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Question of the day - Golden Horseshoe Awards

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012

* The Mark Beaubien Lifetime Achievement Award is a tie. Rep. Joe Lyons

Joe Lyons is respected by colleagues, staff, lobbyists, and just about anyone who spends any time with him. He gives everyone a fair shake and always tries to do his best. Who can forget his amazing display of rebellion and class last year during debate on his ultrasound bill. Regardless of your feelings on the issue, you have to respect that he walked from the podium to his chair and chastised the manner in which he and his bill had been treated. Hostile amendments were sent to various committees and called individually, but he handled the situation with class. His presence will be greatly missed.

* And Rep. Skip Saviano

There comes a time, and it doesn’t come too often, that a member of the General Assembly grows from Freshman to Institution. Then again, even as a Freshman, it seemed as though this Member was on his third term, working on projects and legislation, while his classmates were reading from the “Freshman Binder” about how the Committees worked. It never felt odd to say he was a “throwback” legislator even before he was sworn in, and continued to be someone who practiced the best ideals of a time gone by - bi-partisanship.

It would be quite lazy for any of us to say, “He is someone you want to have a meal with, have a drink with, tell stories with …” There is so much more to a 20 year legislative career for us to use that crutch to nominate.

Angelo “Skip” Saviano might be the last of a “Thompson era” type of legislators that understood that if we don’t get along, don’t find common ground, and refuse to get out of our comfort zones, then what do we expect to get done? Saviano could have just been the seat holder. He could have voted his District and his Politcal Operation’s wishes, been a “blue chip” Mushroom in games for others. We are all better off that Angelo “Skip” Saviano… was “Skip”. Saviano was able to parlay his positions to move important issues for himself and countless others.

You would be hard-pressed to find any House or Senate member, or House or Senate staff member for that matter, that Saviano, at one point or another, personally helped. A true testament of Saviano’s impact on the people of the General Assembly is that no matter what Caucus you are in, no matter what Staff you work for, Saviano’s phone numbers were in your Rolodexes. Same with the “traffic stop” others call a “legislative office”. Everyone that may stop by, has been on Saviano’s radar for one thing or another, and Saviano did his best to resolve even the smallest of issues… if it can help you.

Saviano is one of the few members that can pull off cooking dinner at the Mansion for members of the General Assembly, AND be the de facto “host” of the “End of Session” party and not have it seem forced. It is in his DNA to be collegial, to make things fun, and to show the appreciation of the hard work done.

Saviano was someone that others turned to when counting “noses” to see if they can count on his help, with the “and do you think you can get a couple others, I’m a few short”, would sometimes follow. Angelo “Skip” Saviano was the work horse that would win “Best in Show”, all the while working on many other things behind the scenes. A rarity that the Illinois House will greatly miss.

I would have thought this would be a nomination someone would make farther down the road. Politics is a strange business, suprises and change are part and parcel. This should be an easy choice for all.

Ask yourself, “Has Angelo ‘Skip’ Saviano impacted the Caucus, the House, his district, the State?”

“How often did I look for Saviano’s input, assistance, counsel?”

And … how often, did you have to say, “Hey, Skip, thanks.”

Here is that chance, to say “Thank you” … one more time.

Both men are outstanding legislators. And they’ll both be missed.

* The clear people’s choice for the John Millner Lifetime Achievement Award is Sen. Susan Garrett

Susan Garrett’s impact on the state of Illinois and on the Illinois Senate can be seen how her district sees her, and how, with their support, Susan Garrett has been able to impact all of Illinois.

Garrett has been true to herself, allowing her district to judge her on the votes she takes and the stands she makes, all the while being as engaging and impactful a seantor as those with less to worry about “back home”. Garrett has always been fair to the issues and process, and never was afraid to take on the controversial issues of the day. Garrett made the art of political Compromise, not “Compromising” to her and her views. Garrett was a rare legislator that could work to find solutions, and get a fair shake from beginning to end, looking for resloution, not style points.

Engaging back in her District, Garrett was not one to have office hours for a desk and chair. Garrett was out front, with Town Halls and Public Forums to give her constituents the opportunity be have an impact on the process, while educating them on why their state senator is on a side of an issue, and why it was important for her to be there.

