Wednesday, December 9, 2009

State Central Committee

Bernard Schoenburg: Lack of meetings concerns some Democrats

Posted Dec 06, 2009 @ 12:04 AM

The pay’s not great, but the meeting schedule is light. Still, seats on the Democratic State Central Committee in each of the three congressional districts that include Springfield are being contested in the Feb. 2 Democratic primary.
Democrats voting in the primary elect one man and one woman from each of the state’s 19 congressional districts to be on the committee, which is the official governing body of the Democratic Party. There is no pay.
And for more than a year, there has been no meeting. The party chairman is House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago. As his spokesman STEVE BROWN recalls, the last formal meeting was before the 2008 Democratic National Convention, when the party had to name “superdelegates” to that conclave.
The lack of formal meetings bothers some.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama on troop surge: 'We must keep the pressure on al-Qaida'

by Mark Silva and updated again at 9:05 pm EST
President Barack Obama, swiftly deploying an added 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan, told a national television audience tonight that Americans "have no interest in fighting an endless war'' and promised to begin withdrawing forces from the embattled nation in July 2011.
The surge of forces which Obama has ordered will raise the U.S. commitment to 98,000 troops by next summer, at an estimated added cost of about $30 billion a year. The pace of the subsequent draw-down, however, remains uncertain - depending on "conditions on the ground.''
Both the initial military boost and announced start of a planned withdrawal are intended to weaken and ultimately defeat the Taliban and to train Afghan security forces, administration officials say.
Their goal, the president said, is "to seize the initiative,'' finally, in a war that started on Sept. 11, 2001, and is not going well after eight years, build Afghanistan's capacity to secure itself and then allow for "a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan.''

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

2010 Illinois Democratic Primary Ticket

United States Senator: Alexander “Alexi” Giannoulias—(Chicago); David Hoffman—(Chicago); Robert Marshall—(Burr Ridge); Jacob J. Meister—(Chicago); Corey Dabney—(Aurora); Cheryle Jackson—(Chicago); Willie “Will” Boyd Jr.—(Greenville)

Governor: Daniel W. Hynes—(Chicago); Pat Quinn—(Chicago)

Lt. Governor: Rickey R. Hendon—(Chicago); Terry Link—(Waukegan); Arthur L. Turner—(Chicago); Scott Lee Cohen—(Chicago); Thomas Michael Castillo—(Elmhurst); Mike Boland—(East Moline)

Attorney General: Lisa Madigan—(Chicago)
Secretary of State: Jesse White—(Chicago)

Comptroller: Raja S. Krishnamoorthi—(Hoffman Estates); David E. Miller—(Lynwood); Clinton A. “Clint” Krislov—(Wilmette)

Treasurer: Justin P. Oberman—(Chicago); Robin Kelly—(Matteson)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

2009 Democrat Effingham County Primary Candidates

COUNTY CLERK: No Candidate

Steven W Dasenbrock

Harold “Harry” Davis
Herman (Junior) Willis


District B: Don Althoff
District D: (2 Year Unexpired Term) Gene R Jackson
District F: No Candidate Filed
District H: Mike Brown
District I: Larry Vahling

2009 Republican Effingham County Primary Candidates

Kerry J Hirtzel

No Candidate

Kristopher “Kris” K Lipe
John H Monnet

Pamela Braun

District B: James Niemann
District D: (2 Year Unexpired Term) David Campbell
District F: Jeffrey L Simpson
District H: Mark A Percival
District I: No Candidate

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quinn aide resigns after probe revealed

BY DAVE McKINNEY AND CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporters ,Chicago Sun Times
A top aide to Gov. Quinn has left her $119,158-a-year job amid a state government probe into whether she had done political work on state time.
Carolyn Brown Hodge, Quinn's deputy chief of staff, resigned late Friday after the Chicago Sun-Times asked the governor's office about the situation.
Hodge's state computer was seized by the Office of the Executive Inspector General to determine whether the equipment might have been used for any political purposes, a source said.
Quinn spokesman Bob Reed confirmed Hodge's resignation but would neither confirm nor deny the existence of a state probe into Hodge, who had served under Quinn since he was lieutenant governor.

Full article...,CST-NWS-GOV02.article

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Health plans coping with state payment delays


Health Alliance Medical Plans will continue to pay medical bills for state workers, retirees and their dependents, even though Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration will stop paying the state’s share of monthly premiums for 3 1/2 months.
The state budget crisis prompted state officials to notify health-insurance companies this month about the delays, said Pat Frueh, acting chief of health-care purchasing for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
“We had to come up with a cash-shortfall plan,” she said.
Jocelyn Browning, spokeswoman for Health Alliance, said the state has never before failed to pay monthly premiums in the 30 years that Health Alliance has insured state workers.
At least for now, she said, “It shouldn’t affect our members. We’re still playing claims.”
Health Alliance covers 78,600 state employees, retirees and dependents. The state’s average monthly premium payment to Health Alliance was $33 million, Browning said. Health Alliance last received a payment from the state Aug. 26.
A spokeswoman for Chicago-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois wouldn’t say whether the premium delays will result in Blue Cross paying bills late or refusing to pay them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Poll: Voters say cut, but don't cut or tax us


State policymakers looking for the least painful ways to fix a major budget problem won’t find much help from a new poll that shows many voters against both tax increases and spending cuts in major areas.

