Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Day Dawns

Preparations continue early Wednesday for President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural reviewing stand on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington.


Former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris, who was just named by Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat, talks on the phone outside Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago.

Monday, December 29, 2008

State Rep. Wyvetter Younge dies at 78

EAST ST. LOUIS — Wyvetter H. Younge, one of the longest-serving current members of the Illinois House, has died. She was 78.
Younge was taken to a hospital with a bleeding artery on Dec. 9. She died Friday night from complications that arose during surgery, said her daughter, Margaret Hewitt.
Younge, a mother of five, represented East St. Louis as a Democrat since 1975. Hewitt, who is now 43, was nine years old when Younge was first elected.
Hewitt remembers that her mother drove 90 minutes each way to Springfield every day so she could see her children in the mornings and evenings.
In March, Younge made news when she said she’d pray for a man with a gun who forced his way into her home and made off with $7.
Funeral arrangements are pending.

Meeting the President-Elect

President-elect Barack Obama greets onlookers after working out at the Semper Fit Center at Marine Corp Base Hawaii in Kailua, Hawaii. Obama is spending the holidays in Hawaii with his family.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lincoln's Inaugural Bible

Curator Clark Evans displays the burgundy velvet, gilt-edged Lincoln Inaugural Bible at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. President-elect Barack Obama will take his oath of office on the Bible Jan. 20, becoming the first president to use it since Abraham Lincoln at his swearing-in on March 4, 1861.

Monday, December 22, 2008

As Illinois Turns

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is known for savoring the public spotlight, but his alleged criminal problems have sent him to the shadows. Instead, state lawmakers jumped out front last week in unprecedented impeachment hearings, creating a political soap opera that far exceeds the often mundane legislative process. Here is a look at the players, storylines and process involved so far and what’s coming next.

Full Article....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Young listeners

President-elect Barack Obama and his newly-nominated secretary of education, Chicago Public Schools chief Arne Duncan, chat with students at Dodge Renaissance Academy in Chicago after the news conference announcing Duncan's selection.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Casting his vote

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan fills out his ballot during the Illinois' Electoral College session on the Senate floor at the State Capitol in Springfield Monday. Presidential electors are gathering in state capitals across the country to cast the votes that will formally elect Barack Obama as president. It's a mostly ceremonial procedure, but one mandated by the Constitution.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blagojevich's problems may present GOP with statewide opportunities

SPRINGFIELD - Even before Tuesday's arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges, the ripples of promise had begun flowing ashore for beleaguered Illinois Republicans.
Although the washed-out GOP has weathered two rough election cycles since the demise of former party standard bearer Gov. George Ryan, political gridlock in a state controlled by Democrats was shaping up as a major campaign theme for 2010.Blagojevich's blockbuster problems transformed those ripples into a tidal wave.
"The Republicans have now an opportunity to win a statewide office that they didn't have before," said John Jackson, a political scientist with the Paul Simon Public Policy Center at Southern Illinois University.
In 2010, all of the state's top offices now held by Democrats are up for grabs. So, too, is the U.S. Senate seat once held by President-elect Barack Obama, no matter who holds it in the interim.Names of potential candidates have been circulating for months.
On the Democratic side, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias have acknowledged they are considering a gubernatorial run.
State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Mo­;line, has floated his name as a potential statewide candidate.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Illinois Attorney General asks Court to act on Governor

CNN) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Friday asked her state's highest court to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office temporarily.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Gov. Rod Blagojevich needs to step down.
Moments after Madigan's announcement, news broke that Blagojevich's chief of staff, John Harris, had resigned, a spokesman for the governor said.

Blagojevich, 52, and Harris, 46, were arrested this week on federal corruption charges relating in part to the selection of a successor to President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat.
The governor's attorney has said Blagojevich did nothing wrong.

Madigan's office also asked the Illinois Supreme Court to strip Blagojevich of duties, including appointing Obama's Senate replacement.

"I recognize that this is an extraordinary request, but these are extraordinary circumstances," Madigan said Friday in Chicago.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obama: Staff not involved in Senate seat deals

CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich kissed his wife, rode in his state SUV to the office and sat down at his desk Thursday behind a bust of Lincoln and an American flag to portray "a return to normalcy." It was anything but.

An extraordinary drama built through the day in Chicago as the political establishment of Illinois and the nation lined up against him.

While the governor was working — his spokesman would not say on exactly what — President-elect Barack Obama told a news conference just a couple of blocks away that Blagojevich should go. Obama said he was "appalled and disappointed" over allegations that Blagojevich tried to sell his vacant U.S. Senate seat and insisted there was no involvement by himself or his staff.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Republic sit-in continues

Gov. Rod Blagojevich talks with reporters Monday outside the now-shuttered Republic Windows & Doors plant at 1333 N. Hickory Ave. on Goose Island in Chicago. Workers—angry that Bank of America won't extend credit to keep the plant afloat—have staged a sit-in at the facility. Blagojevich also responded to the Tribune's report that he has been recorded by federal investigators, saying people should "feel free" to tape him because everything he says is lawful.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winfrey: I'm not seeking job with Obama

Television star dismisses rumors she wants role in next administration

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Although Oprah Winfrey worked hard on Barack Obama's presidential election campaign, she never considered going to work for the president-elect's administration, the talk-show host said Friday.