Susan Garrett will be missed in the Illinois Senate, and I hope that the Freshman coming in will look at Susan Garrett as someone who “did it right”. Illinois can only hope that her model of excellence is copied by these new Freshman, because Illinois needs more than 1 of them to fill her shoes in the Illinois Senate.

Well said.

* Runner-up is Sen. Tom Johnson

He could actually qualify for either award, but he finished in the Senate so let’s go with the John Millner award. Rep and then Sen. Johnson always managed to both rage against the machine and work within it. In an era of wingnuts, Tea Partiers and loudmouths, more lawmakers could learn from Tom Johnson. Go ahead and try to describe him. Fiscally conservative but a social libertarian? A social liberal with a depression-era checkbook mentality? In my experience ranging from the House to the Prisoner Review Board to the Senate, he was wise and kind and outspoken and an individual.

I’ll take more of him on either side of the aisle.

Me too.

* OK, campers, we’re running out of time, so let’s move on to today’s categories…

* Best Illinois Congresscritter

* Best State Agency Director

Remember, intensity is what matters here. Make extra sure to explain your votes and please nominate in both categories. Thanks much.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


32 Comments
  1. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 1:11 pm:

    Best Congressman: Robert Dold. Always accessible. Always willing to listen to a position, even if he was initially opposed to it. Always out in the district meeting voters, elected officials of municipalities and groups. Not afraid to either buck his own party position to the detriment of party support, or to support his own party position to the detriment of what his constituents thought. Worked 16 hour days 7 days a week. A sharp individual who could quickly understand a subject and always tried to do the best. With the passage of time, he will be sorely missed by the 10th District and the State of Illinois.


  2. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 1:14 pm:

    Best State Agency Director: Mitchell Weis, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Faced two years of chaos with mass firings of Arbitrators and Commissioners by politicians, huge overhaul of the Workers’ Compensation Act and additional demands of his agency concerning insurance and other matters, and managed to keep the place running without turning away injured workers who required hearing dates, and did it all in a level headed manner. Not too many out there who can turn sausage back into steak.


  3. - Horseshoe Voter - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 1:34 pm:

    Agency Director: As emphatically as I can, I nominate Dr. Chris Koch at the State Board of Education. His has a clear vision for improved public schools in IL and he is a true leader. Through the Longitudinal Data System and every student taking the ACT and adopting Common Core Standards and leading the way on the new evaluations and taking on more responsibility in chronically failing districts…he is pushing IL schools to do better despite fiscal challenges. ISBE used to have a not-so-great reputation among legislators - Chris is working hard every day to change that and he deserves this.


  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 1:37 pm:

    Those who nominate in both categories are more appreciated. Just sayin…


  5. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 1:52 pm:

    Congress: Dick Durbin hands down. He is an honest public servant. These days, that’s saying alot. He truly seems to care about his constituents and Illinois. I will miss him if he moves to BO’s Cabinet.

    Agency Director: Unfortunately, I am mostly underwhelmed in this category, but Michelle Saddler had a mess to clean up when she became Director, and is in line to have a sizable portion of her budget cut along with staff levels.
    This can’t be an easy time to be at the helm.
    I met her recently in Springfield and was impressed with her professionalism and warmth.


  6. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:09 pm:

    Durbin has to be the big dog. High in DC leadership, but looks out for Illinois interests (witness getting the federales to pay cash money for an empty prison).

    Stands his ground under withering right-wing attack on such issues as the Dream Act and assault weapons, but is willing, like Charlie Brown kicking the ball held by Lucy, to keep trying to find common ground with the other party.

    Can’t really offer an informed opinion on agency directors.


  7. - Curious - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:17 pm:

    Congresscritter: Durbin. The man is the #2 Democrat in the U.S. Congress, a very close ally of the White House, friend of the POTUS, and continues to be one of the most eloquent and dedicated elected officials in our delegation. While there is a subset of people in this state who scoff at whom they refer to as “Do Nothing Dick,” I would ask that you name a single member of our delgation who is more in the know on the Hill, more in touch with the pulse of his constituents (remember he was fighting the banks long before the Great Recesssion and was pushing the DREAM Act long before the demographic shift that shaped the 2012 Prez election) and more comfortable speaking to whatever group invited him - and he shows up when these groups invite him, he always shows up. In ‘10 he did a bunch of events for candidates and came to one that I was working and literally held a group of 30 people rapt in attention talking about filibuster reform and cracking down on credit card fees. It was a master class. Senator Durbin hands down.