The poll of 800 registered voters, conducted between Sept. 9 and Oct. 8 for the Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, lays out the tough choices lawmakers face to deal with a budget billions of dollars in the red.
The results largely mirror the fence-sitting seen a year ago when the institute first polled on these issues.
More than 56 percent polled believe spending cuts in government can fix the Illinois’ budget problems. Fewer than 10 percent think more revenue, such as through tax increases, is the answer. Another 27 percent say a combination of both more money and cuts are needed. The poll had a 3.4 percentage point error margin.
Despite that strong support for cuts, voters in large numbers object to scaling back spending on education, public safety and other major programs where cuts would be required to close the gap.

Attorney general, CUB oppose planned Verizon sale

BY KURT ERICKSON, The Southern Springfield Bureau

SPRINGFIELD - A number of government officials, consumer advocates and potential competitors raised red flags this week about Verizon's plan to sell off its local landline phone service in Illinois.
In the first round of testimony submitted Tuesday to state regulators, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Citizens Utility Board argue the proposed sale of Verizon's lines to Frontier Corp. could negatively affect nearly 600,000 customers.
"We recommend that the Commission reject the Frontier purchase of Verizon's telephone lines in Illinois because of serious concerns about Frontier's ability to manage these assets," noted a memo issued by Madigan's office Wednesday.
The opposition comes just a week after a spokesman for Connecticut-based Frontier said he hoped the sale wouldn't become a contentious fight in Illinois.
Full article....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Governor Pat Quinn Names New Members To Community Outreach Board

SPRINGFIELD – October 15, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today named 20 members to the Serve Illinois Commission. The Commission, supported by the Illinois Department of Human Services, enhances and supports community volunteerism and administers the AmeriCorps State program in Illinois.
Earlier this year, Governor Quinn announced $8.9 million in federal funds for Illinois’ AmeriCorps programs, including $2.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). AmeriCorps volunteers dedicate a year to improving education, human services, environmental quality, public health and public safety through the United States.
The members of the Serve Illinois Commission are appointed to three-year terms. For more information the Commission, please visit or call 1-800-592-9896.
Newly Appointed Serve Illinois Commission Members
Member -Hometown- Position
Lawrence Benito- Chicago - Deputy Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Merri Dee - Chicago - Owner, Merri Dee Communications
Alvin Goldfarb - Macomb - President, Western Illinois University
Nancy K. Jameson -Macomb - Director, West Central Illinois RSVP
Howard L. Lathan - Chicago - Associate Executive Director, Community Development & Organization, Chicago Area Project
Bob McCammon- Lake Villa - Executive Director, Youth Conservation Corps
Fred Nettles - Springfield - Director of Partners for Hope Program, Illinois Department of Human Services
Giraldo Rosales- Champaign - Assistant Dean of Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Cynthia Sims - Carbondale - Assistant Professor, Department of Workforce Education and Development at Southern Illinois University Carbondale
John Sirek - Chicago - Citizenship Program Director, McCormick Foundation
Steven S. Wolfe - Glen Ellyn - Intern/Volunteer Coordinator, Probation & Court Services Department of the 18th Judicial Circuit, DuPage County
Gloria Verastegui - Gilberts - Youth Representative to the Commission, Loyola University Chicago Student
Non Voting Members
Member -Hometown- Position
Jane Angelis - Carbondale - Founder and Director, Intergenerational Initiative
Judy Donath - Springfield - Project Director, RSVP for Sangamon, Menard and Logan Counties
Kathy Engelken - Des Plaines - Executive Director, Illinois Campus Compact at DePaul University
Michael Mangan - Mt. Prospect - Director, Service-Learning Project at The Center: Resources for Teaching and Learning
Arlan McClain - Dixon - Executive Director, Kreider Services
Judy Swinson - Centralia - Director, Volunteer Services at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Inc.
Genita Robinson - Chicago - Executive Director, Lawyers Lend a Hand to Youth Program
Barb Tubekis - Winetka - Chair, Volunteer Centers of Illinois

Partisan bickering closes first half of veto session


The Illinois House spent much of Friday bickering along partisan lines over separate proposals to delay the Democratic governor's yearly budget speech and change the way some top Republican officials are chosen.
In the end, both pieces of legislation stalled, failing to attract the 71 votes needed. They could resurface later.
House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, told House members she had no problem with granting Gov. Pat Quinn's request to delay his budget presentation until March 24, 2010, because he recently hired a new budget director, David Vaught.
"We want to give that guy as much time and as much information as he feels he needs," Currie said.
The governor is supposed to present his proposed budget by the third Wednesday in February.
Some Republicans complained the delay until late March appeared political because Quinn faces a tough February primary fight with Comptroller Dan Hynes for governor. They contended waiting that long for the governor's budget plan would hurt lawmakers' efforts to put together a budget by the end of next May.
Democrats said they simply were trying to give Quinn enough time to figure out this year's budget problems and make the best estimate possible for next year.
The vote on Currie's proposal, House Bill 1409, was 66-49.
The House also rebuffed a plan to change the selection process for members of the Republican state central committee.
Under Senate Bill 600, which the Senate already approved, voters from each congressional district would choose two members of the committee. At present, other GOP leaders select members of the state central committee.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross accused Democrats of interfering with the Republican party's inner workings.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang, disputed that assessment.
"This is not a Democratic plot to take over the world," said Lang, a Skokie Democrat
The House voted 59-47 for the bill.
Friday's political infighting capped the first half of the General Assembly's fall veto session.
The scheduled six-day session began Wednesday and picks up again on Oct. 28-30. After that, lawmakers aren't expected to return to the Capitol until January.
Members of the General Assembly made progress this week on some issues and left others unsettled.
Lawmakers gave Quinn an extra $205 million in spending authority for the Monetary Award Program, which provides assistance to needy college students. But it's not clear how those additional dollars will materialize.
The Illinois Senate approved a recall option for future Illinois governors. Because the proposal already passed in the House, voters will decide in the November 2010 election if they want the power to oust a sitting governor from office.
An Illinois House committee advanced an updated version of a campaign finance reform plan, crafted after Quinn vetoed a different proposal during the summer. Critics say the measure is flawed because it doesn't limit how much money political parties or legislative leaders can contribute to candidates.
Lawmakers also are still contending with Senate Bill 2090, which deals with how much they get paid. The Senate overrode Quinn's amendatory veto, sending the matter to the House.
The bill would require lawmakers to directly vote yes or no on a pay hike.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quinn, Hynes voice different plans for income-tax hike