"I have a few full-time jobs already and a few full-time commitments, you know — contractual commitments that say I have to be where I am," Winfrey told AP Television. "So, it never ever occurred to me, not even occurred to me."

Winfrey said she would stay put, even if the president-elect came calling.

Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

President-elect: ‘Both he and I share a reverence for those who serve’

WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama has selected retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary, telling NBC News in an exclusive interview that "he and I share a reverence for those who serve."
Obama will announce the selection of Shinseki, the first Army four-star general of Japanese-American ancestry, at a news conference Sunday in Chicago. He will be the first Asian-American to hold the post of Veterans Affairs secretary, adding to the growing diversity of Obama’s Cabinet.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Newest Nominee

President-elect Barack Obama introduced the New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his nominee for secretary of commerce in the Chicago Hilton.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Caucus and Election

Sunday, December 14th, 2008 * Last day the township clerk shall notify the chairman or membership of each township central committee by first-class mail of the chairman’s or membership’s obligation to report the time and location of the political party’s caucus.

Monday, December 15th, 2008 Last day the multi-township clerk shall notify the chairman or membership of each multi-township central committee by first class mail of the chairman’s or membership’s obligation to report the time and location of the political party’s caucus.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 Last day each chairman of the township central committee shall notify the township clerk by first-class mail of the time and location of their political party’s caucus

Friday, December 26, 2008 Last day each chairman of the multi-township central committee shall notify the multi-township clerk by first-class mail of the time and location of their party’s caucus.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 Established political party township caucus.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 Established political party multi-township caucus.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 Consolidated Election

To be Elected -

Township Clerk
Highway Commissioner
4- Township Trustees

Link to State of Illinois Caucus Guide 2009 -

Sunday, November 30, 2008

State Capitol Q&A for new Senate leaders

Posted Nov 25, 2008 @ 11:40 PM

New leaders on the Democratic and Republican sides in the Illinois Senate will start work early next year. Democrats last week chose Chicagoan John Cullerton, 60, as the next Senate president, while Republicans chose Christine Radogno, 55, of Lemont as the new Senate GOP leader. Cullerton and Radogno spoke briefly with reporters about their new responsibilities.

JOHN CULLERTON - Cullerton will succeed Emil Jones, who is retiring from the Senate. Cullerton has been in the Senate since 1991 and previously served in the House from 1979 to 1991.

Q: What will you bring to the leadership position that is different?

A: “It’s obvious that there is a rift between the speaker (House Speaker Michael Madigan) and the governor (Gov. Rod Blagojevich), maybe even the president of the Senate and the speaker, and that’s caused us to have some dysfunction.“I know I have a good relationship with both of those gentlemen, and I’m starting afresh, so I don’t inherit all of the baggage that’s built up over the last few years.” “My 10 years in the minority (party) taught me the importance of working with the minority.”

Q: How will you, as a Chicagoan, balance the interests of other parts of the state?

A: “This job is different than representing my district. I’ve been elected for 30 years, voting my district and well enough to get elected. But this is a different job. I represent the whole caucus.”“I also recognize that I represent the Republican districts as well. I’m the president of the whole Senate, not just the Democratic side. That’s the spirit with which I want to go forward.”

Q: If the governor continues to act in ways that lawmakers find to be inappropriate, does he risk becoming irrelevant? Will lawmakers override his vetoes more often?

A: “No, you can’t do that. You can’t do that. You can’t just roll over the governor. He’s the governor. He still has the powers that can thwart your efforts. It’s true you can pass legislation. When it comes to money, though, you have to get the governor’s cooperation, and that’s what we’re talking about doing. We’re not talking about ultimatums here and trying to stick it to him. It just makes more sense to try to work with him.”

CHRISTINE RADOGNO - Radogno will succeed Frank Watson of Greenville, who is relinquishing the leadership position after suffering a stroke this fall. She has been in the Senate since 1997.

Q: What do you bring to the leadership position that is different?

A: Everybody has their own personality, their own style. I mean, I generally am not someone that loves an open, aggressive fight. I have a different style of trying to convince people and get them on my side.”

Q: How will you, as a suburban resident, balance the interests of other parts of the state?

A: “I have had the benefit of running statewide (for state treasurer in 2006). I’ve been in the caucus for quite awhile. There has been a heavy representation of downstaters, so I feel like I have a really good handle on that. I also have committed to the caucus members in the counties downstate that I will be available. I mean, I’m willing to travel and get around the state and make sure that I am adequately understanding people’s individual districts.”

Q: You’re the first woman to be elected as one of the four legislative leaders in the Illinois General Assembly. How big a deal is gender, in terms of how you will approach the position?