    Agency Director: Jay Rowell, Department of Employment Security. There might not be a more overlooked, underappreciated and undervalued agency than IDES. Jay has done yeoman’s work in an agency that is currently and constantly under fire as Washington debates another unemployment insurance benefits extension. Not only that, but he’s put out some seriously innovative stuff out there to help the thousands of Illinoisans still without jobs. There website, Illinois Jobs Link, is basically an online one-stop shop for people looking for work and employers looking for new hires - why hadn’t anyone else put thought of this? It’s not just about announcing the unemployment numbers, it’s about connecting workers with the right skill set ot the right companies and vice versa. Rowell understands that, maybe better than his boss, and has transformed the agency into something greater than it once was in a short period of time. He deserves this year’s horseshoe.


  8. - Donnie Veal Limone - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:22 pm:

    Congresscritter - Aaron Schock, as a staffer I have to deal with all sorts of weird constituent complaints and Schock and his office always get back to me in a timely fashion with a great answer. Aaron is also a young rising star out in DC who really fights for his district and State and he still shows up in his districts which is more than most of our DC types can say.

    Agency Director is a tough one, I would have to give it to Malcolm Weems at CMS. I would never ever want his job and trying to untangle the mess that agency is dealing with after years of mismangament would drive me crazy. Somehow Malcolm holds it all together and is working to streamline the agency. He is nice guy too which should count for something.


  9. - Homeboy - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:22 pm:

    Congress: Dick Durbin in a walk. Not only is he experienced, savvy, and more focused on party building activities than the actual party chairman — but he also knows when it’s time to turn the partisanship off, as he has this past year in stepping up to assist Sen. Mark Kirk’s office in constituent service and other areas as Kirk has battled back from his serious health issues.

    Best Agency Director: Amy Martin at Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Even though she’s only been there less than a year, she’s moved quickly to pull an agency literally and figuratively stuck in the past into the 21st century. She’s brought a keen marketing eye to promoting historic sites and finding new ways to bring fresh faces into Illinois History (last week’s Santa reading for kids at the Old State Capitol was a huge success, as was her earlier legislative reception at the Dana Thomas House). More importantly, she has the clout to get things done. Not only was she smart to keep Catherine Shannon with her at the agency, but she’s quickly assembled a very strong management team in a very short period, and has them focused on modernization at every level. After years of neglect, IHPA is an agency that’s going to be a lot better when she leaves than when she found it.


  10. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:36 pm:

    Congress: Dick Durbin is just a hardworking, decent, tough, representative of our state, and he does the best job of constituent service. He showed his normal class in helping Kirk and his staff thru some difficult periods.

    Director: Have to go with Julie Hamos. Took on a tough assignment in the midst of drastic changes at the national and state level.


  11. - Crime Fighter - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:45 pm:

    Best Congress Critter: Dick Durbin for the above-stated reasons and the fact that his staff are very patient and responsive. Sen. Durbin also brings so much dedication, decency, and intelligence to the table. These are valuable attributes in a time where being hostile to a decent and functioning government is fashionable (see Nugent, Limbuagh, Fox, National GOP & Tea Party)

    Best Agency Director: If the Auditor General’s Office counts as an agency I would have to say Bill Holland. Time and time again General Holland’s office points out costly missteps and wrongdoing by high-level perpetrators. If only the legislature, Atty, General, and Governor would pay attention to him, we could avoid many costly problems in state government. Otherwise this is tough call due to low standards set by Quinn, I can say anybody but Malcom Weems. This rising Blagojevich star has his fingerprints on a number of unseemly/illegal personnel actions starting from his first days at CMS, and there appears to be no end in sight. Weem’s is an example of what’s wrong with Illinois government.


  12. - sweaty freddy - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:49 pm:

    agency director: Chris Koch. He is respected and trusted by almost everyone who matters in the education field where there are so many conflicting factions. Stays focused even when roadblocks are thrown at him and keeps advancing policies that matter.