By Tom Kacich
Monday, October 12, 2009 8:12 AM
CHAMPAIGN – Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes avoided mentioning each other by name, but they didn't avoid comparing each other's position on an income tax increase in an appearance before Champaign County Democrats on Sunday night.
The two main candidates in the Feb. 2, 2010, gubernatorial primary were among a dozen candidates to speak before more than 250 Democrats at the local party's fall dinner at the I Hotel and Conference Center. Other speakers included U.S. Senate candidate David Hoffman of Chicago and 15th District congressional hopeful David Gill of Normal.

Tax increases are needed, both candidates said. But they differ on how to enact an income tax hike.

Hynes suggested closing corporate tax loopholes, raising the cigarette tax by a dollar a pack, broadening the sales tax to include services and amending the Illinois Constitution to allow for a progressive income tax.

"It requires the Legislature to put it on the ballot and let the people decide. Remember 'Let the people decide and let the will of the people be the law of the land?'" Hynes said, echoing a frequent Quinn line. "We're one of seven states with a flat income tax, and it's time to change that. We can do it in November 2010 if we have the courage to do it. Anybody who says that it's too difficult and it will take too long and it's too complicated, I have three words from someone we all know very well: Yes we can."

Quinn, who spoke before Hynes, devoted most of his time to recounting his record in state government, and said little about the comptroller, except to point out the difference on the income-tax increase.
"There are people in my own party who don't want to deal with reality, and they're going to campaign against raising the income tax by statute. We've got to do it. We've got to do it in this coming fiscal year," he said. "There is one (Democratic) candidate who supports raising the income tax in a fair way, with tax relief for people who need it the most.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hynes Campaign Delivers Series of Calendars, Reminds Quinn It's 2009

Concerned that Governor Pat Quinn has lost track of time and is unaware that this is 2009, a year in which the only constant to his budget priorities has been to push for an income tax increase of 50 percent, the Dan Hynes for Governor campaign today sent the Governor a dozen 2009 wall calendars. The action was sparked by Quinn’s response to a Hynes campaign advertisement, in which he defended his unpopular move to raise taxes on middle class families by referencing his history of advocating a progressive tax prior to becoming Governor.
“We want to make sure Pat Quinn knows it’s the year 2009, and that he is in fact Governor,” Hynes communications director Matt McGrath said. “We appreciate his nostalgia for simpler times, before he actually had the position and authority to effect change, but the fact remains his only constant position as Governor has been to push for a 50 percent income tax increase.”

Quinn’s campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Austin responded by pointing out lawmakers have opposed Hynes’ plan in the past. She called Hynes’ calender bit a “stunt.”

2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner

President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., after winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize."I will accept this award as a call to action, a call to all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st Century,'' Obama said in a Rose Garden appearance today. "This award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity.''

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First TV ad of campaign season: Hynes blasts Quinn on tax hike

Comptroller Dan Hynes fired the first major shot of the 2010 political TV ad wars tonight, assailing Gov. Pat Quinn’s tax-increase plans and telling voters he warned discredited ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich about overspending.The 30-second ad, which started airing in the Chicago and Springfield TV markets, reheats an increasingly contentious battle for the Feb. 2 Democratic primary nomination for governor between Quinn, who was elevated from lieutenant governor with Blagojevich’s ouster in January, and Hynes, the three-term state comptroller.“As state comptroller, I warned Gov. Blagojevich about overspending but he wouldn’t listen. That governor is gone, but our problems aren’t. And Pat Quinn thinks the answer is to pass a 50 percent tax increase on every Illinois family,” Hynes says in the ad, which aired in Chicago on "Wheel of Fortune" tonight.
“I’m running for governor because I have a better plan. We can balance the budget by cutting waste line by line and only raising income taxes on people making more than $200,000. We can fix this mess and protect the middle class,” Hynes says.
Hynes’ campaign aides would not give details on the size of the TV ad buy but said they plan to have a substantial broadcast presence through the primary campaign.
Hynes has the money for a sustained TV campaign having reported more than $3.5 million in his campaign fund at the start of July. Quinn reported having more than $700,000 in the bank in July but has stepped up his fundraising efforts.
In a response issued tonight, Quinn maintained he has long advocated tax fairness.

