Congressman Dan Lipinski serves the 3rd District of Illinois.

Congressman Dan Lipinski serves the 3rd District of Illinois.
Short Fiction

Congressman Dan Lipinski has been representing Illinois’s 3rd congressional district since 2005; he lives in the Springdale section of Western Springs, and loves libraries.

TFMC: How long have you and your wife, Judy, lived in Western Springs?

DL: Judy and I have lived in Western Springs for almost 13 years. My sister and her family had moved here and enjoyed the warmth of the people in the community and all that Western Springs has to offer. That’s what we were looking for and we love living here in Springdale.

TFMC: You and Judy are runners; please share your thoughts on running and physical fitness in general, and in Western Springs in particular.

DL: Running is a great stress reliever and is an exercise that I can shoehorn into my schedule. Judy and I have our usual routes and I’m always amazed at how many people recognize us when we’re running. This area is wonderful for running and we always look forward to the Tower Trot. Keeping fit is helpful for everyone’s physical and mental health, but as a diabetic it is especially important for me.

TFMC: You taught American Government at the college level and are a trained engineer; what led you into politics?

DL: Since I was very young I was taught at home, in school, and at church that I should use my talents to make a positive difference in the world. My first activism was when I was 11 years old; my friend John and I collected signatures on a petition we created that asked the Japanese government to stop their tuna fishermen from killing dolphins. Jumping forward ten plus years, I felt a calling to take my two engineering degrees and move into the field of education. I figured I should go into the area that interested me the most and that was American politics. After getting my Ph.D. in political science and teaching as an assistant professor for a few years, I still felt I could do more. When my father retired from Congress, I decided to run.

TFMC: You have been serving Illinois’s 3rd congressional district since 2005; what is your greatest satisfaction? What is your greatest challenge?

DL: My greatest satisfaction is getting things done for my constituents. Whether it’s getting a bill signed into law, getting a project done in the district, or helping solve a problem for an area resident, anything that helps people brings me satisfaction. My greatest challenge is trying to get things done when there is so much bickering and gridlock in our highly partisan political system. I’ve been able to overcome it and have success, but overall fewer problems in our nation are getting solved.

TFMC: When you visit the Thomas Ford Memorial Library, what kinds of books are you likely to check out? What was the last great book you read?

DL: My love for learning – which helped inspire me to go into teaching – is why I love libraries and all that they have to offer. I mostly check out non-fiction books, although I keep telling myself I should read more fiction. Judy is in a book club so she often uses the library to get those books. We also like to check out movies. Judy and I don’t go out to movies that often; we prefer to watch them at home while we eat dinner and relax. As a former college professor, I hate to say this, but I don’t read many books cover-to-cover anymore. I read a tremendous amount but it is mostly shorter pieces.

TFMC: Can you comment on the importance of public libraries in Illinois?

DL: I have always loved to read and libraries are providing expanded access for everyone. The interlibrary loan system and eBooks are two great ways that this is being accomplished. I appreciate what is done for members at Thomas Ford and all libraries, especially as technology changes and expectations increase. I know it isn’t easy.

(an abridged version of this interview appeared in the spring 2017 edition of ‘The Ford Connection.’)

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