Rep. ‘Lou’ Jones, 68,  ‘advocate for the most vulnerable’
State Rep. Lovana “Lou” Jones, one of the longest-serving, current members in the Illinois General Assembly, died Monday at age 68.

Jones, known as an advocate for women and children, had been ill with pneumonia, her colleagues said, though no official information was released concerning the cause of death. Jones, who was known by many simple as “Lou,” represented the 26th District, covering parts of downtown, the South Side as well as the Douglas, Kenwood and Grand Boulevard communities.

An outpouring of comments came from admirers and colleagues early in the week. Sen. Barack Obama, who served with Jones in the state senate, released a statement Tuesday.

“Yesterday, the Illinois State Legislature lost a champion for women and children’s issues,” said Obama. “For nearly 10 years, Lou Jones worked to protect children and highlight the accomplishments of women in this state. No one could have been a better advocate for the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Jones spent nearly 20 years in the Illinois legislature. Along with advocating for children and women, she worked to provide resources for ex-offenders.

“Her work with non-violent ex-offenders not only provided hope for a better future but also an opportunity to save our young children who had lost their way,” said Obama. “I always admired her desire to take on causes and standing her ground rather than trying to please everyone.”

The lifelong Democrat was currently serving as chair of the House Committee on Public Safety, and had worked her way up the Springfield ladder to assistant majority leader to House Speaker Michael Madigan. Jones served in that role for six terms.

According to her bio on the General Assembly website, Jones was born in 1938 in Mansfield, Ohio. Her family moved to Illinois in 1959. Jones has a B.A. in Business Administration from Ohio State University. She is survived by two children and eight grandchildren.

“Lou had a heart of gold,” said Cong. Danny Davis in a statement released Tuesday. “She cared for her grandchildren and lavished them with love. … Her passing is a loss for Illinois.”

?”Terry Dean