2009 Golf Outing

Congratulations to (L to R) Mike Porter, Roger Wycoff, Mark Stuckey, and John Feld winners of this years Effingham County Democrats Golf Outing.
Thank you very much to all who braved the cool and windy conditions to participate in our annual golf outing. It is a great opportunity to play golf and raise money for our local party. We had 42 players who eagerly golfed (some not as good as others) .
Special thanks also to all of our course sponsors, hole sponsors, and cart sponsors. Everyone was very generous with their donations to the outing.
There were so many people that contributed their time and money to our event, thank you everyone.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gov. Quinn and Mayor Daley

Gov. Pat Quinn brings out Mayor Richard Daley to rebut governor foe's criticism on tourism spending

Chicago Tribune

It may have taken him a week, but Gov. Pat Quinn brought out a high-profile political figure today to rebut his Democratic primary challenger's criticism about state spending on tourism during a budget crisis.Mayor Richard Daley stood with Quinn to talk up tourism's importance to Chicago after Comptroller Dan Hynes last week said that he was suspending payments on more than $40 million in state and lottery tourism advertising contracts.Speaking at an event at Navy Pier, Quinn called Hynes' decision "very, very short-sighted."
"As long as I'm governor, we're going to make sure that everybody in the world knows about Illinois and Chicago," Quinn said.Daley also came to Quinn's defense, saying tourism is a competitive business and the state must do all it can to actively woo visitors.
"You have to compete for these conventions," Daley said. "We're competing against Atlanta, we're competing against Las Vegas and Orlando, so you have to put packages together to get the conventions here. At the same time, you have to publicize. You have to do marketing, worldwide and throughout the United States. You can't just sit back and say 'OK, they're going to come to the city of Chicago.' It just doesn't work that way, and I think Gov. Quinn has realized that."
A spokeswoman for Hynes said the comptroller's unwillingness to pay the tourism contracts represents a "difference in priorities" from those of Quinn."Last week, Comptroller Hynes said the Governor had a decision to make," spokeswoman Carol Knowles said in a statement. "Does he want to spend $53 million on consultant and marketing contracts, or does he want to spend it on education and health care? The choice was his. If the governor believes that tourism contracts are a priority, then he should resubmit them and they will be paid."

Full Article...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Quinn to release 1,000 inmates from prison in cost-cutting move

Chicago Tribune

Gov. Pat Quinn is planning to release 1,000 inmates from prisons across Illinois the next several months in an effort to save money.An Illinois Department of Corrections prisons spokeswoman said only “low-level, non-violent” offenders who are in the last year of their sentence will qualify for early release and will be fitted with electronic monitoring devices.Officials with the corrections agency and the Quinn administration declined to provide specifics after announcing the plan late this afternoon. Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith said the bulk of those to be released and placed on supervised parole will be drug and property crime offenders.
The move is estimated to save the agency about $5 million a year, Smith said, though Quinn is giving corrections an extra $2 million to monitor those who are released.The release of prisoners is another symptom of the state’s dire fiscal situation, and is coupled with Quinn’s plan to layoff approximately 1,000 prison workers. The department will layoff 419 workers effective at month’s end.Meanwhile, Quinn gave the department an extra $2 million to help divert offenders from state prisons. That money will go toward drug treatment and other community-based alternatives in an effort to reduce the number of people who receive short prison sentences. Prison officials say 47 percent of offenders released from custody each year serve six months or less behind bars.Another $2 million will be used to monitor the 1,000 inmates facing release, including assigning each a parole officer and providing drug treatment and other rehabilitative programs.


Announced or possible candidates for Illinois lieutenant governor:


• Mike Boland, state representative, Moline.
• Thomas Castillo, electrician, Elmhurst.
• Scott Lee Cohen, businessman, Northbrook.
• Goran Davidovac, Chicago.
• Rickey Hendon, state senator, Chicago.
• Sandi Jackson, alderman, Chicago.
• Kevin Joyce, state representative, Worth.
• Terry Link state senator, Lake Bluff.
• Arthur Turner, state representative, Chicago.

Ex-alderman's son to run for Democratic state treasurer nomination

Chicago Tribune

It looks like former south suburban state Rep. Robin Kelly may be getting a Democratic primary for state treasurer after all.Justin Oberman, the son of onetime Chicago alderman Martin Oberman, today said that he will formally announce on Monday that he is pulling out of the crowded field for lieutenant governor and instead will make a bid for the treasurer’s nomination. The treasurer’s office is being vacated by Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination.
Oberman said he believed the treasurer’s job is “a very good fit for my background in the private sector and experience at the federal level” in putting a focus on encouraging job creation “as well as restoring integrity to state government.”Oberman, 35, of Chicago, said he had been encouraged to make the switch to treasurer by J.B. Pritzker, who for a time looked at running for the office. Oberman had been among more than a half-dozen Democrats saying they're contenders for the Democratic lieutenant governor nomination.Oberman worked in the federal transportation and homeland security agencies before co-founding a company investing in aviation, security and green transportation development firms. For a brief time, Oberman was a candidate to replace former Democratic U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, now the White House chief of staff, in a special March primary election in the 5th Congressional District.Kelly, of Matteson, left the legislature to become Giannoulias’ chief of staff in the treasurer’s office. She has been campaigning for treasurer since her boss made it clear he would seek the U.S. Senate seat now held by Roland Burris. She escaped one primary challenge when Kip Kirkpatrick, co-founder of a health-care equity group, dropped his bid for treasurer earlier this month.On the Republican side, state Sen. Dan Rutherford of Chenoa is the major candidate in the Feb. 2 primary elections.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We've seen a lot from politicians in Washington over the last several years. We're seen them break campaign promises, take the side of big business over the middle class, and vote to increase their own pay while denying working Americans a wage increase. But this week, Republican Congressman Mark Kirk gave us a first: even though he voted in favor of the so-called "Cap and Trade" bill in the House this summer, when confronted with jeers from his Republican base, he astoundingly stated that he would vote against the very same bill as a Senator.You have to see the brazen flip-flop to believe it:

