A Roosevelt Carries on Tradition `I Really Love Politics,' Says Anna Eleanor, Fdr's Granddaughter

Article excerpt

Even without knowing her last name, there is little doubt what famous family Anne Roosevelt was born into.

When she walks the halls of the Illinois state capitol as a lobbyist on behalf of nine Chicago museums, some folks don't even bother to ask.

"Many people figure I am related just by looking at me," said the 48-year-old granddaughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

She has the face and voice of her famous grandmother, the resemblance so striking that sculptors have used her as a model for likenesses of the former First Lady. They even have the same name - Anna Eleanor Roosevelt - but she uses Anne to avoid confusion with a neighbor and distant relative of Theodore Roosevelt.

Anne Roosevelt inherited her family's zest for politics, but because of her daughters, ages 16 and 19, she prefers to be a player, not a candidate.

"I really love politics," she said. "I will always be active as a private citizen."

She campaigned in 1986 for her brother James' unsuccessful congressional bid in Massachusetts and managed the 1990 re-election campaign for Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill.

Simon said, "It is a plus to have that kind of heritage, and she looks enough like Eleanor that adds to it.

"She has good people skills; she gets along with people well. She is sensitive. I had the opportunity to know her grandmother slightly, and I have to believe her grandmother would be very proud of her today."

She stood at President Bill Clinton's side April 12 in Warm Springs, Ga., at a service honoring the 50th anniversary of her grandfather's death. She recalled feeling a sense of loss at not having known him: She was born three years after he died.

"I love going there. People who remember him still live there. That's where he wanted to retire," she said.

The waters of Warm Springs were a balm for Franklin Roosevelt's legs, crippled by polio. He built a small cottage there and founded a rehabilitation center that still ministers to the disabled. To locals, he was just the guy next door.

"That's the way he wanted to end up living his life," she said.

Anne Roosevelt said she had to learn about her grandparents much as everyone else - through books and speeches.

"I think they were wonderful people," she said. …


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