    Best Congresscritter: Aaron Schock. Won by more votes than any member of congress even with Obama rolling huge numbers in Illinois. Has become a political heavyweight for Repubs in DC with fundraising prowess and has leveraged this to claim influential assignments and advance major policies to the advantage of Illinois and his district.


  13. - Ernesto - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:54 pm:

    Congress: Jerry Costello. Retiring on his own terms, Costello has represented his constituents well over the years. He is in institution in S. IL. He leaves big shoes to fill. Even to this day, he continues to look after his constituents’ needs like he is still going to be around for another term.

    Director: Agriculture’s Bob Flider. Despite all of the crap he took and the rhetoric surrounding his appointment, Flider has shown persistent and solid leadership during the difficult days of the drought, working closely with USDA to assist farmers. Under his leadership, Ag successfully sought and obtained emergency FDA approval of corn blending sought by the state’s Agri-business companies. Grain tour export sales have exploded. The state fair had a record year. And, they’ve already booked Toby Keith for the next state fair. He’s been a strong Ag partner and has turned out to be one of Quinn’s bright spots.


  14. - Not It - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:54 pm:

    Congress — Tough, but I would have to say Senator Kirk because he has been through a tough year, and has allowed himself to keep his recovery somewhat public. He is keeping his head in his work while his body recovers and doing so in a very admirable way. I look foward to him re-joining the Senate and I wish I could be there the day he climbs those stairs.

    Agency Director — Julie Hamos without a doubt! Clearly one of Governor Quinn’s best appointments, she tackled Medicaid reform with true grace. She isn’t afraid of the deep policy dicussions, and she is is willing to learn all the little details. She cares about the patients, and she cares about giving them the best care the State can afford. She is always available to the public and is a true class act. If all agency directors were like her our State would be much better.


  15. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:56 pm:

    It’s Durbin for sure in Congress. Other commenters have eloquently made the case, but I would add the fact that I think Durbin would get a lot of votes from the men and women in Mark Kirk’s office too for all the support he’s provided this past year.

    For state agency directors, is Jan Kostner, formerly head of Tourism, eligible? I know she’s since moved on, but under her leadership, Illinois tourism numbers actually improved and were consistently a bright spot in an otherwide dim economic landscape these past few years. She wasn’t chasing headlines or publicity for herself, just quiety and effectively promoting Illinois nationally and abroad. IIRC, Illinois’ foreign tourist visitors exploded on her watch. Yes, it helped that the Euro was strong enough to make a Chicago vacation cheap, but she was doing a lot of things right to raise the profile, not just of Chicago but the whole state, in the eyes of Europeans and others. And she did this while her budget was being cut almost every year.

    Well done Jan!


  16. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 2:56 pm:

    Due to some brain cramp, I forgot about the simple decency that Durbin demonstrated regarding Sen. Kirk and his staff. Splendid behavior.

    He went further, though, working with Kirk on a bipartisan list of recommendations for a new U.S. Attorney and federal judges.

    He certainly did not have to do that. As the No. 2 guy in the Senate majority from the President’s party and home state, he could bigfoot federal appointments in Illinois. The fact that he does not says a lot about him.

    And here’s to Sen. Kirk for fighting the good fight, an inspiration to all of us for when we face true adversity. The dude has a lot of guts.

    Looking forward to his return to the Senate, where he can show some of those GOP “conservatives” what a real Midwestern Republican looks like.


  17. - reformer - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 3:22 pm:

    Malcolm Weems for director. In my experience, he’s a rare bureaucrat who actually follows up and gets things done, despite the overwhelming pressure of his job.

    For Congress, Joe “One-and-Done” Walsh should win for all the entertainment he has provided us. In just two years, no congressman in the country has said more outrageous things than our favorite Tea Partier.

    We probably should have discussed criteria before we started voting on best pols. Maybe others don’t think entertainment should count. The criteria I propose for legislators is a demonstrated ability to pass legislation, and a display of some political courage.

    In that last regard, I’m glad Tom Johnson got some recognition as runner-up. He voted to abolish the death penalty, and he led the drive in the late 90s, when he was in the House, to reform IDOC.