Our Opinion: Congressmen behaving badly

Posted Sep 15, 2009

U.S. REP. John Shimkus should know something about respecting a commander in chief. After all, the conservative Republican from southern Illinois graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where the topic must have come up from time to time.
Shimkus walked out toward the end of President Barack Obama’s address on health care because he was “frustrated that the president was not offering any new ground…,” said spokesman Steve Tomaszewski.
Shimkus, who represents parts of the Springfield area, has been vocal in his disagreement with Obama’s plan. He’s a conservative Republican who is hewing close to his party’s values and seeking to represent his constituency.
“What I cannot support is a government-run health-care program that will inevitably lead to rationing,” Shimkus said.
THE DEBATE over how to fix an ailing health-care system is a valid one. Shimkus, and others, have every right to argue as passionately for their convictions as possible. That’s what they are elected to do. What we ask is that Shimkus and others who feel strongly about the bill do it respectfully and constructively.
To be fair, Shimkus wasn’t the only person to show poor manners. U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina audibly blurted, “You lie,” in response to a statement by President Obama that illegal immigrants were not covered by his proposed health-care bill.
Wilson offered a tepid non-apology apology for his boorish behavior. Then he opportunistically seized the moment to make a video trying to hustle up some campaign cash.
Some other members of Congress in attendance at the speech signaled their feelings by rolling eyes, fiddling with Blackberries and otherwise fidgeting.
SO LET'S REVISIT the West Point motto of “Duty, Honor, Country,” and apply it to this situation:
* DUTY: Show respect, even if you don’t agree with the person bearing the message. It’s a version of the old military adage of salute the uniform, not the man. There’s plenty of time to loudly and forcefully debate the bill or bills that will be before the House and Senate.
* HONOR: Honor your constituents by acting in a way that enhances the office, not distracts from it. This isn’t a reality TV show where acting out is video gold.
* COUNTRY: Health-care reform is one of the most important debates of our time. For the good of the country, Shimkus and colleagues at the speech who showed as much disdain as they could for the benefit of the cameras should act like they are serious about helping Americans address the train wreck that is our current health-care system.
Walking out of a meeting is a theatrical flourish worthy of kindergarten. When it comes as it did during a presidential address before a joint session of Congress, it rises to the level of cheap showmanship that is full of sound and fury, but in the end signifies nothing but a lack of manners and an inability to listen to others’ ideas.

Chicago Endorsement

9-11-09 Chicago Tribune

Cook County Democratic power brokers today endorsed Gov. Pat Quinn in his primary race with state Comptroller Dan Hynes.
The decision today came hours after Quinn appealed for the party leaders' backing, even though he had previously sought a provision in state law to prevent the Illinois Democratic Party from endorsing anyone in the governor's race.
“I am happy to receive today’s endorsement of my candidacy," Quinn said in a statement after the vote. "As I told the committee members this morning, I have spent the last seven months doing what I have been doing for the past three decades – standing up for the people of Illinois."
Hynes also appeared before county slatemakers at the Hotel Allegro but asked them to refrain from endorsing anyone in the Feb. 2 primary for governor. He went so far as to say he would decline the endorsement if he got it, a move that might have influenced the outcome.
The back-to-back appearances featured political flip-flops from both men.

Hynes is the the heir to the longtime 19th Ward political family headed by his father, former county assessor and Senate president Tom Hynes. While he has sought the backing of county Democrats in previous years, today Dan Hynes asked them to refrain from making any endorsement in the governor's race for the Feb. 2 primary.
It's not uncommon for someone challenging an incumbent to try to persuade political powerbrokers to at least remain neutral in a primary fight. "If we as a party do not change the way we select candidates for higher office, we reduce our chances of winning. This is especially true given what our state and our party have been through over the last year," Hynes said. "The voters of Illinois are looking for us to set a new standard for our party. They're counting on us that the Democratic Party stands for openness and transparency." Hynes said he was still asking for the support of individual committeemen. Quinn, the former lieutenant governor who was elevated to the state's top job following the ouster of disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in January, appeared after Hynes before county slatemakers and said, "You just heard from somebody who wants to be governor of Illinois. I am the governor of Illinois." But Quinn offered little explanation to reporters why he sought the Cook County Democrats' endorsement when he had also pushed a provision to ban the state Democratic Party from making primary endorsements. He was repeatedly asked to reconcile his position on the state party with that of his position on the county party organization. "I think it's important to go before any organization, political or non-political, tell them where you stand on issues and ask for their support," Quinn said. "All politics is local. People in their own communities want to evaluate the candidates" Asked by reporters whether he still supported a ban in state law on state Democratic Party endorsements before a primary, Quinn said he did. But he also said he had been told by the state's Democratic chairman, House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago, that there were no plans to endorse in the race. Quinn has come under criticism from Hynes and some other Democrats for a lack of consistency on his positions. But Quinn said he was not being inconsistent in seeking county slating. "I'll tell you what the flip flop is. My friend the comptroller has been coming before the Cook County Democratic Party and other Democratic parties since he started running for office. He always asked for their support," Quinn said of Hynes.
In perhaps the trickiest decision of the day, county slatemakers snubbed Cook County Board President Todd Stroger by declining to endorse his bid for re-election against four challengers. The committeemen instead voted for an open primary with no endorsement for that race.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama's classroom message

Alex Burckle, 10, center, listens to President Barack Obama's back to school speech in his fifth grade class at the Hough Street School in Barrington, Ill. In his speech, Obama challenged the nation's students to take pride and ownership in their education -- and stick with it even if they don't like every class or must overcome tough circumstances at home.

