The late Dawn Clark Netsch epitomized the image of a serious-minded politician who seeks office for more than personal aggrandizement.
Dawn Clark Netsch's name hasn't been in the headlines for years.
But people are hearing it again this week because the former state senator, state comptroller and Democratic candidate for governor in 1994 died at age 86.
Despite her retirement from politics after her unsuccessful race for governor, Netsch led a very active life. But with passing years and the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative nerve disorder that leads to paralysis and death, Netsch's public persona receded from view.
Netsch was a liberal who held very different views from conservatives about the size, scope and proper role of government. But she won a reputation as a serious person who tried to identify and solve problems.
Netsch dove into complicated subjects. She was an expert on state finances, helped write the state Constitution adopted in 1970 and was in the middle of a series of debates on major legislative issues.
In other words, Netsch was the kind of public official who sought elective office to do something, not to be something.
Illinois could use more like her. Instead, Illinois is seeing fewer like her, and that at least partly explains the problem the state is in.