  18. - Roamin' Numeral - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 3:35 pm:

    Agency Director: Amy Martin at Historic Preservation. The Abe Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum is truly amazing, but sometimes we forget just how many other historic sites we have here. With a large “to-do” list and no shortage of board members, staff, volunteers, and various others to keep happy and enthused, she does it all with professionalism and a sense of humor. Amy Martin is very deserving of a Golden Horseshoe.

    Congresscritter: Ditto what those above said about Senator Durbin. Showed class while Senator Kirk dealt with his health issues. Like many others, I too am looking forward to Sen. Kirk’s recovery and return to the Senate.


  19. - 1776 - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 3:36 pm:

    Best director may be the easiest vote of all the Golden Horseshoes. Jay Rowell at IDES. He’s like Miguel Cabrera who just won the triple crown & MVP or Johnny Football who just won the Heisman. He was a “political” guy who got the job based on politics but has run a rock solid agency including overseeing the UI negotiations between business and labor. If If I was a Republican Governor, Jay Rowell would stay (or move up) in the Cabinet.

    Best congressman is tough because everybody hit .250 with 6 hrs and 43 rbis. I guess I would say Bob Dold who served as a moderate, worked across the aisle with Lipinski, and was one of very few who actually stood up and voted Yes on the Simpson-Bowles report to avoid the cliff.


  20. - Horseshoe Voter - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 3:48 pm:

    [Nominating in the other category so as to be more appreciated…]

    Congresscritter: Aaron Schock has gone from being Congressman Abs to someone who’s taken seriously, rallying young voters and encouraging his party to move away from extremist rheteoric.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 5:06 pm:

    Best Illinois Congresscritter - It’s not like his plate is empty. It’s not like he occupies his office waiting for the next election. Dick Durbin has carried more water for Illinois in the last year then most US Senators do in a 6 year term, and that is not hyperbole.

    Let’s look at what the Senior Senator has done; Been the #2 Ranking member of the Senate Majority. Been close counsel to the White House and Obama 2012, being a surrogate for both, and evenly and skillfully moving the message for both arms of the Executive and a national campaign. Been THE point person for Illinois, never, not once, not ever, complaining or exploiting, his colleague and friend’s medical condition.

    Not Once.

    Durbin carried Illinois’ water in the Senate, and allowing his colleague to recover, and encouraged him, even ensuring his enclusion on decisions, to ensure we Illinoisans understood Durbin was on “watch”, but not overshadowing his state-mate.

    Take a breath, because I doubt Dick Durbin has been able to this year. How lucky … how incredibly lucky Illinois, the Senate, his Senate colleague from Illinois, the Illinois Delegation, all of us … how lucky are we to have such a strong advocate, with the leadership, and grace he exudes, in Congress.

    Dick Durbin could have … could have … just gone all Beltway, did his minimum for his state, ensured his friend wins the White House again, and solidified his #2 Senate leadership at the expense of quite a few, figuratively and literally. Not once did I feel he did that.

    Thank you, Senator Durbin. How lucky are we … How so lucky.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 5:15 pm:

    Best Agency Director - Still thinking …will return.


  23. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 6:30 pm:

    I have to agree with Robert Dold and Joe Lyons! Bob Dold was my high school class president at New Trier in Winnetka 25 years ago! Joe and I worked together at the Cook County Bureau of Human Resources (he was the Training Director) Both are great men!!


  24. - Clearly - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 6:39 pm:

    Marc Miller at IDNR deserves it this year. For a legislature that is paralyzed around issues of revenue to approve a $2 increase in the license plate fee with bipartisan majorities in an election year is truly remarkable. It wouldn’t have gotten out of a committee if it hadn’t been for the work Miller has done to rebuild professionalism at the agency after the dark Blago years, and to educate legislators about the disproportionate cuts IDNR has suffered over the last decade. It will be exciting to see what Marc & IDNR can do now that they’re not desparately trying to keep the parks open with duct tape.

    Dick Durbin is not only the best member of the Illinois delegation (which includes several other stars) but one of the best in the country. He manages to be a floor leader and advisor to the President, top leader to Reid, key fundraiser for colleagues around the country, national D spokesperson, dogged advocate for many causes he cares deeply about, and a full-time advocate for Illinois.


