THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
Barbara Flynn Currie
“I would never have been in politics all these years if I had not been an optimist.”
Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1979 to 2019. She served as the Majority Leader from 1997 to 2019, the first woman to hold the post. Flynn Currie’s forty years as a member of the Illinois General Assembly is the longest tenure of any woman to serve in the Illinois General Assembly. She sponsored the state’s first Freedom of Information Act and the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit. She was a champion for clean air and water; she spearheaded reforms in state funding for public education and in the juvenile justice system. She’s been honored by many organizations including the Illinois ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois Environmental Council, Friends of the Parks, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. Currie earned her B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1968 and her M.A. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1973.
Interviewed by Karen Fishman, VFA Board, January 2022
Photo 1. Barbara Flynn Currie takes the oath of office as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1987. Photo 2. Representatives Billy Marovitz, Barbarra Flynn Currie and Alan J. Greiman on the Illinois House floor circa 1980.