Posted by Al Anile

Left to right: Mike Dorf, Mayor Van Dusen and Judge Barbara Meyer

 
Co-authors Michael C. Dorf and Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen joined us as guest speakers to discuss and sign copies of their new book, Clear It With Sid: Sidney R. Rates and Fifty Years of Presidents, Pragmatism, and Public ServiceBoth men worked with Congressman Sid Yates earlier in their careers.  Mayor Van Dusen gave the club assembly an in-depth history of this master of post-World War II politics, Congressman Sid Yates.  
 
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.
  
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 currently the Mayor of Skokie, IL and has lived there with his wife, Susan, for 44 years.  The Mayor earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Detroit and both a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. from Loyola University.  He served as a Trustee in the Village of Skokie from 1984 until he was appointed Mayor in January 1999.  While a Trustee, he served as the Village’s delegate to the Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC) and, in 2007, served as NWMC President.  He is currently Chairman of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County and is a member of several government related boards.  Mayor Van Dusen was the Director of Suburban Operations for U.S. Congressman Sidney Yates from 1973 until the Congressman’s retirement in 1999.  He is an adjunct faculty member of Oakton Community College, teaching U.S. History and Government.  Van Dusen is the author of two books, Clear It with Sid! Sidney R. Yates and Fifty Years of Presidents, Pragmatism, and Public Service (2019) and The Detroit Tigers Encyclopedia (2002).