Abner Mikva was one of the most treasured friends I’ve had in all my life. He was an indispensable mentor, a consistent role role model and a great guy to be around. It is somehow fitting, that a man so completely devoted to public service — a true American patriot — would take his last breath on the 4th of July. Ab is revered in the district I now represent, which first elected him to Congress in 1974. I was one of the countless volunteers that passed his flyers and knocked on doors. He inspired a whole generation to believe that politics is a noble calling. His grassroots election campaigns that engaged literally thousands of young people wearing his trademark Mikva! T-shirts are legendary. He was a brilliant stratagist, able to work across the aisle, but never compromising his core progressive beliefs. One of the few Americans to serve in all three branches of government as a Congressman, Federal Judge and White House Counsel, Abner was committed to advocating government that was the most helpful it could be to the most people possible. His legacy lives on in the Abner and Zoe (his beloved wife and partner) Mikva Challenge, a program that places high school student interns in both Republican and Democratic offices and campaigns. Thousands of young people for generations to come will experience hands on involvement in politics because of Ab and Zoe. In November of 2014, President Obama, someone Ab Mikva supported and promoted from the day he met him, awarded Ab with the Presidential Medal of Honor. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan came to an intimate celebration afterward and spoke fondly about the days she served as Abner’s law clerk. His 90th birthday party last February showcased Abner Mikva’s enduring wit, intelligence and humanity. He will be deeply, deeply missed by all those who knew, admired, and loved him. I am proud to be one of them. To Abner Mikva’s wife Zoe and family, to whom he was completely devoted, I send my gratitude and heartfelt condolences.
-Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, 9th District, 7/5/16