  25. - Royce - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 7:06 pm:

    Best Director - I vote Erica Borggren from the Veterans Affairs Department. She was valedictorian at West Point, served our country honorably oversees, is brilliant, is a great public speaker, and is an outstanding spokesperson for a noble group of people, namely veterans. And to top it off she’s absolutely beautiful, which shouldn’t matter but it’s impossible not to notice.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 7:56 pm:

    Best Agency Director - I am guessing since Rich did not say he wasn’t….

    Bill Holland has one of the most difficult jobs in state government. The Office of Auditor General is all about finding where waste exists, and pointing out the irregularities of the business of government lay. Holland does his job with precision and skill, so much so, when he was reappointed, he even found himself, and tough act to follow. Working at a high level is nothing new for Bill Holland.

    As agencies and “head counts” and funding dwindle, we in Illinois are fortunate to have Bill Holland watching over and willing to make known where government is failing to meet obligations and wasting the precious resources necessary to meet other obligations.

    As we begin to focus on major issues of funding, and budgets, and compromise, I look forward to Bill Holland to be there to remind us, “Not so fast, here is what is really going on,” and we are better as a state for that.


  27. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 9:57 pm:

    It’s got to be Kelly Kraft at the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. Day after day, she makes the Quinn admin look good.


  28. - G. Willickers - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 10:06 pm:

    I’m going to echo what Clearly said about Marc Miller. IDNR needs a turn-around — so many of our state’s parks are true gems in not just the Midwest but the entire country. He’s off to a good start and literally has nowhere to go but up (I hope!).

    And so much has been said about Sen. Durbin that I’m going to have to echo with an “all of the above”.

    Advisor and sounding board/conscience to the President that he just helped get re-elected. Floor leader, #2 and passionate but pragmatic advocate for his constituents and the entire nation. “Elder statesman” back home, organizing the party that the current chairman has left to whither on the vine. Ally and reliable fundraiser at home and around the country … earning respect from both sides of the aisle. And, doing essentially twice as much work by helping a newly elected junior Senator from the other party after his debilitating stroke.

    You can’t even find 3 or 4 others in the delegation to put together that would, combined, hold a candle to this legislator’s legislator.

    That said - Please do not give a sympathy “runner’s up” to Sen. Kirk. As horrible and sympathetic as his illness is, and as heroic as his recovery and rehab is, he is by definition a shining example of how well “government-run healthcare” could work yet comes from a party that not only fear-mongers the very concept but also hopes to tear down anything that even comes close… (Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.).

    Sorry to be the one to say it but it needs to be said.

    I have a lot of respect for Mark Kirk but can’t help comparing him to a member of my family who suffered a stroke the year before him and, despite having what’s considered really good insurance, got shuffled out of the hospital and then out of rehab much too quickly. In less than a year the Senator’s care has brought him much, much further along than the average working stiff could ever hope for — even with “good” insurance.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 10:18 pm:

    - Michelle Flaherty -,

    You win. Understand? You. Win.


  30. - Dan Bureaucrat - Wednesday, Dec 19, 12 @ 10:18 pm:

    Dick Durbin: Nothing more needs to be said about Senator Durbin. He has a strong moral center, is a fantastic debater and and is a smart as a (Majority) whip. He’s the second most powerful person in the US Senate, yet he conducts all his business with the grace of a gentleman farmer. On all the important issues of the day, he is on the right side of history: he voted against authorizing the Iraq War, led the DREAM Act, is an active environmentalist, was an early enemy of big tobacco, an outspoken critic of interrogation techniques and more. As a person of conscience, he even changes his mind every now and then. I’ll never change my mind. Our Senator is one of a kind.

    Julie Hamos: Our state agency directors today are people fighting the odds and working overtime on slashed budgets. The degree of difficulty running an agency varies, but getting Illinois ready for Obamacare ahead of time plus taking our state through huge inevitable cuts in Medicaid has to be the hardest. Julie Hamos may be one of the only people smart enough to understand the fine print, bold enough to make needed changes and capable enough to bring warring parties together. She is a no-nonsense problem-solver and that inspires confidence in people around her. But she’s a policy wonk with compassion in her heart. Her priorities have always been to help poor working families. I truly believe no one else could do this job and that she is probably the hardest working person in the state. We are very, very lucky she is guiding this process.

