Statehouse

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

In the traditional Christian calendar, March 19 is the feast day of St. Joseph, the patron saint of workers. Thus, perhaps one should have expected that organized labor and party machinery would play key roles in last month’s primary election.

Indeed, the results of the March 19 voting demonstrated that old- fashioned politicking can still trump media-based campaigns, even in the 21st century.

Consider, for example, the high- profile races for party nominations for governor.

Daniel Parrilli created his own little business. He even created the customers.

Parrilli applied for credit cards in fictitious names. Then he set up a sham company and secured a credit card terminal. He processed transactions through the terminal using the bogus cards and deposited the sales credits into bank accounts set up with the aliases. For a while, he paid minimum balances on the cards to keep them in good standing.

In the 36th Ward’s storefront office, just down the street from the Turner Bowl on Chicago’s Northwest Side, prosecutor Dennis Michael McGuire waited patiently on a Friday afternoon in November as candidates for the 5th Congressional District and other elected posts paraded before seven Democratic committeemen. McGuire wants to be a judge, and judicial candidates are last to be considered by the committeemen, last on the ballot and last to capture the attention of the media.

Phyllis Hopwood sent all six of her children to Steward Elementary School. She has taught her neighbors’ children in the tiny schoolhouse for almost three decades. So it is difficult for her to watch what is happening to Steward.

Aaron Chambers
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The signs along the northbound lanes of I-55 near Bloomington look familiar. The series of five Burma Shave-style placards, planted just off the shoulder, resemble others put along roads throughout the state by Gunssavelife.com.

That’s no accident. Justice Robert Steigmann is a member of the Champaign County Rifle Association, the Web organization’s affiliated group, and he’s proud its members helped construct the signs to promote his race for the Illinois Supreme Court.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

In proposing a $52.8 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, Gov. George Ryan issued a warning to the Illinois General Assembly: Go beyond my bottom line, and I’ll veto the entire budget.

Jeff Schoenberg is in the catbird seat. 

His new Senate district just to the north of Chicago is largely Democratic, and home to thousands of Jews. Schoenberg is a Democrat; he’s also Jewish. And he does especially well with these constituencies. 

Next month, voters in two Saline County townships will discover just how much the state’s political landscape has changed. After decades of choosing among familiar home-grown pols, Democrat Glenn Poshard, say, or Democrat David Phelps, these southern Illinoisans are about to get to know Tim Johnson, a Republican from faraway Urbana who wants to represent them in the nation’s capital.

Voters in the central Illinois city of Decatur will see new names on the ballot for U.S. House, too. As will voters in Chicago’s Hispanic neighborhoods. 

plane
Diana L.C. Nelson

When American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Queens, N.Y., the reaction from many Americans spoke volumes about the health of the U.S. airlines industry. As the grim news filtered into homes and offices, there were sighs of relief the tragedy that claimed 265 lives was “just an accident” — and not the work of terrorists.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The 2002 primary season should be in full swing when this magazine reaches your mailbox.

By late last month, in the days before we sent our February edition to the printer, two of the Republicans who want to be governor had displaced the hard-hit auto industry’s zero percent financing pitches with televised ads of their own — counter-punching one another’s positions on abortion. And cheerful, but no-nonsense phone bank volunteers were interrupting dinners to ask whether the name of one of the Democrats who wants to be governor rings a bell.

Aaron Chambers
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Stanley Weaver has seen plenty over the course of a long political career.

When this Republican arrived in the General Assembly in 1969, some 400,000 young people were preparing to join Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin at a three-day concert on a farm in upstate New York. And Neil Armstrong was training to land on the moon. 

Wayne Bridgewater may not have been tactful, but he certainly was to the point. As chairman of the panel redistricting Madison County, he announced — promised actually — that he would jam his plan, well, where the Republicans wouldn’t like it. This, as though the Democrats’ 24-5 majority wasn’t already enough.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” 

Benjamin Franklin, 1789

Were Old Ben around today, he might be tempted to amend his well-known maxim to add a third category: a sure General Assembly seat for whoever wins the primary in most of the state’s new legislative districts.

Hot Property: The Democrats

Jan 1, 2002
Mansion
Mike Cramer

There are seven major bids on the 
Executive Mansion this election season
This month, Illinois Issues provides information
on the race for governor.

In the rest of this issue, we examine the primary races for attorney general and the U.S. Senate. (This issue went to press before the December 24th deadline to challenge candidates’ petitions.)

Next month, we’ll look at the primary campaigns for the legislature and Congress.

 

The Democrats

Hot Property: The Republicans

Jan 1, 2002
Mansion
Mike Cramer

There are seven major bids on the 
Executive Mansion this election season
This month, Illinois Issues provides information
on the race for governor.

In the rest of this issue, we examine the primary races for attorney general and the U.S. Senate. (This issue went to press before the December 24th deadline to challenge candidates’ petitions.)

Next month, we’ll look at the primary campaigns for the legislature and Congress.

 

The Republicans

In 1967, John Schmidt graduated from law school into a nation rocked by the civil rights movement and increasingly divided by a war, two issues which would soon occupy a good deal of the newly minted attorney’s energy. 

Lisa Madigan, too, would earn her law degree and wade into the big social and political issues of her time, but not for a while. For her, 1967 was the year she turned 1.