Monday, September 7, 2009

“Outrageous” or “Inappropriate”

Happy Labor Day everyone. Below is the transcript of the televised remarks which President Obama will be giving to students from grade school through high school, at least to those schools whose superintendents and/or school boards permit the President’s remarks to be shown to their students.

Waterloo’s students will not hear this address because, according to news reports, the Superintendent says the remarks are “political.” I don’t know if the Waterloo School Board has instructed the administration to take this stance or if he did it on his own. At the moment, I do not know what the position of our other school districts are with regard to showing the speech.

I encourage each of you to review the transcript below and the actual speech (or replays of it) after it’s given tomorrow and draw your own conclusions. Please let me know what, if anything in it is of a political, controversial or inappropriate nature such that American students should not be exposed to it. I have obviously missed it if it is.

If you’re like me, you’ve heard all kinds of media reports about how “inappropriate” the President’s speech is for students to hear, how it is “brain-washing”, etc. You may have also heard such comments from your friends and neighbors.

I encourage you to share the transcript and the speech itself with your neighbors and friends who have expressed their concern (if not outrage) about it. I think it’s fair to say that, once again, some in the media and in our communities have distorted the message in an attempt to wound the messenger.

To think that one child, much less thousands, across the country might miss an opportunity to possibly be inspired by the President of the United States to stay in school and strive to improve is truly unfortunate to say the least.

I have heard (but have not yet confirmed) that President Reagan and Bush-One gave televised speeches to students. I don’t know if the same school districts or superintendents expressing outrage or alarm about President Obama’s remarks expressed such outrage with the previous presidents.

Feel free to provide your thoughts on this issue to school districts and newspapers (in letters to the editor, etc.) to let your feelings be known and to set the record straight. In doing so, I urge you to not let your emotions overcome you. We don’t want the tenor of our conversation to become the tenor of those who want to demonize everything Democrats or the President say or do.

Thanks, Alan Pirtle, Monroe County Democratic Chairman ,President IDCCA

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Governor and Comptroller

Governor Pat Quinn and Comptroller & Governor candidate Dan Hynes (bottom photo) speak at the IDCCA Brunch.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chairman's Brunch

Speaker of the House, Mike Madigan, and Senate President, John Cullerton (bottom photo) address a crowd of over 1300 at the Illinois Democrat County Chairman's Association Brunch held August 19, 2009 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.

Scenes from the Chairman's Brunch

Alan Pirtle, President of Illinois Democrat County Chairman's Association, introduces keynote speaker Iowa Governor Chet Culver (bottom photo) to a full house.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association (ILDCCA) is proud to announce that they have made endorsements in the Democratic primary for United State Senate, Attorney General and Secretary of State.

For United State Senate, the organization has voted to endorse current State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

ILDCCA President Alan Pirtle stated, “We feel that Alexi Giannoulias has the vision, work ethic, and skill to help lead Illinois by serving in the United States Senate. He has shown tremendous commitment to the people of Illinois and their values such that he will serve all of Illinois in an effective and honorable way.”

“The Illinois Democratic County Chairmen Association represents the heart and soul of the Democratic party and Democratic values throughout the state,” Giannoulias said. “I truly appreciate their support and commitment to my campaign. I am committed to putting America on the right course by standing up to special interests and restoring opportunity to all Illinois residents after years of failed economic policies.”

For Attorney General, the organization has endorsed current Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

ILDCCA President Alan Pirtle stated, “We feel that Lisa Madigan has a proven track record of working effectively for the people of Illinois as Attorney General. Under her leadership, the Attorney General’s office has effectively and zealously prosecuted criminals, advocated for consumers, and helped protect those who are disadvantaged. She has served and will continue to serve the people of Illinois as an outstanding Attorney General.”

“I am honored to receive the support of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association,” said Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General. “The County Chairs represent people from every part of Illinois and see firsthand the struggles that families are facing today. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the coming years to help the people of Illinois and restore trust and integrity to Illinois government.”

In the race for Secretary of State, the ILDCCA has voted to endorse current Secretary of State Jesse White in his bid for a fourth term.

ILDCCA President Alan Pirtle stated, “Under his leadership, the Secretary of State’s office has implemented important innovations and technological advancements to make his offices more efficient and useful to citizens. We know that Secretary White and his staff will continue to work very hard to make his office the most efficient and effective office possible.”

“I'm honored to receive the support of this important organization. This endorsement is a crucial step in my quest for a fourth term as the Illinois Secretary of State,” Secretary White said. “I'm proud of my accomplishments and look forward to working with Democrats across the State and the people of Illinois to make state government work better for us all.”

The ILDCCA is a statewide grassroots Democratic organization whose membership consists of the Democratic county chairmen in Illinois’ counties.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Governor OKs increasing speed limit for trucks

A new law that Gov. Pat Quinn signed Friday will make it legal for trucks to travel along rural interstates at 65 mph, the same speed as other traffic.Existing law caps the speed limit for trucks at 55 mph. The change will take effect Jan. 1.For years, lawmakers have been pushing for the higher speed limit for trucks on rural interstates. Legislation reached Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s desk on three occasions, but he used his veto power each time to reject the idea. Lawmakers could not override his veto.Supporters of the proposal thought it might stand a better chance once Quinn became governor, so they sent him House Bill 3956. Until Friday, Quinn hadn’t indicated what he thought of the higher speed limit. Lawmakers and others who back the higher speed limit have said it would improve highway safety because all traffic would be moving at a consistent speed. The higher limit also would benefit the trucking industry because trucks could cover greater distances in a day, they said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Democrat State Candidates!!!!!!