    Both Durbin and Hamos are true public servants and Illinois is a much better state because of them.


  31. - I don't want to live in Teabagistan - Thursday, Dec 20, 12 @ 7:41 am:

    Malcolm Weems, CMS. CMS is a monster agency that was almost universally reviled before Malcolm got there. Because of his experience (stints at CMS and OMB), his Philosophy (CMS is a client service agency) and his demeanor, he has changed the perception of CMS


  32. - Holy snow storm batman - Thursday, Dec 20, 12 @ 8:49 am:

    Director Andrew Boron dept of insurance. He has stepped into his position knowing that there were major issues to be faced. With the upholding of the affordable care act, the state of Illinois opted to create their own health exchange that Andrew and his department has spent a great deal of time putting all the pieces in to place so Illinois is ready.

    Andrew sees this department as a resource for all Illinois residents for access to healthcare and a better way of life.

    When it comes to dealing with companies, Andrew has been able to sit down and listen to the issues at hand and try and work towards the best solution.

    He has done a remarkable job since his appointment earlier this yer and will continue to do so.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Money-changers in the sports temples
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* Dueling ads are no contest
* Paying the price for making bad hires
* Entrenched party portrays itself as the "reform" party
* Starting to gear up a bit
* Yesterday's blog posts

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        * Germany To Google: Can We Know Your Search Engine Algorithm, Please?
        * HTC One (M8) Champions League Collector’s Edition – ‘Nuff Said!

        * Gillaspie, White Sox solve Royals' bullpen
        * Out call on Viciedo confirmed on replay
        * High hopes, no set plan for Konerko's remaining ABs
        * Ace Sale lined up to make final starts on the road
        * Konerko honored by Clemente Award nomination
        * MLB announces Clemente Award nominees
        * White Sox starters lead the way in cutting home run rate


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        * Candidates need reality check on pensions - Chi.....
        * The Politics of Pot..
        * Joliet Chamber honors Slinkard..
        * Peoria woman highlighted in latest IDOT scandal..
        * Rauner Fulfills $1M Pledge..


        * 2014 MacArthur 'genius grant' winners unveiled
        * Teen eludes electronic monitoring, attacks student
        * APNewsBreak: Chicago DEA chief heading to DC
        * Southwest flight makes emergency landing at Midway
        * McLean County nixes marijuana cultivation center
        * CDC study: Americans' bellies are expanding fast
        * School bus driver killed during safety drill
        * APNewsBreak: Chicago DEA chief heading to DC
        * New subpoena issued for Ill. anti-violence program
        * Nik Wallenda to tightrope walk over Chicago River

        * Rauner questions medical marijuana program secrecy
        * New subpoena issued for Quinn’s anti-violence program
        * Evans: Eliminate conflicts of interest in legislature
        * State legislative panel delays decision on fracking rules
        * Quinn: Monitor not needed to oversee state hiring
        * Video of state lawmaker's tirade resurfaces in U.S. House race
        * Rauner’s call for firings of ‘illegal patronage hires’ would affect many in Springfield
        * Quinn, Rauner clash on business, hiring
        * Coaltion forms to push school funding reform
        * Rauner’s education plan raises eyebrows

        * American Airlines agents approve union
        * Southwest flight makes emergency landing at Midway
        * CME, floor traders settle lawsuit
        * Floor traders cave, settle suit against CME
        * Boeing, SpaceX to share big NASA contract


        * Man charged with beating, sexually assaulting ex-girlfriend
        * Naperville Council OKs new liquor rules
        * Wallenda will walk tightrope across Chicago River in November
        * Boy shot in chest in Hermosa neighborhood
        * Gold Coast boutique hit by burglars
        * 15-year-old boy shot, critically injured in West Garfield Park
        * No-homework policy improves home life for younger students at one CPS school
        * CeaseFire worker charged in diamond theft
        * Denied musical instrument, racist prisoner plays world’s smallest violin
        * 94-year-old jailhouse lawyer reflects on life of crime


