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Question of the day

Friday, Dec 13, 2013

* The 2013 Steve Brown Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Government Spokesperson goes to Patti Thompson

I’d like to nominate Patti Thompson, the PIO for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. She has one of the most chaotic jobs a spokesperson can have dealing with the amazing flood of inquiries that come with disasters in the national media eye and the November tornados were no exception. Calls were coming on from around the globe (literally) and she was at it 20 hours a day for a week to make sure people were getting answers. On top of all that she has to maintain a good working knowledge of everything from school safety programs to the complexity of the nuclear safety programs. She keeps up a great socail media campaign and keeps the monthly preparedness themes relevant and useful. Great PIO!

* Runner-up is Rikeesha Phelon…

The Senate Dems have been out on a limb a number of times this year and she’s done a great job of articulating their position. She is tough and smart.

Congrats to both.

* Instead of a question today, let’s do a couple more categories…

* Best Illinois State Representative - Republican

* Best Illinois State Representative - Democrat

Rep. Jim Durkin was our GOP winner last year and now he’s the House Republican Leader. Rep. Elaine Nekrtiz was our Democratic winner last year and this year her dogged efforts helped make pension reform a reality. Pretty prescient votes on your part.

* Remember, this is about intensity far more than the number of votes, so make extra sure to explain your nominations in both categories. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    Greg Harris got it done this year and deserves the title of Best Illinois State Representative - Democrat. He put up with some pretty vile opposition and took grief from allies too. Questioned at almost every turn, he perservered and calmly and quietly counted votes until he hit the magic number. Always a team player, he was gracious in victory and shared the credit widely. He showed classy leadership on a tough issue.

    My vote for Best Republican is a tie between Ed Sullivan and Ron Sandeck. These two stuck to their guns and voted on principle over party. If more GOP legislators had this kind of courage, there would be more GOP legislators in Illinois.

  2. - Interested Guy - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    For Democrat, I’d say Christian Mitchell, from the 26th district. Co-sponsored the Marriage Equality Bill, the universal background check bill, and he made a tough vote (especially given his district) on pension reform. Also wrote a great op-ed with Kwame Raoul on mandatory minimums. Comes off as a serious legislator and he’s only 27.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    Best Illinois State Representative - Republican

    This year had many in the General Assembly take very tough votes, show incredible courage, and been seen as leaders during very trying times.

    My Runners-Up are Reps. Sandack, Rep. Sullivan, and Rep. Cross for their votes to put SSM over the top and try to defuse the notion that the GA GOP is not thoughtful in the votes they cast based on ideolgy that is suppose to be followed. Doing the right thing is tough when others think your right thing is not best, but standing up and be counted gets a strong Runner-Up vote for you all.

    The HGOP Caucus has been a big target for me for a long time. I have made it very clear my thoughts about the leadership, and what I had hoped to see from the Caucus Leadership.

    A change was made and Rep. Durkin won the Leadership spot with a unanimous vote of the Caucus. I was one of many to nominate Leader Durkin last year, and I am excited to see how this Cycle, under his leadership will fare.

    My vote is for the Member who made it quite clear that being unified as a Caucus will lead to better government, and a better HGOP. While courting his own voting bloc, there was a sense that both he and Leader Durkin wanted to lead the Caucus forward, and not stand still and hope for changes. While it would have been easy to have Sour Grapes, and fight for every Proxy vote and wrangle unitl the bitter end, Rep. Raymond Poe made the best decision for the HGOP to become a partner in governing, but making sure an unified Caucus emerged.

    Rep. Poe, a longtime friend of Rep. Durkin nominated Leader Durkin, stood in front the reporters to make it very clear that it was a new day, and we all need to pay attention. Leadership sometimes means doing what is best for all, when sacrificing what my be best for yourself. In a Veto-Proof Minority Caucus, Raymond Poe did more to bring the HGOP relevent than any vote, any issue, any soundbite, or any Member this year.

    I hope Leader Durkin turns to Rep. Poe often to get the pulse of “Springfield” and all that entails, and they both remember, while Leader Durkin works with all the Members to continue to move forward, Rep. Poe unity move for the 47 may have been one of the most important steps to begin that long journey to relevence and governing.

    I vote for Rep. Raymond Poe.

  4. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:18 pm:

    It’s got to be Greg Harris this year.

  5. - Boone's is Back - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:19 pm:

    Best State Rep (D)- Greg Harris for his patience and seeing the gay marriage bill through.

    Best State Rep (R)- agree with the above in regards to Sandeck and Sullivan. They exemplified courage and integrity this year by breaking with many big wigs in their party over the pension reform bill and gay marriage.

  6. - Decaf Coffee Party - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    Just wanted to congratulate Patti. Worked with her for a few years and she’s a consummate professional even in the most stressful times. She always was an advocate for transparency, which is sometimes rare in government. Good to see someone like Patti get recognized.

