Historically, Illinois senators don’t have the greatest political track record. Along with other past state politicians, they’ve earned a reputation for corruption. In fact, Illinois has become the butt of most political jokes thanks to the jokers who held office in the past. But not all of Illinois' elected officials have tarnished reputations.
- Mark Kirk. Kirk is the Republican Senator from Illinois elected in 2010, and he’s notable for more than just having two first names. Born in Champaign, Kirk has earned more degrees in his lifetime than his office walls can fit. He’s got a JD from Georgetown, a Master’s from the London School of Economics, and attended Cornell. In addition to all this, he’s also an officer in the Navy Reserve. How Kirk has time to be a United States Senator is anybody’s guess.
- Richard Durbin. Affectionately known as “Dick”, Durbin is the Democratic Senator from Illinois first elected in 1997. He’s a donkey through and through, known for his strong stance on issues such as closing Guantanamo Bay and reforming student financial aid. In essence, he’s the Democratic party platform in human form.
- Barack Obama. You can’t have a list of Illinois Senators without including this politician. In case you’re from the other side of the world or willfully avoid any human contact, Obama was elected President of the United States in 2008. He more or less used the Senatorial position as a launching pad for the more illustrious position to come, staying in congress for only four years before resigning to accept the Presidency.
- Carol Moseley Braun. This former Illinois Senator is notable for her demographic characteristics. She is the only female U.S. Senator to be elected by Illinois voters, which is a little surprising for a left leaning state. In her tenure, Moseley Braun was known for a liberal stance, particularly on social issues. In short, she is the type that political groups like the Tea Party seethe over. After her tenure as a Senator, Moseley Braun served as the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand from 1999 to 2001, which was probably little more than an awesome paid vacation.
- Jesse Burgess Thomas. He became one of the first two Senators to come from Illinois in 1819, and makes this list because, well, why not. In addition to having some seriously lluscious locks of hair, Thomas came up with the Missouri Compromise. It limited slavery in the western territories. After serving two terms in congress Thomas abruptly left office and settled in Ohio, where he lived until 1853.