Edward M. Kresky, 88, NYC investment banker
Edward M. Kresky, an investment banker who was an architect of the debt refinancing plan that saved New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s, died on Jan. 23 at his home in New York. He was 88.
Mr. Kresky, a former aide to Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, was among the first appointments made in June 1975 to the newly formed Municipal Assistance Corp., a money-borrowing state authority cobbled together that spring by the Legislature and Gov. Hugh L. Carey to calm a spreading, and mostly justified, panic in the financial markets about the city's solvency.
The new corporation, which would soon be known as "Big Mac," was authorized to borrow billions of dollars to pay the city's short-term debts, keep services going and restructure the financial burden it had accumulated over decades. In hopes of quelling the panic, the state packed the board with financiers of the highest standing on Wall Street.
Cardiss Collins, 81, former Ill. congresswoman
Cardiss Collins, an Illinois Democrat who reluctantly filled her late husband's seat in Congress in 1973 and over the next quarter-century became one of the most prominent black women on Capitol Hill, died Feb. 3 at a hospital in Alexandria, Va. She was 81.
Ms. Collins was elected to Congress in a special election six months after her husband, Rep. George Collins, died when a commercial jetliner on which he was a passenger crashed near Chicago's Midway airport, killing more than 40 people. The widowed mother of a young son, she agreed to seek election only at the insistence of Richard Daley, the powerful mayor and Democratic kingmaker.
Once elected, Cardiss Collins learned the labyrinthine world of Capitol Hill and rose to serve as chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus and as her party's whip-at-large. Her legislative portfolio centered on women's and minority rights.
By the time she stepped down in 1997, she was the longest-serving black woman in Congress. For a number of years, she was the only black woman serving in the House.
Ms. Collins overcame her natural timidity to become a forceful political voice. She sparred with adversaries in both major parties.
Jaime Dominguez, a lecturer in political science at Northwestern University, said in an interview that one of Ms. Collins' signature achievements was "leveling the playing field for women and minorities."