*Dan Hynes
*Pat Quinn
*Jack Franks

Lt. Governor
*Mike Boland
*Tom Castillo
*Scott Lee Cohen
*Justin Oberman
*Art Turner
*Terry Link

Attorney General
*Lisa Madigan

*Robin Kelly

*Raja Krishnamoorthi
*David Miller

Monday, August 10, 2009

Candidates at the Fair

Michelle Coady
candidate for Circuit Judge

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Prize winners at our Fair Booth

Circuit Clerk Becky Jansen(right) presents Karen Klepzig her Gift Card

Winners of $50 Martin's IGA Gift Cards at our fair booth

Monday - Debra Lybarger
Tuesday - Angela Getz
Wednesday - Mary Higgs
Thursday - Janet Rich
Friday - Karen Klepzig

Prizes donated by

County Board Member - Larry Vahling
Circuit Clerk - Becky Jansen
County Treasurer - Steve Dasenbrock
States Attorney - Ed Deters
Public Defender - Lupita Thompson
Candidate for Circuit Judge - Mike McHaney
Candidate for Circuit Judge - Michelle Coady
County Board Member - Karen Luchtefeld

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Candidates at the Fair

Mike McHaney
candidate for Circuit Judge

Candidates at the Fair

Tim Dudley
candidate for State Senate in the 51 District

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Budget cuts

Highlights of budget cuts announced Friday by Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. More detail on how state agencies fared can be found at

* An estimated 2,552 layoffs, including more than 1,000 from the prison system.
* Twelve furlough days for all workers other than those on the front lines of government service.
* A $1.4 billion deficit remaining even after Quinn uses more than $3 billion in discretionary money to minimize cuts.
* Unpaid bills approaching $4 billion, bringing the total deficit to about $5.5 billion.
* A $225 million shortage in college scholarship funding.
* $600 million in cuts in both the Medicaid program and group health insurance program for state workers and retirees.
* Fewer inmates at state prisons, although the number to be released early was not announced. One small facility could be closed.
* $250 million cut from state grants, with details on the impact to many providers yet to come.
* Millions of dollars of cuts in funding for the court system, Illinois Arts Council, addiction treatment, adoption and other programs.
* $150 million restored in education cuts, mostly for early education, but a $145 million hole remains.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Campaign '10 Begins

Quinn and Hynes exchange shots over state finances in primary preview

July 25, 2009 Chicago Tribune

Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes traded the first shots Friday in next year's Democratic primary battle for governor over who's more culpable for the state's financial woes.The governor called Hynes a "no show" on tough budget choices, while Hynes' campaign accused Quinn of keeping quiet while disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich "drove our state into a ditch."The back-and-forth came after the Tribune reported Friday that Hynes, the three-term comptroller, has told top Democrats he will challenge Quinn for the governor nomination. Quinn, who twice campaigned as Blagojevich's running mate, was elevated to the state's top job in January when lawmakers ousted Blagojevich.The exchange represents an unusual early intensity in an evolving 2010 campaign -- a season shortened by a February primary. The rhetoric also provides an indication where each campaign is headed: Quinn is questioning Hynes' leadership from a lower-level statewide office, and Hynes is tying Quinn to the scandal-tainted Blagojevich.
Asked about a Hynes challenge in the governor primary, Quinn accused the comptroller of being among politicians "who just want to sort of drift along and not take tough positions.""When you get in the arena, you've got to make decisions," Quinn said. "You can't stand on the side of the road and not take part in tough battles. You can't be a no show. You can't just show up and say, 'Hey, I want to be elected to something.' I think you have to show you have the courage of your convictions to stand in the arena, take tough positions, do hard things because that's what the public demands."But Hynes campaign spokesman Michael Rendina disputed Quinn's characterization, noting Hynes has proposed $1.2 billion in cuts to the state budget along with $1.8 billion in new money by legalizing more casinos, closing business tax breaks and expanding the sales tax to luxury items. Hynes had been critical of inconsistencies behind Quinn's failed push for an income-tax increase and questioned why the governor hadn't made cuts to try to win public support."Gov. Quinn is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. After Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn spent six years in silence watching Rod Blagojevich drive our state into a ditch, it is puzzling that he describes a 50 percent income tax increase on Illinois families as leadership," Rendina said.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hynes reports $3.5 million in campaign fund

Comptroller Daniel Hynes says he has built up a campaign bankroll of $3.5 million as he considers running for governor.
Hynes said Monday that he raised about $900,000 during the first half of 2009.
That's comparable to incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn's $860,000.
But Hynes started out with far more in his fund. As a result, he has $3.5 million available, compared to $700,000 for Quinn.
A third possible Democratic candidate, Jack Franks, had $458,000 available. That's after raising $1.3 million, most of it from himself or from relatives.
Among the Republican candidates who have reported, Sen. Bill Brady leads the money race with $410,000 on hand.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Budget deal reached; workers to be paid


Fifteen days into the state’s new budget year, Illinois lawmakers Wednesday night finally cobbled together a new $26 billion spending plan that relies heavily on borrowed money and on Gov. Pat Quinn to spend it wisely.
The deal keeps the doors of state government open and will allow state workers to be paid. Quinn signed the payroll part of the budget into law Wednesday night.
“This budget tonight is the best we can do to get our work done,” Quinn said.
At the same time, the new budget will force state vendors to wait even longer to be paid for their services. Many state employees are still expected to lose their jobs, and human service agencies will still experience cuts, budget negotiators said.
Taxes were not increased, but lawmakers bemoaned the fact that the budget keeps the state in a precarious financial situation.
“We are not acting prudently here,” said Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo. “We are on the brink of a manmade disaster.”
Not everyone saw it as a disaster waiting to happen, though.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Governor signs $31B construction plan

