In late 1980 Eva Savala and her husband Alfred Savala met with Phil Hare, his wife Rebecca, Craig Wonderlich and his wife at the time, at Mr. Hare’s home where they sat around “a small wooden table that should be in a museum someplace.” Mrs. Savala says that it is where they decided to convince U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., to run for the 17th District of Ill. and so each couple put $20 on that table for his first contributions. At the time Evans was just thinking about running, but the $60 collected by his friends and their faith in him was enough to start a political career that many admire and respect.
“We just said that we had caucused and it was unanimous, and you are our candidate. He said ‘Just the six of you?,’ I said ‘that is all you need,’” Mrs. Savala said.
On Wednesday April 5 Lane Evans passed away after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“The veteran’s issues, he got minorities involved, the jobs, his representation, I mean he did everything he possibly could to bring what he could to this district,” says Eva about his contributions to the area.
He was empathetic to immigrant rights and the Latino Vote.
“The very first election he said that it was the Hispanic vote that turned the tide,” Eva said, “it was in the [news] paper.”
“He was a man of values, a man of commitment, and a man of dignity. And he respected everyone.” She admired him very much.
Rep. Cheri Bustos who now represents Evans old district said Evans “represented everything that is right about public service. He was a champion for our region in the halls of Congress and a strong advocate for veterans and working families across the country. Lane will be sorely missed by all who he touched, but his legacy of service will never be forgotten.”
The former congressman for the same district from 2010-2012 released this statement: “While we disagreed on many issues, Lane Evans fought hard for the people of Illinois and our community. His work for our veterans was nothing short of heroic. He will be missed by many.”
Evans was admired by many people and respected by many of his opponents, something rare in the politics of this day and age. Thank Heavens for Lane Evans.