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Bill Lipinski
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by John G. Fary
Succeeded by Dan Lipinski
Constituency 5th district (1983-1993)
3rd district (1993-2005)
Member of the Chicago City Council
In office
Preceded by Joseph Potempa
Succeeded by William F. Krystyniak
Constituency 23rd ward
Personal details
William Oliver Lipinski

(1937-12-22) December 22, 1937 (age 86)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse Rose Lipinski
Children 3, including Dan
Education Loras College

William Oliver Lipinski (born December 22, 1937) is an American politician and lobbyist who was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 2005, representing a district in Chicago.

Life and career

20040712 01 Bill Lipinski, Steve Schlickman, Barack Obama, Julie Hamos (8183521427)
Lipinski (far left) in 2004 with Steve Schlickman and Illinois State Senators Barack Obama and Julie Hamos

Pre-congressional career

He was born in Chicago, and was educated at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. Lipinski served in the United States Army Reserve from 1961 to 1967. He was given a patronage job as public administrator with the Chicago Park District of the city of Chicago.

In 1975, Mayor Richard J. Daley named him as the Democratic committeeman for Chicago's 23rd Ward, in the southwestern portion of the city. In the same year, Lipinski was elected to the Chicago City Council as the alderman for the 23rd Ward. Lipinski remained an alderman until he became a congressman in 1983.

Congressional career

In 1982, he challenged incumbent Democrat John G. Fary in the primary for Illinois's 5th congressional district, which included most of southwestern Chicago. He won largely by running up the totals in his city council district, and was handily elected in November.

Lipinski became the mentor of future City Clerk of Chicago, James Laski, who by 1988 had become chief-of-staff of the joint Democrat Service Office for the city's southwest side, and acted as a personal aide to Lipinski.

Lipinski played an important role in getting federal funding for the CTA Orange Line.

Lipinski was reelected four times from the 5th Congressional District with almost no difficulty. After the 1990 census, however, his district was merged with the 3rd district, represented by a longtime friend, Marty Russo. Lipinski defeated Russo in the 1992 Democratic primary, mainly by running up his margins in the Chicago portion of the district—which is virtually coextensive with the 23rd Ward. This all but assured him of a sixth term. He was reelected five more times from this district, facing serious opposition only once, in 1994.

While in the House, Lipinski served on the Transportation Committee; his district included Midway Airport and also had more railroad crossings than any other district.

Lipinski was conservative by national Democratic standards. ..... He was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition.

Lipinski endorsed Bill Bradley for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2000.

During the 2004 election cycle, Lipinski easily won the primary election, which practically assured him of a 12th term in Congress. On August 13, 2004, however, Lipinski withdrew his name from the November 2 general election ballot, announcing that he would retire at the end of his 11th term, which expired on January 3, 2005. As the 23rd Ward committeeman, he was able to persuade state Democratic party leaders to name his son, Dan Lipinski, a University of Tennessee professor, to replace him on the ballot. The younger Lipinski won all of his reelection bids up until 2020, when he lost his primary election in 2020 to Marie Newman.

Lobbying career

In 2007, after leaving the House of Representatives, Lipinski opened a one-man lobbying firm. In its first eight years, the firm was paid $4 million by clients with business before the House Transportation Committee: the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, BNSF Railway, and the Association of American Railroads. Lipinski was an influential member of the Transportation Committee, and his son served on the committee. This was described as concerning by Public Citizen; the younger Lipinski said that his father has not lobbied him and has pledged not to do so.

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