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Emil Jones
Emil Jones at UIC Feb23 2009 Cropped.jpg
February 2009
President of the Illinois Senate
In office
January 8, 2003 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by James Philip
Succeeded by John Cullerton
Member of the Illinois Senate
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Emil Jones III
Constituency 17th district (1983–1993)
14th district (1993–2009)
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 28th district
In office
January 8, 1973 – January 3, 1983
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1935-10-18) October 18, 1935 (age 88)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse Lorrie Jones
Education Harold Washington College
Roosevelt University (BA)

Emil Jones Jr. (born October 18, 1935) is an American politician who was the President of the Illinois Senate from 2003 to 2009. A Democrat, Jones served in the Illinois Senate from 1983 to 2009, where he served as President of the Illinois Senate from 2003 to the end of his term. Previously, he was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1973 until 1983.


Jones studied at Chicago's Tilden Technical High School, where he graduated in 1953. He went on to earn an Associate in Arts degree from the Loop Junior College (now Harold Washington College). Thereafter he attended Roosevelt University, where he majored in Business Administration.

In 2004, Roosevelt University awarded Jones a Doctorate of Humane Letters Honoris Causa Degree. Chicago State University awarded Jones an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Early political career

The son of a bailiff who was Chicago Democratic precinct captain, Jones began his political career working for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election.

Seven years later, he went to work as an alderman's assistant. His career included 30 years on the city payroll, 20 with the Sewer Department, where he retired as an inspector in 1993.

Legislative career

Jones began his elected career in 1973, when he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. He served in that capacity from 1973 to 1983. During that time he served as the Chairman of the Insurance Committee and was an Assistant Democratic Leader. In 1982 he was elected to the Illinois Senate. In addition to being the president of the Senate, he also serves as a member of the Executive Committee. He lost Democratic primary bids for a congressional seat in 1988 and 1995.

Jones had a big hand in Barack Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate win by introducing the then little-known liberal state senator to the right people and letting him handle some important legislation to help raise his political profile. In 2008, Jones at first refused to call the Senate into session to vote on ethics legislation that had passed the House, saying that the 15-day limit for the Senate to look at the legislation didn't come into effect until the Senate came back into session. After Obama urged Jones to change his mind, Jones released a statement saying he would call the Senate into session, saying in a statement: "I plan to call the Senate back into session to deal with the issue of ethics, only at the request of my friend Barack Obama. I still stand by our interpretation of the 15-day rule."

Jones is a member of the Forum of Senate Presidents' Board of Directors and the State Legislative Leaders Foundation's Board of Directors. As President of the Senate, he was able to block legislation, even if most senators wanted to a vote on it.

Political positions

During his time in the General Assembly, Jones had advocated for such issues as funding public education in Illinois. Jones was also instrumental in then-State Senator Barack Obama's United States Senate campaign.

Personal life

A long resident of Chicago, he is married to Dr. Lorrie Jones, a psychologist. He and his late wife Patricia had four children. He is a Catholic

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