Rep. Olsen Pays Tribute to Illinois' First Female Lawmaker During Women's History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is paying tribute to Lottie Holman O’Neill, the first female legislator in the Illinois General Assembly.

Lottie Holman O’Neill lived most of her life as a resident of Downers Grove, and represented the entire area that is now known as the 81st District as a lawmaker in Springfield. “Lottie Holman O’Neill was a leading voice that took the women’s equality movement to new heights, and it is a privilege for me to now sit in the seat that was once occupied by this extraordinary woman,” said Olsen. “Representative O’Neill sponsored pivotal legislation establishing an eight-hour work day for women in Illinois and was also a fierce advocate for disabled children and for parks, as well as for schools and civil rights. She eventually moved from the House to the Senate, where she retired in 1962 after 40 years in the General Assembly – making her the longest-serving female elected official in America at the time. Widely respected by lawmakers from both chambers and from both sides of the aisle, Senator O’Neill ultimately became known as the “conscience of the Senate.”

A statue of Lottie Holman O’Neill can be found in the Illinois Capitol in the Second Floor Rotunda. Click here to learn more about Illinois’ first female lawmaker.

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