State Rep. Esther Golar (D-Chicago) passed away Monday at the age of 71.
Reaction has been pouring in upon news of Golar's death.
"For almost 10 years Rep. Golar has represented her constituents honorably and has been a selfless advocate for their interests," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. "She understood that government is a vehicle of service, and operates at its best when it is collaborative. She was a believer in the strength of neighborhoods and communities, and was an ally on issues I hold dear: schools, public safety and health care. My sympathies go out to her family and close friends."
One of Golar's last votes in the Illinois General Assembly was cast earlier this month in support of a bill that sought to undo the Rauner administration's controversial changes to the Child Care Assistance Program.
She traveled to Springfield to vote on the child care legislation, and a few other high-profile bills, despite her doctor advising her against making the trip.
"For her, it was about doing her duty and standing up for working families in her district," State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) told the Chicago Tribune. "Her doctors told her not to go, and she said that in her heart it was something she felt she had to do."
Golar represented the 6th district since 2006.
In a statement, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Golar "served the people of Illinois and her constituents in Chicago admirably, while advocating for some of our most vulnerable citizens. She championed change in the areas of housing, education, restorative justice and mental illness. She was a pillar of strength in her community and represented the people of the 6th District with tenacity and grace."
Illinois organizations are also expressing their thoughts about the loss of Golar. Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov released the following statement Monday:
Today, we at Equality Illinois are saddened to hear of the passing of State Representative Esther Golar.
Rep. Golar worked to improve access to health care and was committed to bettering the lives of everyone in her district and throughout the State of Illinois. She believed that everyone deserved an equal shot in life and never flinched from making that her driving focus. She pursued every opportunity to advance equal treatment and protection for LGBT individuals in Illinois.
Rep. Golar is forever in our hearts, and we are thinking of her family in this time of mourning.
The Safer Foundation, an organization aimed at reducing recidivism and helping former prisoners transition smoothly, also released a statement in response to news of Golar's death:
We were deeply saddened to hear the news that Esther Golar, Illinois State Representative serving the 6th Legislative District, has made her transition. Esther was a humble and courageous warrior in the fight for justice and opportunities for people with criminal records. The legislation that she sponsored during her time in Springfield opened the doors for thousands of people in the state of Illinois to have their rehabilitation recognized and reclaim their lives. We happily awarded her with the 2012 CARRE Visionary Award for her outstanding contributions, to eliminate barriers to employment for people with criminal records. She will be truly missed by the Safer Foundation family.