William A. Redmond
|64th Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives|
1975 – 1981
|Preceded by||W. Robert Blair|
|Succeeded by||George Ryan|
|Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 46th district
1959 – 1983
|Children||Two Daughters, One Son|
|Alma mater||Marquette University
Northwestern University School of Law
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1942-1945|
|Rank||Navy Security Officer|
|Unit||United States Naval Intelligence|
William A. Redmond was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives representing portions of DuPage County from 1959 until his retirement in 1981. During the 79th, 80th and 81st general assemblies, he served as Speaker of the House.
Early life and career
After graduating high school, he attended Marquette University where he earned a degree in engineering. In 1934, he graduated from Northwestern University’s School of Law where he was a member of the Young Democrats.
His first job out of college was at the firm of Loesch, Scofield, Loesch and Burke. He continued there until his enlistment in the US Navy at the outbreak of World War II. He served in Naval Intelligence and as a Naval Security Officer.
After the war, he returned to practicing law and became the first attorney in Bensenville, Illinois. His experiences during the Great Depression having made him a staunch Democrat, he became involved in the small Democratic Party of largely Republican DuPage County, eventually becoming its chairman. In 1948, after encouragement from Paul Douglas and Adlai Stevenson he ran for DuPage County State’s Attorney and received the highest vote total of anyone up to that time, but lost. He made his second run for office in 1950 when he ran for county judge.
Illinois General Assembly
In his third run for office, Redmond was successful and became one of his district’s three representatives in the Illinois House. He sponsored many pieces of legislation during his tenure including the creation of an Equality of Economic Opportunity Commission, created the Illinois State Board of Education, and advocated for increased mass transportation for his suburban district. He helped to create the South Suburban Transit Authority and the Regional Transportation Authority.
Redmond became a respected legislator on both sides of the aisle and during the 79th General Assembly; he was elected Speaker of the House as a compromise candidate. His election was made possible by the defection of freshman representative and future speaker Lee Daniels from his party.
As Speaker, he took a hands off approach with legislation and toured areas of downstate Illinois that may have otherwise not met anyone from the Democratic leadership. He became the first Democrat to be elected Speaker for three terms.
Post assembly life and legacy
In 1981, Redmond chose to retired after two decades of service in the Illinois General Assembly. His retirement made him the last Democrat from DuPage County in the Illinois General Assembly until the elections of State Senator Tom Cullerton of Villa Park and State Representative Deb Conroy of Elmhurst. He was appointed to the Illinois Prison Review Board by Governor James R. Thompson. Redmond died in December 1992. The Redmond Recreational Complex in his hometown of Bensenville is named after him.
- "Former Rep. William A. Redmond". Chicago Tribune. December 12, 1992. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- "William A. Redmond Memoir". Illinois Legislative Research Unit. 1982. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Schmeltzer, John (June 10, 1986). "Ex-speaker Adjusts To Life After Politics". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Crawford, Jan (June 18, 1989). "Once Upon a Time There was a Powerful Democrat in DuPage County". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Pollock, James and Charles Swearingen (February 1993). "Former Speaker William A. Redmond dies". Northern Illinois University. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- "Redmond Recreational Complex". Village of Bensenville. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
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