A: “I think gender is an interesting sidebar, and it’s kind of fun to be the first woman. But I think that it really is much more pertinent that, you know, my background and the skills I bring as an individual, not necessarily (being) a woman.”

Q: What do you hope to accomplish?

A: “We need to get together to solve the problems of the state, but as we’re trying to get together, I mean, we will present an opposing point of view. But it’s not going to be petty. It’s not going to be personal. It’s going to be policy-oriented.”

Obama turns to friends and foes for top posts

In this file photo of Nov. 13, 2008, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on health care coverage issues. According to a Democratic official, Napolitano will be named as his Secretary of Homeland Security. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama plans on Monday to announce six experienced hands to fill top administration posts, moving at record speed to name the leadership team that will guide his presidency through a time of war and recession.His selections include longtime advisers and political foes alike, most notably Democratic primary rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state and President Bush's defense secretary, Robert Gates, staying in his current post. The two were among six who Obama planned to announce at a news conference in Chicago, Democratic officials said.The officials said Obama also planned to name Washington lawyer Eric Holder as attorney general and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary. He also planned to announce two senior foreign policy positions outside the Cabinet: campaign foreign policy adviser Susan Rice as U.N. ambassador and retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones as national security adviser.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Candidates line up to replace Rep. Emanuel

Special election looms as Ill. congressman becomes Obama's chief of staff

CHICAGO - Clout-heavy Chicago politicians are lining up to replace U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, prompting some experts to wonder if the local Democratic party will split on whom to anoint as his successor.
The strength of the contenders may make it tough for Democrats to unite behind one candidate for the congressional seat. Also in question is whether Mayor Richard Daley will name a favorite.
Emanuel, 48, has accepted the job as chief of staff to President-elect Barack Obama and is expected to step down soon, leaving two years on his second term with more than 180 days before the next election. Under Illinois law, that means a special election will be held to replace him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Economic team unveiled

President-elect Barack Obama (right), with Vice President-elect Joe Biden in attendance, introduces members of his economic team during a news conference Monday in Chicago: Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner (left); Council of Economic Advisers Chair-designate Christina Romer; National Economic Council Director-designate Lawrence Summers; and Domestic Policy Council Direct-designate Melody Barnes.

Analysis: New Senate president gives cause for optimism

John Cullerton

Illinois lawmakers don’t hear much good news these days. The budget is falling apart. Schools are struggling. Top leaders are feuding.

So the selection of John Cullerton as the next Senate president has thrilled legislators hungry for any sign that things will get better. That optimism also means Cullerton faces high expectations — perhaps unrealistically high.

People are throwing around words like “harmony” and “era of change” when talking about Cullerton leading the Senate and negotiating with the cantankerous House speaker and governor.

Certainly, it will be a major change for Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gov. talks to possible Obama replacements

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is talking with some of the candidates to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate, but he's giving few hints about his plans for filling the vacancy.
The Democratic governor spoke this week with U.S. Reps. Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez and Janice Schakowsky, officials said Thursday.
Davis said they had a pleasant but very general conversation. The two did not discuss policy details or how Blagojevich will make a decision.
Schakowsky gave a similar assessment but added that Blagojevich indicated he probably would not choose Obama's replacement until mid-December at the earliest.
Blagojevich has also discussed the job with state Senate President Emil Jones, who was one of Obama's political mentors.
The governor, who has sole power to appoint Obama's replacement, has not spoken to some other often-mentioned candidates - notably U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Tammy Duckworth, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ill. Senate Democrats pick Cullerton as new leader

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - There's a shakeup at the statehouse, with lawmakers resolving leadership battles on both sides of the aisle.
Illinois Senate Democrats tonight picked Chicagoan John Cullerton to become their leader, putting him in line to become Senate president in January.
And Senate Republicans resolved a leadership battle of their own. They elected Christine Radogno of Lemont, making her the first woman to win 1 of the Legislature's top leadership posts.
Cullerton and Radogno will start their new jobs in January when a new General Assembly is sworn in.
It will be the first major changes in the Springfield cast of characters since 2003, when 3 of the four legislative leaders entered their current positions.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Edgar, Daley pushing new educational initiative

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican, and ex-U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley, a Democrat, are spearheading a new effort to make Illinois' public school system better.
They're co-chairing Advance Illinois, which bills itself as a "statewide and independent nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that our state's public schools prepare every child to compete in the global economy."
The state's educational system has various problems, according to a report that Advance Illinois is releasing today at a morning news conference in Chicago and an afternoon news conference in Springfield. For example, the report says, Illinois student performance on national tests is "mediocre at best," too many students don't finish high school, and the ones who do finish often aren't prepared for post-secondary education or the workforce.
The report offers no specific solutions. Advance Illinois plans to conduct research and listen to the ideas of parents, educators and other people as it crafts strategies. It will host a series of "community conversations" to solicit input.
The organization has set up a Web site at

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Flider calls on Senate to pass his measure forcing Governor to make prompt State Payments

