Meet this year’s IDW award recipients

Meet these outstanding women who were recognized for their contribution and support to the political process and supporting women in government. 

Illinois Democratic Women congratulates these outstanding leaders:

MaryTravisMary Travis, 2014 Eleanor Roosevelt Award

Community organizing has always been at the base of everything Mary does, starting way back in the 70s.

She served on various community boards and working on revitalization programs through Mayor Jane Byrne and the late Mayor Harold Washington and worked with the City of Chicago Department of Economic Development on the reopening of the former Gatley’s Department Store building at 112th and Michigan Avenue, which had been vacant. Its reopening brought new business to the area and created jobs and tax revenue for the community.

In 2008, Travis became an Obama Organizing Fellow in Indianapolis, IN and worked on President Obama’s first campaign.

Mary credits three women who have had the greatest impact on her life: her grandmother, a civic and social activist during the Civil Rights Era in Louisiana; her mother, who was involved in community outreach ministry work in public housing projects and with the homeless on the west side of Chicago; and Mrs. Bates from Roseland.

Shirley McCombs PicShirley McCombs, 2014 Hillary Clinton Award

Shirley has been an IDW member since the 1980s, acting as ad book editor through 2005.  She is now in her 8th term as State Central Committeewoman for the 18th Congressional District.

Shirley currently serves as secretary of the Democratic Party of Illinois and has done so since 1994. She served as secretary of each Democratic State Convention since 1994 and served as presidential elector on the Illinois electoral college in 1992, 1996, 2008 and 2012.

She has been a delegate to six Democratic National Conventions and attended both of President Clinton’s and President Obama’s inaugurations.

Shirley is a founding member Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership and
presently is serving her third term on the board of directors for the Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland.

Shirley’s accomplishments also include working for the federal government holding numerous positions including Office Manager, House of Representatives as Supervisor of the District Office allotment and Speakers Staff Fiscal Officer.

Naomi Jakobsson PicRepresentative Naomi Jakobsson, 2014 Emily Taft Douglas Award

Naomi Jakobsson was elected to the office of Illinois State Representative for the 103rd District in the fall of 2002. She has held a variety of community positions including serving as Champaign County Recorder for 12 years, Interim Director of A Woman’s Fund Domestic Violence Shelter and the Executive Director of the University YWCA.

Representative Jakobsson has been a champion of our environment as well as our most vulnerable populations. She is an unflinching advocate for maintaining our civil liberties and has worked vigorously to pass legislation combating racial profiling and bullying in schools. She sponsored legislation requiring comprehensive sex education and to limit the use of drone surveillance technology by law enforcement agencies. She co-sponsored the legislation that brought about the repeal of the death penalty and voted for the landmark bill that has created equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Naomi and her husband Eric have been married 50 years and are the proud parents of eight children and twelve grandchildren. They have been active in adoptive services and parent support groups through the adoption of six of their eight children.

Emily Spanger PicEmily Spangler, 2014 Young Democratic Woman Award

Emily is a progressive Democrat who cares deeply about supporting women’s health care issues and encouraging women to serve in public office.

She founded and serves as co-director of along with Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman where she promotes progressive ideas, electing Democratic women, and getting women involved in the political process.

Emily is a student at Sterling High School and is an aspiring legislator. She plans to attend college majoring in political science and economics with a minor in Spanish Language.



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