Early this morning, Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka (R), passed away due to complications from a stroke.
I've admired Topinka for a while for any number of reasons, including the fact that she was pro-choice and pro-gay rights, social conservatives be damned. It damn near cost her the Illinois GOP primary for Governor back in 2006
She also gave no fucks about calling people and policies out, even when the people or policies were part of her party or its platform. For example, when Republican pols in IL campaigned on not extending the IL income tax hike and letting it fall back to its original rate immediately, she basically gave an "Oh, honey, no..." response. She took her job of making sure Illinois paid its bills on time very seriously, and would not let anybody, Democrat or Republican, muck that up.
Topinka was also an animal lover and established the "Comptroller's Critters" program to help animals find homes. The program linked people interested in adopting animals to participating animal shelters so that they could find the right pet for them. It was a win-win-win — the animals found loving homes, people got to find great animal companions, and the state and local governments were able to cut spending on animal control as fewer animals were coming in.
Ultimately, Topinka was one of the few Republicans I've ever voted for. She was intelligent, damn good at her job, believed in a woman's right to choose and gay marriage rights, willing to reach across the aisle and call out those ideas and people who required it, and cared deeply for animals.
She was one of a kind and will be sorely missed.