This I Believe: The Power of Television

Mar 2, 2018

As a young kid, my father was out of the picture. My mother had two jobs in order to support three kids. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, and so I never played with the neighborhood kids. We didn’t have board games or video games, but luckily we had television. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers voted this week on a string of gun control measures amid renewed national concern about public safety. But Governor Bruce Rauner isn’t saying where he stands on most of the proposals.   

Rauner hasn’t taken questions from Statehouse reporters since last months’ school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

"This bill honors my family's hope and my father's legacy to protect future athletes and the future of football," says Tregg Duerson, Dave Duerson's son. 

Rachel Otwell, Daisy Contreras, Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois


Big changes to Illinois' gun laws don't happen often. But a growing movement across the country appears to be resonating in the state's General Assembly.


We should all live our lives with the same spirit as the family farmer. This I believe. There are many life lessons to be learned from our nation’s farmers. They are quick to offer help in times of need, are reliable and responsible, and are protective of all in their care, whether it be family, livestock, or the land. I believe my grandfather was the perfect practitioner of these values through his lifetime. 

Democratic candidates for Attorney General. From left to right: Sharon Fairley, state Rep. Scott Drury, state Sen. Kwame Raoul, Aaron Goldstein, Renato Mariotti, former Gov. Pat Quinn, Nancy Rotering and Jessie Ruiz.
Courtesy of Candidates' Campaigns

How would contenders for the state's top legal office have handled the budget stalemate?

Sue Scherer/Facebook

A recent report has shown Illinois is in the midst of a severe teacher shortage, particularly in the central part of the state. A panel of lawmakers took testimony on that topic today.

In the first of a series of such hearings, a committee heard from the agency responsible for licensing teachers, and from various teacher unions. But several lawmakers on the panel are former school teachers, and Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) wasn't shy about sharing her personal opinion on why the ranks of teachers is dwindling.

Archbishop Blaise Cupich at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS/NPR Illinois

Chicago Cardinal Blaise Cupich traveled to Springfield today to voice his support of stricter gun laws. But he also addressed Illinois' new school funding reform, and its tax credit program for private school scholarship donors.  

Rachel Otwell

Hundreds of people descended on the statehouse Wednesday to urge legislators pass stricter gun regulations. Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense has chapters across the country; it was founded in 2012 as a response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan tried to set the record straight on how his office handles sexual harassment claims. The Speaker issued a one-page press release on Tuesday with brief summaries of complaints involving staffers working in his state office. 

This I Believe: Truth Will Set Me Free

Feb 28, 2018

I believe in embracing the truth. Living with my head in the sand and pretending that everything is normal is just not an option. See, I didn’t have what most people would call an orthodox upbringing; I’ve lived with my grandparents ever since I was very little, ever since my mother choose to give up custody of my sister and me because she couldn't provide for us. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Several gun-related proposals passed an Illinois House hearing Tuesday. 

Lou Fine for Fox Feature Syndicate /

Google searches for the term "toxic masculinity" reached their peak following the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida earlier in February, according to the search engine's analytics.

Social scientists and psychologists use the concept to explain why men are more prone to violence, for instance. But there are also real-world, negative consequences for men who might feel pressured to maintain the social status quo when it comes to presenting their gender identity.

Dusty Rhodes

The Illinois State Board of Education is supposed to spend more government dollars on the neediest schools, according to a new funding plan. Today, lawmakers pushed back against the agency’s proposed price tag.


The new plan is called "evidence-based funding," because it measures what each district needs against local resources. Using that math, state superintendent Tony Smith presented a budget request for $15 billion — about double what schools got last year.


The past is something that will always be there to push me forward. In my youth, my family struggled over many obstacles. My father was an alcoholic and got pulled over one too many times and was sent to prison.

Illinois House floor
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Following the Florida high school shooting that left 17 dead, Democrats in the Illinois House plan to take up a package of gun safety measures this week.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new panel will look at how to curb sexual harassment and abuse of campaign workers. It follows scrutiny of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

This I Believe: Sometimes You Gotta Lose the Shoe

Feb 26, 2018

I believe in losing the shoe. I learned the value of this basic principle during a moment when a shoe seemed to be of critical importance.

Five of the six Democrats running for governor met in Springfield for a debate. House Speaker Michael Madigan was once again a hot topic, as the speaker had earlier in the week cut ties with a second aide over allegations of harassment.

Meanwhile, Republicans were distancing themselves from their own problem candidate — one who'd used racial and anti-gay language in a conversation with Republican attorney general candidate Erika Harold.

Tom Woodward / Flickr- CC BY-SA 2.0

Several Illinois lawmakers want added regulations on car title loans. They say some lenders charge interest rates in the triple digits, putting borrowers at risk of losing their cars. 

This I Believe: The Cathartic Power of Crying

Feb 23, 2018

I am a cry baby and I am unashamed. Despite the stigma that those who cry a lot are weak or emotionally unstable, I am neither of those things. If anything, I feel all the stronger because I completely accept the fact that sometimes my eyeballs are just gonna have to look like leaky faucets.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

An Illinois labor union is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner over an Illinois law. The case — filed Thursday afternoon in federal court — expects bad news for labor in the (potential) landmark Janus v. AFSCME case before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Since 2016, Marc Nelson has used his artwork to draw attention to the people, often children, affected by the Syrian civil war. He's connected his students with children there through artwork and messages sent via social media, namely Twitter.

This weekend, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra presents "Rock Me Amadeus" - Mozart's First Symphony, written at eight years old, and his brilliant Forty-First and final Symphony, plus Tchaikovsky's Neo-Classical Rococo Variations, reflecting his love of Mozart.  The concert, Friday evening at Springfield's First Presbyterian Church, features the ISO's Principal Cellist Ruth Marshall.  Ruth joined the Illinois Symphony Orchestra's Music Director & Conductor Ken Lam and UIS' (and the ISO's) Yona Stamatis for a preview of the concert.

McConchie in office
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

A panel of state senators today heard budget requests from agencies representing colleges and universities, and lawmakers took the opportunity to ask why neighboring states are able to lure so many Illinois students away.


The answer is pretty simple: Other Big 10 schools offer financial considerations that Illinois' flagship campus can't match.

via Creative Commons /

Early voting in this year’s primary election came a little late in some parts of Illinois. But officials say the polls are now officially open statewide.

This I Believe: Where is Home?

Feb 22, 2018

I believe that being “homeless” is a choice. Yes, that is honestly what I believe but let me explain. 

Jason Karsh / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

In 2010, lawmakers changed the rules for how the state picks its second-in-command. No longer would voters separately nominate candidates for lieutenant governor and governor in the primary, and hope for a successful match.

Democratic candidates for governor
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Five of the Democrats running for Illinois governor met at a debate Wednesday night in Springfield. Among the prime topics was House Speaker Michael Madigan’s handing of harassment in his political organization.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

Another state lawmaker is targeting weapons like the AR-15,  a  popular semiautomatic rifle used in the recent Florida school shooting.  Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, filed a bill that would ban "assault weapons."