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  Schmidt, John R.
NameJohn R. Schmidt
Chicago, Illinois , United States
Website [Link]
Born 00, 1941 (80 years)
Last ModifedCOSDem
Aug 29, 2008 10:37am
InfoFor over two decades, John Schmidt’s leadership has had a profound effect on state and national policy. From fighting crime to protecting vulnerable residents to creating jobs, Schmidt has earned a national reputation for his ability to create and manage programs that have made a positive difference in people’s lives.

Appointed Associate Attorney General of the United States by President Clinton in 1994, Schmidt was charged with implementing the 1994 Crime Bill to fight violent crime across the nation. Also in that post, John:

Created the COPS program, placing thousands of new police officers on the beat throughout the country, including more than 300 Illinois communities.

Led the country’s first coordinated effort against domestic violence.

Enforced the federal clinic access law to protect the right of choice.

Managed the Civil Rights, Environmental and Antitrust divisions of the U.S. Justice Department, leading the implementation of the Motor Voter Law to make voter registration easier and initiating the first federal action against racial profiling.

From 1993 to 1994, Schmidt served at President Clinton’s request as Ambassador and Chief U.S. Negotiator for the historic Geneva world trade talks. There he brought together 118 countries in the farthest-reaching trade agreement ever, opening up new markets across the globe and creating thousands of new jobs in American agriculture, services, and production.

From 1989 to 1994, Schmidt served as Chairman of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, where he boosted Illinois’ tourism economy and created thousands of new jobs with the $1 billion expansion of McCormick Place and the $200 million redevelopment of Navy Pier.

Schmidt served as Mayor Richard M. Daley’s transition co-chair in 1989 and was Daley’s Chief of Staff for the first months of the new city administration, when departmental budgets were cut substantially and cellular phones, limousines and other unneeded perks for city bureaucrats were severely restricted. Schmidt also served as transition coordinator in 1980 when Daley was elected Cook County State’s Attorney, and was a member of the State Attorney’s Professional Advisory Committee for eight years.

Now a partner in the Chicago-based law firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt, Schmidt has been named by the American Lawyer as one of the 27 “All-Stars of the 90’s” of the American bar and by the National Law Journal as on one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America.

A long-time leader in Illinois legal and court reform efforts, he was a founding member of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, a reform bar association, and served as its President from 1974 to 1976. He also served as Co-Chair of Citizens for Court Reform, a coalition of law school deans, bar leaders and other lawyers advocating the adoption in Illinois of a merit appointive system for the selection of judges.

He was a principal architect of the 1979 revision of the Illinois mental health laws described by the Washington Post as “the most important mental health reform in the history of the United States.” He subsequently served from 1980 to 1982 as the first Chairman of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, a new agency providing advocacy services for disabled citizens.

Schmidt’s service to the Democratic Party includes serving as counsel for former Senator Adali Stevenson in recount proceedings before the Illinois Supreme Court following the 1982 Stevenson/Thompson gubernatorial election. He has served as a trustee of the Illinois Institute of Technology and a board member of the IIT-Chicago Kent Law School. In 1997, he served as visiting scholar at the Northwestern University Law School.

Schmidt ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Illinois in the March 1998 primary, receiving approximately 25% of the vote. He was endorsed in the Democratic primary by newspapers throughout the state, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Peoria Journal-Star, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Rock Island Argus, and Daily Southtown. One newspaper said Schmidt’s campaign “offered more new ideas than all the other candidates combined.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

Schmidt, 57, grew up in Evanston, where he attended public schools and graduated from Evanston Township High School. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Schmidt lives with his wife Janet and their daughter Laura on Chicago’s north side.



Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Aug 23, 2004 12:00am News John Who? [Profile of John R. Schmidt]  Article COSDem 

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