  7. - Richard - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:25 pm:

    Republican: Ed Sullivan - Very good on his feet during debate on the House floor and easily one of the most knowledgable members on revenue and property taxes, two issues few in Springfield grasp. Gotta admire his political guts on gay marriage even if you don’t agree with him.

    Dem - Mike Zalewski: Quickly dispelled any notion that he made it to Springfield strictly on family connections. Carried several heater bills last session and was at the center of two of the most important debates — pensions and guns. Politically moderate and well liked, particularly among the large group of relatively new members. Not inconceivable to see him in the Speaker’s chair someday or as Anita Alverez’s successor as CC State’s Atty.

  8. - anon - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:29 pm:

    I have to agree with others. Best Dem is Greg Harris. He worked diligently, honestly, and was able to see the big picture, rather than to cave to the brutal criticisms and threats from the very people he was trying to and successively helped.

    Best Republicans - both Sandeck and Sullivan deserve the award for their courage in supporting marriage equality. But I have to go with Sullivan for giving that amazing speech on the House floor.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    Best Illinois State Representative - Democrat

    I have nominated Rep. Greg Harris here before, and I have to say, Rep. Harris does not dissapoint in the least. I nominate him for Runner-Up this year for literally being all he is, and we see from him in his tenure in Springfield. Rep. Harris does his job so effectively, that those who refuse to see beyind today, will be outmanuvered by Greg Harris tomorrow. Knowing the issues and voting them when they are ripe, and not when they are “required” is really all you need to know about Rep. Harris, and that is quite a bit.

    My vote goes the Representative who understands better than any the idea of voting a Bill ripe, and also understands that moving 3 very difficult bills through to passage is heavy lifing personafied.

    This has been a trying year for this Member, given all the political aspects of decisions made or decisions not. As the landscape seemed as though the forces taking him to task were all converging form the hills to the valley he lay in waiting, Conceal Carry passes. As those with limited understanding of the nuances of cobbling votes screamed, and blamed and helped their opposition at times, the SSM Bill passes, and when this Member spoke on Pension Reform, it was clear he was making sure he had his noses where he wanted them.

    Three very different bills. Groups with very little, if anything in common, and supporters and detractors pounding at the doors like waves crashing against the rocks, with no time to take a breath.

    State Representative Michael Madigan is my nominee.

    I had thought about who for a while, but it was - wordslinger - and the pointing out of how all three of these very important issues had a very close link to Michael Madigan and how many representatives could get these 3 very different bills throught the Illinois House of Representatvies? Twice the nuber of “cats” to herd, twice the headaches to gets Bills ripe.

    Representative Madigan should win for being the catalyst as a Member of the 118, and not the Speaker, because frankly, I can’t think of another member that could pull off this hat trick even with the gavel, velvet or not.

    I vote for Representative Michael Madigan.

  10. - dave - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:39 pm:

    Dem: I go with Greg Harris for reasons already mentioned, but also for his more quiet but also huge role on the human services approprop committee.

    But honorable mention has to go to Kelly Cassidy. The work that she did all summer, criss-crossing the state to meet with legislators that were on the fence on marriage equality. She worked hard all summer and played a HUGE role in pushing the freedom to marry across the finish line.

    GOP: Sandack and Sullivan, for reasons above. Early on they took public and strong positions for mariage equality, and showed real courage and leadership.

  11. - Soccermom - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:39 pm:

    Greg Harris. Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.Greg Harris.

    (Note intensity)

  12. - thechampaignlife - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    Dem: Jakobsson. Maybe personal bias but something has to be said to leave your dying son’s side to cast a vote.

  13. - Anon - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:51 pm:

    Madigan — a giant among Liliputians

    Sandeck — for earning the wrath of IR.

  14. - superanon - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    Madigan, no doubt.
    Guns, gays, & pension, all the mushrooms are still safe and sound, labor’s cornered, repub’s are still lost, remap is solid, lisa’s no longer a distraction, cullerton’s back in line, metra (what metra?), what a year!
    2014-election, supreme court ruling, tax extension, city pension, the work never ends.

  15. - Obama's Puppy - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    Dem Rep: Jay Hoffman
    Rep Rep: Wayne Rosenthal

  16. - Miss Marie - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    I’m torn between Rep. Harris and Rep. Jakobsson. They are both wonderful public servants and just the nicest of people. I have the deepest respect for both.

  17. - Soccermom - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    Rep. Jakobsson would also be worthy. What a strong and principled woman.

  18. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    On the Dem side, I have a tie vote. Greg Harris and Mike Madigan. Harris was gracious throughout even in the face of very strong criticism from his own side. He understood their frustration, shared it, never criticized them and kept working. He was gracious in victory as well. That being said, victory on this and every other big ticket item wouldn’t have been possible without the Speaker. If the award is for the whole year (I think it is), it’s hard to imagine anyone who worked harder on more issues. SSM, while important, was one issue. The Speaker’s plate was completely full. I can’t easily choose, so I’m nominating both.