Mike Cramer

Republican leaders couldn’t lure Jim Edgar, the popular former governor, into a run for the U.S. Senate. Their clumsy efforts to muscle Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood into the contest were rebuffed because she was determined to go for governor. And their attempts to court the earnest Jack Ryan, a trader turned high school teacher who is rich enough to bankroll a bid, failed when the political novice decided not to make the race.

As a result, Illinois Republicans are staring at an uphill battle against incumbent Richard Durbin, the Springfield Democrat who is seeking a second term.

Ed Wojcicki
WUIS/Illinois Issues

A routine process becomes more significant when repeated 185 times. That’s how often Illinois Issues has received requests to reprint articles since 1992, the year I became publisher. An average of 18 such requests a year tells me the magazine is consistently useful. 

Now, as I leave the magazine, I can think of no greater compliment: What we publish makes a difference to an engaged community of readers. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Five years ago we started dreaming about producing an electronic edition of this magazine. 

It seemed a long way from possible at the time. Like most everyone in the communications business, we were just beginning to navigate the Internet, and just beginning to construct a basic Web site. We had a lot to learn, a lot to accomplish. And there was no chance for additional dollars or staff to make it happen.

How far we’ve come. 

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Christmas came early last month for some of Illinois’ public servants, with mixed results.

Two high-profile officials making career changes received handsome going away presents to help smooth their transitions. The beneficiaries of the holiday good will were outgoing state Schools Superintendent Glenn “Max” McGee and retiring state Rep. Andrea Moore, a Libertyville Republican. 

McGee was given a six-month, $125,000 consulting contract by the State Board of Education, the same folks who pushed him out the door last summer. 

Springfield, IL
Diana L.C. Nelson

The steel skeleton rising at the northeast edge of downtown is motivating Springfield leaders to think about how they want to present their city to visitors who come to see Abraham Lincoln’s hometown and the seat of Illinois government.

Imagine Illinois
WUIS/Illinois Issues

It’s not an easy beauty. Rather, it resides in nuance, in the steady cycle of the seasons, the certain chronology of renewal, the sure relationship of people with the land. The beauty of the Midwest, Larry Kanfer believes, must be experienced across time. But his challenge, over the past two decades and more, has been to convert these subtleties into two dimensions, to convey through photographic composition emotions embedded in the landscape. “Here is beauty as small as this dirt clod.

Telephone poles, train tracks and thick clumps of trees are the first signs that Old Route 66 is about to wind north into Lincoln. Once the highway crosses Salt Creek, clusters of roadside signs break the view. They announce that this central Illinois town of 15,400 is home to several high school athletic champions, the Lions and Kiwanis clubs and a host of churches. Others proclaim that, in state economic development lingo, Lincoln is not merely an Illinois Certified City, but a Main Street Community and an enterprise zone.

Studs Terkel is on the other side of the tape recorder. “I always check that, check it as you do it, ’cause I’ve goofed up a lot myself with a tape recorder,” he says at the start of an interview in his Chicago home. “I always worry about that. You want to check that? I have a hunch, you know.”

The 89-year-old Terkel is a self-described Luddite, someone who rejects technological change. He doesn’t drive a car and, for that matter, has no license to drive. He prefers a typewriter to a computer. And, as he confesses, he sometimes has trouble operating basic recording equipment.

Ed Wojcicki
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Phillip Paludan says he can tell when public officials don’t respect citizens. We can tell what others think of us, he says, by the way they talk to us. Too many officials talk down to us, which suggests they don't respect our ability to think. Paludan's perspective is especially intriguing because he's among the top Lincoln scholars in the United States. He believes one mark of Lincoln¸s greatness was his insistence on taking the high road in his speeches. 

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

With the filing date for next year’s elections just a few weeks away, perhaps it’s no surprise that political operatives already have begun sniping at potential rivals, gearing up for the really serious badmouthing next year.

In that vein, some Republican spear carriers have been disparaging one possible Democratic statewide lineup as the “All My Children” ticket, drawing on the popular ABC soap opera.

When John Beetz’s great-great-grandfather came to America from Germany in the mid-1800s, he worked as a longshoreman in New York. Then he turned to farming the fertile soil in north central Illinois.

Succeeding generations built on their ancestor’s legacy. And today, Beetz and other members of his extended family farm 8,000 acres near Mendota in LaSalle County. In fact, they operate one of the largest farms in the state. Yet they remain dependent on federal farm subsidies.

MVP’s Sports Bar & Grill is one of those places crouched in the shadow of every factory in America: shiny veneer walls on linoleum floors; neon beer signs in more variety than available brands; a low white ceiling that goes gray with haze after shift changes because just about everybody here smokes. The nondescript metal exterior that wraps it all together says the exterior isn’t the point. Norman Rockwell had his barber shops. Towns like Decatur have this. 

Chicago’s public school kids should begin feeling better about themselves soon — if all goes according to plan. Thanks to a $2.2 million grant from this state’s tobacco settlement fund, Chicago plans by next spring to expand an existing holistic health program into all 491 of its public elementary schools.

Ed Wojcicki
WUIS/Illinois Issues

When Jim Edgar was governor, he had the opportunity to praise two people at one function. One was a mentor, Samuel K. Gove; the other was Al Grosboll, a member of his Cabinet. It was a snapshot of the way in which public servants nurture future leaders. 

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