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President Barack Obama says Judy Baar Topinka was "an institution in Illinois politics."

The president issued a statement Wednesday afternoon about the passing of the Republican Illinois comptroller. Topinka died early Wednesday after suffering a stroke. She was involved in Illinois politics for more than 30 years.

Obama says he got to see Topinka's fierce advocacy for her constituents when she was state treasurer. He was a member of the Illinois General Assembly.

Obama also says Topinka was "blunt, pragmatic, unfailingly cheerful and energetic." He also says she was "always willing to put politics aside to find commonsense solutions that made a difference for the people of Illinois."

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