State Rep. Bob Flider (D-Mount Zion) is calling on the Senate to approve a measure that he passed out of the House last April requiring Illinois to pay bills owed to health service providers within 30 days.
Flider also recently introduced reform legislation requiring the state to reimburse pharmacists that fill prescriptions under the Governor Blagojevich’s unlawful health care expansion, according to a press release from Flider's office.
“Currently, doctors, health care specialists and other service providers are being stiffed on bills owed by the State of Illinois because the Blagojevich administration is not paying the state’s bills on time or in some cases not paying them at all,” Flider said.
“As our state continues to grapple with his legacy of fiscal mismanagement created by an estimated $4 billion in unpaid bills to service providers, I implore the Senate to vote on and pass this vital legislation that would force the governor to provide some much-needed accountability to Illinois’ taxpayers.”A major reform contained in House Bill 5898 would be to prohibit the governor from creating new programs until he develops a plan to pay off the existing backlog of bills. This legislation also aims to shorten the current payment cycle to 30 days and increase interest payments paid to providers when the state is late in providing reimbursements.
“With our country in the midst of an economic calamity, businesses are struggling to survive, and the state is making matters worse for them rather than better,” Flider added. “I encourage the Senate leadership to do the right thing and allow the Senate to vote on and pass
this important legislation.” In addition to the this reform legislation, Flider recently introduced House Bill 6726, which would require the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to reimburse pharmacists for providing prescription drugs to individuals receiving medical assistance under the governor’s unlawful health care expansion. Recent media reports have documented that under Blagojevich’s unlawful health care expansion, prescription drug providers have been asked to fill patients’prescriptions without receiving reimbursement from the state. “I applaud Representative Flider for introducing legislation that reforms the state’s practice of forcing pharmacists to fill prescriptions for individuals receiving care under FamilyCare,” said Terry Traster, owner of Moweaqua Pharmacy.
“Small business owners like myself have incurred huge loses when we have been forced to foot the bill for providing services for the governor’s health care program, while we have not been reimbursed by the state,” said Traster.
House Bill 5898 is supported by the Illinois Taxpayers Federation, Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois Homecare Council and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
The measure passed the House, but was never called for a vote in the Senate. House Bill 6726 was introduced in the House earlier this month and now awaits action in the House Rules Committee.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pair of front-runners emerge to lead Illinois Senate

Top - Senator John Cullerton
Bottom - Senator James Clayborne

SPRINGFIELD - A decision on who will take the reins of the Illinois Senate in January could come as soon as next week.
Meeting for the first time since the general election, members of the Illinois Senate spent Wednesday jockeying for position in the leadership scramble caused by the pending retirement of Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago.
Whoever crosses the finish line first could attempt to set a different tone in the General Assembly, which has been mired in political gridlock for the past two years.The infighting among Democrats who control the Senate, House and governor's office has left the state saddled with a budget deficit and a lack of progress on a long-sought road- and bridge-building program.
Front-runners to replace Jones include Democratic state Sens. John Cullerton of Chicago and James Clayborne of Belleville.

Obama, Clinton discuss top State Department job

Democratic sources tell CNN that President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton had a "serious discussion" Thursday to gauge Clinton's interest in the post of secretary of state, if she were offered it. Clinton's response is unknown, although multiple sources agree that she was left with the impression that if she were interested in the post, it would be hers. full story

Obama resigning Senate seat

President-elect Barack Obama says he’s resigning from the Senate, effective Sunday.
He is calling his four-year term “one of the highest honors and privileges” of his life.
The move was expected. Obama won the presidency last week over Republican John McCain.
It’s now up to Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to name Obama’s replacement. Congress is scheduled to meet in a special session next week.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

