993. Subsequently she taught at Northwestern University and worked for Deloitte and Touche’s Council on the Advancement of Women.

Why this stop? The Blue Line Harlem stop (on Chicago’s Northwest Side) is in the neighborhood where Martin grew up and is less than a mile from William Taft High School which Martin attended.

Listen to what Lynn Martin had to say at the announcement of her nomination to be Secretary of Labor. (Forward to the 3:25 mark and listen until 5:03).