        * Naperville sets new rules on bars, alcohol sales
        * Man, boy injured in city shootings
        * Family of man killed by Wheeling police SUV files suit
        * Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile in Will County
        * Scots, Scottish Americans in Chicago brace for Thursday's independence vote
        * Barefoot man flees traffic stop, eludes police for hours
        * Ex-banker gets prison for raiding garages of Lincoln Park neighbors
        * Hinsdale high school district stops investigating teachers who 'liked' Facebook post
        * White supremacist Matthew Hale wants to play violin in solitary
        * Well water testing urged for some McHenry Co. residents


        * N.J. Gov. Christie Stumps For Rauner In Springfield
        * I Like Illinois Website Debuts, In Time For The Election
        * Springfield Mayor Houston Points Out Sewer Improvements
        * Fracking Rules Action Delayed; Could Be A Sign Of Revision
        * Attacks Get Personal Between Quinn, Rauner
        * Who Owns The Rights To Vivian Maier's Photos?
        * Legislature Approved A $100 Million Tax On Business & Didn't Know It
        * Schools CEO: privatizing janitorial services not 'as smooth as we would like'
        * What's The Best Way To Help Kids In Struggling Schools?
        * Quinn Defends Public Education, Though He's A Product of Private Schools


        * Our Opinion: Carbon monoxide alarms belong in schools
        * Rauner questions medical marijuana program secrecy
        * New subpoena issued for Quinn’s anti-violence program
        * Evans: Eliminate conflicts of interest in legislature
        * Michael Gerson: Leading from behind the curve
        * State legislative panel delays decision on fracking rules
        * Quinn: Monitor not needed to oversee state hiring
        * Video of state lawmaker's tirade resurfaces in U.S. House race
        * Rauner’s call for firings of ‘illegal patronage hires’ would affect many in Springfield
        * Another view: New law might boost clothing recycling


        * Kroner's area volleyball Top 10
        * Bulletin board: Watseka to honor ex-coach
        * Teams of the Week: Unity boys' cross-country in spotlight
        * Athletes of the Week: Keeble and Rice
        * Tuesday's prep highlights: Sabers, Cochrane celebrate win
        * One person injured when car turns into path of motorcycle
        * New subpoena issued for Ill. anti-violence program
        * Groups stressing benefits of child safety seats
        * Electric assistance applications available
        * Mo. man sentenced in Pike burglary


        * (No heading)
        * Young White Sox players getting their chance
        * Akinola, Schaumburg take command at Fremd
        * No Cubs-Kane County resolution yet
        * New Kane County animal control director promises teamwork

        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. political fund fined nea...
        * Jackson Jr.'s political fund fined nearly ...
        * 'Celebrity Crime Files' Season Three, With...
        * Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sen...
        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. political fund fined nea...
        * Jackson Jr.'s political fund fined nearly ...

        * CFPB Accuses Corinthian Colleges Of Cheati......
        * CFPB Accuses Corinthian Colleges Of Cheati......
        * CFPB Accuses Corinthian Colleges Of Cheati......
        * CFPB Accuses Corinthian Colleges Of Cheati......
        * CFPB Accuses Corinthian Colleges Of Cheati......

        * Shangri La's Barr al Jissah ResortSpa to o......
        * ISIS fight: Congress to vote on arming Syr......

        * The [Friday] Papers
        * Fantasy Fix: Reality Intrudes
        * U of C, UIC Among Four Obama Library Finalists
        * New Poll Shows Quinn With 11-Point Lead Over Rauner
        * Illinois Education Association Endorses Schneider
        * Report: Wage Theft Costs U.S. Workers Billions Of Dollars Annually (UPDATED)
        * Activists Protest Near West Side Shooting Involving Chicago Police
        * Denzel Ford police shooting 3
        * Denzel Ford police shooting 2
        * Denzel Ford police shooting 1


        * New subpoena in federal probe of Quinn anti-violence grant program
        * Rauner calls on Quinn to halt secret medical marijuana licensing
        * BREAKING: Quinn in court filing says no to hiring monitor, stands by cronies
        * Governor Quinn, clean house
        * IDOT, Secretary of State and AAA Launch National Child Passenger Safety Week in Illinois - Statewide Effort to Ensure Proper Restraints and Save Lives of Illinois Children




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