State senators scramble to pick leaders


State senators kept a light workload on the first day of their fall veto session Wednesday, focusing more on sorting out who will be their next political leaders.
Much of the nearly two hours that the Senate met was dominated by both Democrats and Republicans talking to each other and reporters about their new leadership.
Both Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, and Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson, R-Greenville, are leaving their leader posts in January. Each side has a couple of favorites but also several others jockeying for the powerful roles.
Senators stressed there’s nothing decided yet, but they hope the new leaders can be picked by next week.
“Both caucuses need to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and let the people of the state of Illinois know which direction we’re headed,” said Sen. John O. Jones, R-Mount Vernon.
The House last month canceled its first week of the scheduled two-week veto session after lawmakers came back to Springfield several times this summer and dealt with most governor vetoes and other matters.
Senate leaders announced Wednesday they were canceling Friday’s scheduled session.
They put into position several measures that could head to the governor’s desk as early as today, including authority for a clean-coal power plant in Taylorville and a referendum for a sales tax increase in Peoria County to pay for a riverfront museum.
But mostly the focus was on the leadership battle.
Democrats and Republicans planned to meet privately in different locations in the capital city Wednesday evening with two goals: sort through who the serious candidates are and set a process and timeline for picking a winner.
Democrats face arguably the tougher choice because their winner will control the chamber as Senate president. That requires the votes of 30 senators, and front-runners acknowledged no one is to that point yet.
“Nobody’s near 30 right now,” said Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan. “We will be discussing this as mature adults.”
Democrat candidates denied they were offering plum committee appointments or using heavy financial support of some lawmakers this fall to win votes.
Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, said Democrats may need to take several votes privately first but expect to avoid divisiveness for the official floor vote.
Republicans, meanwhile, had to scramble more to find a replacement for Watson, who announced just last week he wouldn’t return as leader after suffering a stroke. Their winner needs just 12 of the 22 GOP votes, but there’s no frontrunner right now.
They also hoped for a quick choice without any infighting and hope for more cooperation under new Senate leadership, while acknowledging there’s a downside to Democrats working together.
“They could all get along, and then I think we’d really be run in the ground,” said Sen. Dale Risinger, R-Peoria.
“The good news is that they don’t get along, and so nothing happens. That’s better than some of the things they want to do.”
Also Wednesday:
*A Senate committee postponed action on appointments made by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to the State Board of Elections, including William Quinlan, the father of Blagojevich’s legal counsel.
The Senate Executive Appointments Committee was voting on Quinlan’s appointment when it became apparent he wasn’t getting enough votes to pass.
Committee chairman Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, then announced that all of the pending appointments to the board — two new members and two reappointments — would be postponed until another date.
Both Quinlan and the lawmaker pushing for his approval said they had no idea there were problems with the appointment. One of the opponents, Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, would only say there are “still some serious questions” about the appointment.
* Senators gave a standing ovation after a brief speech by Jones honoring political protege and former state Sen. Barack Obama on his presidential win last week. Jones said lawmakers are proud to see their ex-colleague take over the country.
“It’s a great feeling for all of us to have someone from Illinois,” Jones said.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What's the fall veto session?

Q: What is the fall veto session all about?
A: Traditionally, the fall veto session gives lawmakers a chance to catch up on work that’s been building up since their spring legislative session ended in May. They usually deal with dozens of bills the governor has partially or fully vetoed during the summer, and they sometimes deal with measures that are considered too controversial to take up during election season.
This year is different. Lawmakers were in town several times since May to deal with the state budget mess and other issues, and they took care of all but a couple of governor vetoes. That means these next two weeks won’t be much of a true “veto” session.
Q: So if there aren’t many vetoes, what do lawmakers have to do?
A: Not a lot of nuts-and-bolts legislating.
“We dealt with a lot of bills already,” said Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria. “I don’t know how much we’re actually going to have before us.”
The House decided to cancel its first week of work, arguing it had already accomplished what would normally be done the first week of veto session. So House members won’t be in town until next week.
The Senate expects to be preoccupied for much of the two weeks with picking new leadership.
Both Democratic Senate President Emil Jones and Republican Leader Frank Watson are stepping down in January, creating an extremely rare changeover of leadership for both parties. Senators will be meeting in closed-door party caucuses to go over the pros and cons of several candidates. They’ll aim to decide fairly quickly who will lead them heading into next spring.
Q: Is there really nothing for lawmakers to do now?

Resolution Honoring Obama Being Pushed

"State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is pushing a plan for the legislature to formally congratulate President-elect Barack Obama with a resolution that recognizes the "indelible mark" Obama has left on Illinois and throughout the world," Adriana Colindres reports in the State Journal-Register.
"It shows the respect that the General Assembly has for his service," Giannoulias said. "Hopefully, it'll inspire other people to maybe run for office."
The proposed legislative resolution isn't yet in final form, but Giannoulias said he'd like for it to come up for consideration this week in the Illinois Senate, where Obama served from 1997-2004. The treasurer, a Democrat like Obama, also hopes the House will take up the resolution when it returns to the state Capitol next week.
Giannoulias, who referred to Obama as his "mentor," has not been mentioned as likely candidate to follow Obama to Washington. Nevertheless, he was asked about the prospect of serving in the new administration:
"I really do love being state treasurer. Unless the president-elect really needs me, I plan on staying in the state treasurer's office."

Who Will Replace Obama?

Could it be....

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who has been endorsed for Obama's Senate seat by the Chicago Defender and the SouthtownStar, says a recent poll should point to him as the favorite.

Here are some other leading candidates.

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a member of the Democratic leadership, has confirmed her interest in the job.

Illinois Veterans' Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq vet who lost a close Congressional race in 2006, mentioned the governor in her speech at Democratic National Convention.

Retiring State Senate President Emil Jones was a political mentor to Obama in Springfield and has been a key Blagojevich ally.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Her appointment would eliminate a top challenger should the governor seek a third term in 2010.

State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is another potential challenger to Blagojevich in 2010. He is a close friend of Obama's and has a strong fundraising network.

A number of aldermen and community groups have been lobbying for U.S. Rep. Danny Davis.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez is a national voice on immigration issues and has been outspoken about his desire for the seat.

State Comptroller Dan Hynes lost this seat to Obama in the 2004 primary. He is another potential Blagojevich opponent.

Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson has never held elected office but is Gov. Blagojevich's former communications director.

State Senator Kwame Raoul took over Obama's seat in Springfield and veteran African-American State Senators Emil Jones and Donne Trotter have suggested he do so again.

