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John F Dunn - Legislators Project

John F. Dunn was a Democrat who served in the Illinois House of Representatives from January 1975 to January 1995, representing the 51st District and after 1983, the 101st District. He served on the Agriculture Committee and chaired the Transportation and Civil Law committees. In his last term, he was an Assistant House Majority Leader. He was a consistent supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, an opponent of capital punishment, and while working as a lobbyist after leaving the legislature, played a major role in the passage of an indoor smoking ban.

Interview Links

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early life, Decatur City Council and run for legislature

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Impact of Cutback Amendment and his 1982 primary

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

Family life, post-House campaigns, Illinois governors

Interview Session 04 (Audio)

Childhood memories, philosophy of public service

Photos

Caption

A photograph often used for John Dunn’s campaign literature.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

John F. Dunn during his service on the Decatur City Council from 1971-1974. He resigned his council seat shortly after being elected as one of three Illinois State Representatives in the 51st District in 1974.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1971-1974

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

John F. Dunn (right) and his friend and legislative colleague, Aaron Jaffe. Dunn formed a strong relationship with fellow independent Democrat Jaffe, who later went on to serve as a Cook County judge and chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

John F. Dunn (left) was a steadfast supporter of ERA during legislative battles in the 1970s. He was the only representative or state senator in the 51st District to support it. Entertainer Carol Burnett made several trips to Illinois during the ten-year legislative fight, including this trip in 1978.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1978

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

John F. Dunn (left) says goodbye to then-Illinois State Senator Richard M. Daley on the floor of the Illinois State Senate. Daley had just been elected Cook County State’s Attorney in 1980. He later followed in his father, Richard J. Daley’s, footsteps, serving as Mayor of Chicago from 1989 to 2011.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

1980

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

John F. Dunn (left), then-U.S. Congressman Paul Simon (center), and former Illinois State Senator Robert McCarthy met for a 1982 primary campaign event in a Decatur restaurant. Simon was in town campaigning for his former aide, Richard J. Durbin, then competing for Congress in the old 20th District.

Where:

Decatur

When:

1982

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Enthusiastic crowds greeted Dunn in Decatur’s 1982 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Many among the crowd lining the streets of downtown Decatur had heard about Dunn’s reaction after he was prevented from addressing a gun rights rally the night before.

Where:

Decatur, Illinois

When:

1982

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

This official photo, circa 1982-83, captures Dunn in a pose which hints at his door-to-door style of campaigning.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Circa 1982-83

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

During his early years in the Illinois House, John F. Dunn sat near then-state representative Harold Washington. Washington later went on to serve in Congress and in 1983 was elected Mayor of Chicago. He appears with Dunn at the Illinois Capitol shortly after his election as mayor.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

When the occasion called for it, whether on the floor of the Illinois House or during a campaign rally, Dunn was a strong orator. In this case, Dunn whips up a crowd in Decatur the night before the November 8, 1988 election. The rally followed a torchlight parade through downtown Decatur.

Where:

Decatur, Illinois

When:

November 8, 1988

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

This photo captured not only Dunn but his fiery demeanor during his impromptu press conference in the parking lot of the Warrensburg Gun Club, where pro-gun organizers barred Dunn from speaking, while allowing his opponent and other Democrats to do so.

Where:

Warrensburg, Illinois

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator. Photo in the Decatur Herald

Caption

A photograph of John Dunn at the time of his interview in 2019.

Where:

Unknown

When:

2019

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo



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