Over the course of her lengthy career, this Republican Party politician served in both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate and also held the offices of Illinois Treasurer and Illinois Comptroller.
She earned a journalism degree from Northwestern University and subsequently worked as a reporter and editor for several Chicago-area publications.
Before entering politics herself, she worked as a political consultant.
She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois, as the daughter of eastern European immigrants. Before ending in divorce, her marriage to Joe Topinka produced a son named Joseph.
She lost the 2006 Illinois gubernatorial election to Rod Blagojevich.