Durbin Talks About His Daughter's Death

Senator Dick Durbin briefly discussed his daughter's recent death after a Veteran's Day event at Camp Butler National Cemetery outside of Springfield.
"It's a reminder that politics has its limits," Durbin said somberly. "Life goes on, life and death, and ... your family is the most important thing."
Christine Durbin, 40, died Nov. 1 from complications related to a congenital heart condition.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama arrives for White House tour, talk with Bush

WASHINGTON - The Bushes welcomed the Obamas to the White House on Monday, offering a symbolic glimpse of what's in store for the country: a new first family along with a new administration.
President Bush and President-elect Obama met in the Oval Office, their first face-to-face session, while first lady Laura Bush and Obama's wife, Michelle, held their own meeting in the White House residence.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

As Leaders Change, Ill. Lawmakers Look for Results

Illinois State Capital

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The balance of power in the Illinois General Assembly didn't change much with last week's election, but major change could be on the horizon anyway.
The retirement of Senate President Emil Jones - whose legacy of undaunting support for the highly unpopular Gov. Rod Blagojevich has contributed to stalled action in the Legislature - undoubtedly will usher in a new era of conciliation.

Full Article...

Quad-Cities state Sen. Mike Jacobs ponders run for governor

SPRINGFIELD - A Democratic state senator from the Quad-Cities said he plans to spend the next three months traveling the state to determine whether he will run for governor in 2010.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thank You!!!

The Effingham County Democrat Party would like to extend a big thank you to all who helped make this election a success.

  • To the candidates...thank you for all of your hard work and effort whether victorious or not. You instilled the importance of the issues to voters throughout the county and districts.
  • To the precinct committeemen...thank you for your efforts in informing the voters of the issues and the candidates; working throughout the community on behalf of the candidates; and overseeing the campaign headquarters.
  • To the are the most important part. If it were not for you, all of our work would be pointless. Thank your for listening to the issues, educating yourselves on the candidates and venturing to the polls to make educated decisions! We could not have done it without you!

Please continue to visit the blog as we continue to keep you posted on the happenings in national and state government and the Democratic Party.

Friday, November 7, 2008

First News Conference

Barack Obama, center, takes a question from a reporter Friday in Chicago during his first news conference as president-elect. Standing at right is Vice President-elect Joe Biden, at left is White House Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel.

Obama: U.S. faces 'greatest economic challenge'

First appearance before reporters since election focuses on dire economy

CHICAGO - President-elect Barack Obama said Friday that the country is facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime and "we're going to have to act swiftly to resolve it."
Flanked by members of his economic advisory board, Obama held his first press conference as president-elect, stressing that the focus of his efforts would be the struggling middle class.
"We need a rescue plan for the middle class that invests in immediate efforts to create jobs and provides relief to families that are watching their paychecks shrink and their life savings disappear," Obama said in his opening statement before taking questions.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama's chief of staff pick has tough-guy rep

Emanuel also adds political instincts, White House experience

CHICAGO - Rep. Rahm Emanuel combines political instincts, White House experience and a Chicago tough-guy attitude — traits that he's likely to need as President-elect Barack Obama's new chief of staff.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama elected 44th president

Barack Obama, a 47-year-old first-term senator from Illinois, shattered more than 200 years of history Tuesday night by winning election as the first African-American president of the United States.

A crowd of 125,000 people jammed Grant Park in Chicago, where Obama addressed the nation for the first time as its president-elect at midnight ET. Hundreds of thousands more — Mayor Richard Daley said he would not be surprised if a million Chicagoans jammed the streets — watched on a large television screen outside the park.
“If there is anyone out there who doubts that America is a place where anything is possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” Obama declared.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Ugly Truth

Effingham County 2008 ELECTION RESULTS

Constitutional Convention Yes 3740 Constitutional Convention No 10334

President/Vice President
Obama/Biden (D) 5256
McCain/Palin (R) 11313
McKinney/Clemente (Green) 33
Barr/Root (Lib) 45

