In 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Congresswoman Lynn Morley Martin (R-Rockford) as U.S. Secretary of Labor to succeed Elizabeth Dole. She followed in the footsteps of Patricia Robert Harris of Mattoon and Chicago who was the first woman from Illinois to be appointed to the cabinet under President Jimmy Carter. Lynn Morley was born in Chicago on Dec. 26, 1939 and attended public schools there. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.A. degree in 1960.
After college, Lynn taught at public schools in Du Page County and moved to Rockford in 1964. There she was a high school teacher of government and English in District 205 until 1969. She later served on the school board from 1972 to 1976 when she was elected to the State House of Representatives.
In 1978 she was elected to the State Senate and then two years later in 1980 she ran for an won the Congressional seat vacated by former Rep. John Anderson. Anderson left Congress to make an unsuccessul bid for president both in the Republican primaries in the spring of 1980 and as an independent in the fall. Lynn began her service in Congress in January 1981 and served for the next ten years until January 1991. She served several terms as Congressional Vice President of the Illinois State Society of Washington, DC.
In 1984, Lynn helped Vice President George H.W. Bush prepare for his debate with Democratic Congresswoman and Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro by standing in for and playing the role of Ferarro in debate rehearsals. Lynn made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Paul Simon in 1990. There was some minor controversy in the campaign about the fact that Martin's TV commercials made fun of Simon's bow tie. Lynn had a wonderful and playful sense of humor but it sometimes would boomerang if voters thought she was being too sarcastic or condescending. The commercials were thought by some to be in bad form and did not serve her campaign well.
When she became Secretary of Labor in 1991, she was the 21st person to serve in that post since it was created in 1913 and the third woman to serve since Frances Perkins was appointed as the first woman to the post in 1933 by FDR. She concentrated while Secretary on studies of the position of women in the work force.
From 1993 to 2000, Lynn served with the Kellogg School of Management faculty at Northwestern University. She married a second time to a former colleague from the Illinois General Assembly, Federal Judge Harry Lienenwebber. Lynn Martin makes a variety of speeches each year on the topic of women and work place issues. She lives in Chicago and is represented by the Harry Walker Agency. She is currently chair of the Council on the Advancement of Women for Deloite Touche.