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The son of a Lithuanian blacksmith, Sidney R. Yates rose to the pinnacle of Washington power and influence. As chair of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, Yates was a preeminent national figure involved in issues that ranged from the environment and Native American rights to Israel and support for the arts. Speaker Tip O'Neill relied on the savvy Chicagoan in the trenches and advised anyone with controversial legislation to first "clear it with Sid!" Michael C. Dorf and George Van Dusen draw on scores of interviews and unprecedented access to private papers to illuminate the life of an Illinois political icon. Wise, energetic, charismatic, petty, stubborn--Sid Yates presented a complicated character to constituents and colleagues alike. Yet his get-it-done approach to legislation allowed him to bridge partisan divides in the often-polarized House of Representatives. Following Yates from the campaign trail to the negotiating table to the House floor, Dorf and Van Dusen offer a rich portrait of a dealmaker extraordinaire and tireless patriot on a fifty-year journey through postwar American politics.
About the Author
Michael C. Dorf is a practicing lawyer and an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was Congressman Yates's Special Counsel in Washington and remained his lawyer and campaign chairman until the congressman's death. George Van Dusen is Mayor of Skokie, Illinois, and an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College. He oversaw Yates's Ninth District Operations for over twenty-five years.
"Dorf and Van Dusen make a convincing case for Yates’s national importance." --Journal of American History
Sid Yates and I represented neighboring Congressional districts during 19 of his 48 years in the House of Representatives. “Clear It With Sid!” captures the Sid Yates I knew, and provides facts and insights that I never expected. We were on opposite sides of the aisle and Dorf and Van Dusen demonstrate how Sid’s civility, bipartisanship, and legislative acumen enabled him to work with Republicans, pass legislation, and get things done. In particular, the authors’ description of the politics of the Appropriations Committee, on which we both served, is a must read for anyone interested in the way Congress really works. Former Representative John Porter (R. IL)
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