US Senator
Dick Durbin (D) 8258
Steve Sauerberg (R) 7708

19th District Congressman
Daniel Davis (D.) 4356
John Shimkus (R) 11731

State Senator 51st District
Frank Watson (R) (Unopposed) 2365

54th District State Senator
Henry Kijonka (D) 2696
John O. Jones (R) 7416

102nd District General Assembly Representative
Ron Stephens (R) (Unopposed) 2287

108th District St. Representative
Jason Warfel (D) 2933
David Reis (R) 7309

109th District General Assembly Representative
Roger Eddy (R) (Unopposed) 2924

Circuit Clerk
Becky Jansen (D) 10125
John Ashbaugh (R) 6169

State`s Attorney
Ed Deters (D) 8259
Bryan Kibler (R) 7999

County Coroner
Leigh Hammer (D) (Unopposed) 14370

County Board District A
Leonard Waldhoff (D) 960
Jim Reeves (R) 1076

County Board District C
Karen Luchtefeld (D) 564
Terry Croft (R) 466

County Board District D
Donald Cunningham (R) (Unopposed) 1485

County Board District E
Bob Shields (R) (Unopposed) 2286

County Board District G
Greg Beccue (D) 681
Carolyn Willenburg (R) 1107

5th Judicial District (Hopkins Vacancy)
James Wexstten (D) (Unopposed) 12132

Judge Gene Schwarm
Retain Yes 10323
Retain No 3639

Judge Richard Goldenhersh
Retain Yes 9601
Retain No 4093

Carry Concealed Firearms
Yes 9148
No 6483

Long lines form for a landmark election

Monday, November 3, 2008

Barack Obama's grandmother dies

HONOLULU - Barack Obama's grandmother, whose personality and bearing shaped much of the life of the Democratic presidential contender, has died, Obama announced Monday, one day before the election. Madelyn Payne Dunham was 86.

Obama announced the news from the campaign trail in Charlotte, North Carolina. The joint statement with his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said Dunham died peacefully late Sunday night after a battle with cancer.

"She's gone home," Obama said as tens of thousands of rowdy supporters at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte grew silent in an evening drizzle.

Full Article....

Saturday, November 1, 2008


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Joe Shoemaker, Communications Director for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin issued the following statement on the death of the Durbin's oldest daughter.

"Christine Ann Durbin, daughter of Senator Dick Durbin and Loretta Durbin, passed away today from complications relating to a congenital heart condition.

"In addition to her parents, she is survived by her husband Marty Johnson and son Alex; brother Paul (and wife Jamie); sister Jennifer (and husband Michael).

"For sixteen years she worked in the Emerging Markets Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.

"Chris Durbin, 40, fought a heroic lifelong battle with heart disease and our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Durbin family.

"Funeral arrangements are pending."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Debate at The Hilton


Debate at The Hilton


Re-Elect Ed Deters State's Attorney

Ed Deters - Effingham County State's Attorney

Working with you for a safer community!

· Recognized by peers in law enforcement and legal circles as a tough, but fair prosecutor of our laws.

· Addressed crime-victim services through utilization of full-time victim-witness coordinator, helping crime victims understand the criminal justice system.

· Improved accessibility by opening office during lunch hour for the first time, allowing citizens and police alike convenient opportunity to meet with attorneys.

· Earned reputation of working together in cooperation with Effingham County’s domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and other social service agencies, to better assist victims.

“As your State’s Attorney, it has been my privilege to represent the interest of Effingham’s law abiding citizens in our criminal justice system. If entrusted with this responsibility again, I will continue to balance firmness with fairness, toughness with compassion as I enforce the Laws of Illinois. I will continue to listen to the concerns of citizens and parents, police officers and community leaders, regarding issues as diverse as methamphetamine manufacture and speeding tickets. I will again bring with me to the office each day the values of this community, the community in which I was raised.”

I ask for your vote on November 4th!

Re-Elect Ed Deters State's Attorney

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Karen Luchtefeld For County Board

Hello, I am Karen Luchtefeld candidate for Effingham County Board in District C. I am a fourth generation and lifelong resident of Effingham. My husband of 36 years is Charles Luchtefeld. He is a 30 year employee of St. Anthony Memorial Hospital as a staff pharmacist. We have two children: Jason, wife Vicky and Amanda, husband Tony Willenborg. We are proud grandparents of Sidney Willenborg. My parents are Patricia and John Kirby and my parents-in-law are Frances and Harry Luchtefeld. I graduated from Effingham High School in 1970 and from Lake Land College in 1972 with an associate degree in applied science with a specialty in Dental Hygiene.

I am currently employed by the Effingham Park District as an assistant manager at the Effingham Area Kluthe Memorial Pool. I also have my own seasonal swim lesson business and am certified as a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer and Lifeguard Training Instructor.

As a community volunteer, I am an active member of Effingham County FISH Human Services Board, Rotary, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, P.E.O. Philanthropic Educational Organization, TREC-Trails Recreation Effingham County, United Way Board, STAR-Strategic Training and Restoration through the Effingham County Probation Department, Chamber of Commerce volunteer, Helen Matthes Library Board member, Effingham County Community Foundation Board and a 2008 recipient of the Jefferson Award for community service. I am a member of Centenary United Methodist Church, currently serving on the Church Council and Building Committee.

I was on the Effingham County Board from 1998-2002 and served on the Legislative and Tax and Finance Committees. I also served as the chairperson of the Health Committee. With my Effingham government experience I have knowledge of the budget process. I have experience in managing an office and employees. While on the County Board, I helped balance and maintain a business budget in a fiscally responsible manner.

I have spent my adult years committed to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Effingham County. I care about all people and believe that each person has the right to be treated in a respectful and professional manner. I am running for public office because I have the time to devote to board responsibilities. I know I can make a positive contribution to the operation of County Government.

My goal on the board is trustworthy, responsible budgeting, and management of County funds as well as cooperation with the citizens of District C and all the communities within our county. I care and am committed to the precincts I will serve.