CHICAGO - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed off on a $31 billion state construction plan that includes money for everything from bicycle trails and university buildings to a major overhaul of Illinois highways.
The plan is an effort to repair the state's crumbling infrastructure and create thousands of jobs.
Quinn projects the money will support 439,000 jobs around, though projections weren't immediately available on how many new jobs he expects the bill to create.
The bill won immediate praise Monday from many, including bicycle riders and advocates of higher education.
But gambling opponents were disappointed the construction plan relies heavily on a gambling expansion to pay for it.
Senate President John Cullerton calls the bill a bipartisan job creator.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

U.S. Sen. Roland Burris won't seek election next year

Embattled Democratic U.S. Sen. Roland Burris is expected to announce tomorrow that he will not seek election next year to the seat that he was appointed to by disgraced then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, sources said today.
The senator is scheduled to make his decision known at a 2 p.m. news conference at a South Side hotel in a "speech to Illinois youth," according to an advisory put out by his office late this afternoon.
A top source close to the senator said that since starting in the U.S. Senate, Burris wasn’t sure he could handle the grueling schedule of fundraising and trying to be a senator, especially in an environment where his popularity waned and “the tide was against him.”
Burris thought it would be very difficult to raise the campaign cash he’d need to win the Democratic nomination, let alone the general election, the source said. But Burris plans to stay in office until his term ends in January 2011, the source added.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Madigan Declines Senate, Gov Bids

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said today that family considerations caused her to pass on a run for U.S. Senate or governor and run next year for a third term in her current job.
“There was plenty of agonizing over my decision," she said at a Chicago news conference. “I have a job that I love right now and I also have a family that I love and I plan on continuing to serve as your attorney general because I think it’s absolutely vital to have an independent advocate in that office.”
She said the prospect of her father, Michael Madigan staying on as Illinois House speaker did not weigh into her decision. “No, I made a decision about what was best for me and what was best for my family and what I ultimately thought was best for the state at this point," she said.
Madigan’s decision stunned Illinois politicians, who saw her being groomed by her father for top statewide office in a state where he has been the longest-running speaker of the House.
Democrats in Washington, including her former state Senate seatmate, President Barack Obama, courted her for a U.S. Senate bid for the seat he once held.
Madigan initially rejected a bid for the U.S. Senate, saying she preferred to serve in the executive branch. But top Democrats in Washington began reaching out to her, contending she would be the best to assure the seat would stay in Democratic hands amid the political debacle that resulted in disgraced and ousted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris to the seat.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quinn rejects budget

Refusing to wear the collar alone for painful choices, Gov. Pat Quinn today said he’s rejecting a budget bill approved by lawmakers and directing lawmakers to cut $1 billion from state operations.
Quinn said he’s vetoing House Bill 2145 entirely with specific instructions for lawmakers to make cuts in state government, including for the General Assembly. He’s also sending out notices to lay off 2,600 state workers and asking workers - union and non-union - to take 12 furlough days as part of the cuts.
“It’s clearly way, way out of balance. They want me to do it,” Quinn said at a news conference in Chicago. “We’ve got to do that as a joint exercise.”
By rejecting the bill entirely, Quinn avoids taking all the heat for the cuts and tries to put the onus back on lawmakers. He could have used his amendatory veto power and signed the bill but made the cuts himself, but instead decided to veto the whole bill.
Quinn said lawmakers simply did not cut enough from government expenses at a time when Illinoisans are being forced to scale back.

Full Article...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Madigan blasts Quinn for 'flip flops'

House Speaker Michael Madigan today sharply criticized the governor for vetoing a key state budget piece, saying the governor’s “flip flops” on key issues are not helpful to resolving the mess.
Madigan responded to Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of Senate Bill 1197, which lawmakers sent him yesterday that provided huge shortfalls in spending for social services and other grant programs in state government.
Madigan said the governor should have approved that measure because it at least offered those grants some money, instead of not having any after the veto.

Bringing out the veto stamp

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn brandishes a veto stamp before using it on a portion of the state budget dealing with social services at his office at the State Capitol.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Silent sentry

A sentinel from the elite 3rd US Infantry marches as the sun rises above the Tomb of the Unknowns this morning at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. US Senator Ted Kennedy will be buried in Arlington near his brothers, former President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, on August 29, 2009.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I would like to share with you a newspaper article about our campaign appearing in today's edition of the Chicago Sun-Times. Our message of reform and renewal is spreading throughout the state of Illinois. Please share this article with your friends and family.
Best regards,
Will a name like Raja play in Peoria?

35-year-old Indian American Krishnamoorthi eyes state comptroller post, chance to make history

By: Abdon M. Pallasch, Political Reporter

They used to say Illinoisans south of Interstate 80 would not vote for names like Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama.
But the voters proved themselves open-minded.
How open-minded? Raja Krishnamoorthi, 35, Illinois' former deputy treasurer, is preparing to run for state comptroller, banking on voters' ability to appreciate his Harvard law degree and Downstate Peoria roots, even if they have trouble pronouncing his name.
"I think there's no question we're ready for a new name: Raja -- that's what we'll call him. It's much easier," said Newton Minow, the former Federal Communications Commission chairman who will chair his campaign.

[Please click here to read the remainder of the article.]

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