Central Illinois has a rich legacy of producing principled public servants who have risen to national prominence and have a profound impact on our country and our world.
All of these national leaders with strong ties to the Poeria area share similar values. They treated colleagues from both political parties with mutual respect, they were known for their integrity, and they placed the best interests of our country above partisan politics. For centuries, principled leadership has played will in the Peoria area. The Institute believes that this legacy of leadership can play well nationally and serve as the model for future generations.
Lincoln served the Peoria area in Congress and then went on to end the scourge of slavery, thus becoming our most revered President.
(Eureka College) Through President Ronald Regan's stalwart leadership the Cold War ended without a shot being fired.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas
(Havana, Ill.) Lucas was a strong advocate for farmers, raising the minimum wage, and was instrumental in the re-election of President Harry Truman in 1948.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen
(Pekin, Ill.) Dirksen played the pivotal rol in securing the support of 25 of 33 Republican Senators to pass the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. In Dirken's impassioned speech he stated: "I trust that the time will never come in my political career when the waters of partisanship will flow so deep as to obscure my estimate of the national interest."
U.S. House Republican Leader Bob Michel
(Bradley alumnus) Michel used his masterful legislative skills to shepherd President Regan's tax reduction programs and strong defense policies through Congress.
Congressman and Secretary Ray LaHood
(Bradley alumnus) LaHood lead congressional efforts at promoting civility and because of his fair-handed demeanor chaired the House of Representatives during proceedings on contentious issues. President Barack Obama appointed him the 16th U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Secretary LaHood is the first Bradley alumnus to hold a Cabinet position.