Re-Elect Becky Jansen Circuit Clerk

Becky Jansen-Effingham
County Circuit Clerk



Elected in Dec. 2005 to the Illinois Association of Circuit Clerks Board. Starting as Secretary moving up to Treasurer and now Second Vice President.

One of two Circuit Clerks in the State of Illinois to be appointed to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Board.

In my first four years as Circuit Clerk I have continued to be involved in Effingham County.


I belong to Effingham Sunrise Rotary, Effingham Chamber of Commerce & Business and Professional Women, as well as other organizations and volunteer work.

In my position of Circuit Clerk I have...

* added the on-line This helps both the public and the staff.
* upgraded the computer system to make the work more efficient
* added a program to show the docket entries of a file on the computer.
* made changes in the office that have helped in the everyday operations of the office.
* added a program that reimburses the Circuit Clerks Office over $10,000 a year.
* collected many fees that have been past due for many years.

Thank You for your continued support.


Re-Elect Leonard Waldhoff - County Board District A

Effingham County is a dynamic community that continually works toward a better life for its citizens through quality of life and economic development projects. Leonard Waldhoff is proud of this fact and has been an active contributor to the successes seen within the community.
Leonard is an experienced leader in Effingham County. He has been a resident of the Effingham area all his life, except for time served in Vietnam and three years as a State Police officer in northern Illinois until his position relocated here.
Leonard knows the goals and concerns of Effingham County and wishes to continue working to meet them.
As a member of the County Board for ten years, Leonard has gained valuable experience in handling County tasks. He is currently representing District A.
To serve the County, Leonard graduated from the University of Illinois Leadership Academy.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve District A and the good people of Effingham County. I am proud of the accomplishments I have directed and supported as a member of the County Board to benefit the citizens of our progressive communities.
We have a very positive future ahead. It is a remarkable experience to be one of the Leaders in a County like ours. Our County is filled with people who have a vision for a better tomorrow. We are willing to work hard and cooperate with each other to achieve that success. Yes, together we will work for an improved County rather than have an attitude of against.
I promise, I will continue to work hard to achieve the strong goals we all desire, including improved County services and cost-effective operations. I would appreciate your vote on November 4.”

National Education Association Endorsement of Obama

Re-Elect Leigh Hammer, Effingham County Coroner

  • Member of the Illinois Coroner’s and Medical Examiner’s Association (ICMEA)

  • Executive Board ICMEA serving as District 4 Director

  • Appointed by the Department of Child and Family Services to the Southern Illinois Region Child Death Review Team

  • Business and Professional Women

  • St. Anthony of Padua Church

  • Appointed Coroner in 2003; elected in 2004

“I would like for the citizens of Effingham County to understand that even though I am running unopposed in this year’s election I do not take my job for granted or the trust that my constituents placed in me four years ago. I will continue to work hard, be sincere and remain committed to the task of serving Effingham County. As a medical professional my entire working career, 12 of those years as a registered nurse, I will use that working knowledge and training to perform the duties of coroner. I will use my knowledge of the state laws to direct my authority as coroner. I will continue to educate the general public and other government entities in regards to the responsibility and protocol of the coroner’s office."

"With the relocation of the coroner’s office to county building in April 2008, the office has become more efficient than ever before and more accessible to the public and staff. I am proud of the strides that have been made within the staff and the physical office, but there is still more to be done. The safety of my staff, as first responders, while providing essential services to the citizens of county will be one of the focuses of my next term of office. I will continue to modernize the coroner’s office, saving time and taxpayers dollars. I would appreciate your continued support on November 4th.”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Obama

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Sunday that he will break with his party and vote for Sen. Barack Obama. "He has both style and substance. I think he is a transformational figure," Powell said on NBC's Meet the Press.
"I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities -- and you have to take that into account -- as well as his substance -- he has both style and substance," Powell said. "He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama Draws 100,000

Barack Obama's rally in St. Louis draws 100,000!

Earlier today, Barack spoke in front of a record crowd of over 100,000 people underneath the Gatway Arch in St. Louis. "All I can say is, wow," Barack said as he took the stage.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dates To Remember

TUESDAY November 18 - Effingham County Democrats monthly meeting @ 7pm

November 9 – Whiteside Co. Big Bucks Bonanza - Arnies Happy Spot, 10 miles South of Rock Falls on Route 40, 1 - 5pm. Tickets $50.00, grand prize $2500.00. Contact Lowell Jacobs, Chairman at 815-631-7038. Each ticket gets 2 people in for lunch, serving from 2:00 - 3:30pm.

Democrat Elected Officials

  • Effingham County Board Distric G-Doug McCain
  • Effingham County Treasurer - Steve Dasenbrock
  • Effingham County Board District C - Karen Luchtefeld

Effingham County Democrats Officers

  • Chairman - Audrey Griffith
  • First Vice Chairman - Dan Niebrugge
  • Second Vice Chairman - Allen Wente
  • Secretary - James Hammer
  • Treasurer - Shirley McEvers