    For GOP, I nominate Darlene Senger. She’s not flashy or loud, but she works hard. She’s got a daunting primary race in front of her for Congress, but she spent the time it took to fully participate in the Conference Committee work on Pension Reform. I don’t think a lot of the posters are going to spend their votes on anyone who supported the PR bill, but every member of that group (many who it cost time out on the campaign trail) deserves credit. I like Sandack for being an open (maybe too open at times) guy. I could vote for him notwithstanding his SSM vote. I think he’d be the first to tell you he was no more heroic with that vote than every other member who passed it in either party. Sandack would be my runner up. It takes more than one vote on one issue for me. Ron’s been in the right place on most and exactly where he said he’d be when it came down to pushing a button. Darlene had a very strong legislative year, worked hard and quietly got it done. She gets my vote for the GOP.

  19. - Bipartisan - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    Greg Harris is the obvious and most deserving choice. He stuck to his guns and got the job done for Equality. On a similar note, I think Ron Sandack’s guts make him a great choice on the GOP side.

  20. - Loop Lady - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    Best Dem: Greg Harris had a difficult, if not eventually successful year.

    I must tip my hat to one the smartest, toughest woman in the statehouse, Elaine Nekritz…she is a workhorse and it was pretty clear how much heavy lifting she did for the Speaker on the pension issue…she is quite the leader…

    For the GOP I’ll go with Senger as well…she was cautious (strategic)on the pension committee and I have to take back my comment on why did folks from her district elect her…quietly effective…

  21. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    I’m split between John Bradley and Greg Harris. Harris did a masterful job, and made headlines, with the SSM bill; however, Bradley has been equally remarkable, if not more so. He has been bumped up to Asst. Majority Leader, he chairs Revenue & Finance when there is not much of the first and resistance to the second, AND he shepherded the fracing bill through a difficult agreed bill process and got it passed and signed. Plus, those suits…

    So, my vote goes for Rep. Bradley.

  22. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 2:38 pm:

    Have to go with Greg Harris. He not only passed landmark legislation like the marriage bill, but what is not so known is is work as an Appropriation Chair and the headaches and demands that going along with that.

    He spent countless hours working with the state human services agencies crafting a budget that protected vital services at a time many were calling for more cuts. He also crafted legislation which made key changes in how abuse and neglect of those with disabilities is reported. When he was done crafting the bill, he moved it through the process quickly and without asking for any credit.

    The work on human services issues is not flashy and is at times gut wrenching when dealing with issues that have profound impact on people’s lives yet Harris still does it, does it well and does it without drawing attention to his work.

    Harris had a year many lawmakers can only dream about.

  23. - walkinfool - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 3:40 pm:

    Dem: Greg Harris with his work on human services and appropriations, is not a one-trick pony. He is hard-working, courteous and respectful to all, graceful under pressure from his own constituents, and pulled off a major victory with the marriage bill.

    Runner up: Nekritz, who never weakened on creating bi-partisan support for the pension bill, and for being one person who can, with logic, evidence, and force of character, actually move the Speaker from previously held positions. Second only because she won last year.

    Rep: Patti Bellock: we’d be nowhere in Human Services, or Medicaid reform without her. She’s tough and responsible, without losing any of her care for the human side of issues. Others pretend; she delivers.

  24. - A modest proposal - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 3:58 pm:

    Greg Harris: if it doesn’t go to him that would be almost as much of an injustice as denying gays the right to marry.

    Dan Brady: this guy knows how to do the basics better than anyone else. He gives his constituents top notch service. He is easy to work with. And he puts on one hell of a chicken fry.

  25. - Just Me - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 4:33 pm:

    How does Greg Harris not win this award? The way he maneuvered all the complex personalities of the equal marriage vote was amazing, while still charging a hugely important appropriations committee, and sponsoring a host of other important bills. He received not one, but two, heartfelt standing ovations from the full chamber, which is something I’ve never seen before.

  26. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 6:15 pm:

    For Republican, I vote for Ron Sandack, who stood against his party, which is falling out of favor with voters in many ways. Mr. Sandack has good sense enough to see that being on the losing side of issues risks harming the future of the party.

    For Democrat, I want to vote for Greg Harris, for his perseverance, hard work and patience in passing SSM. Rep. Harris advanced the American purpose, the guarantee of equality under the law. Huge.

    I want to vote for Harris but will instead vote for Madigan. Madigan is a closer. He made sure that SSM and pension reform passed. He voted for MMJ. He proved his worth as a leader. He took a stand against corporate welfare and has the quote of the year, to me. When he was told that ADM wants an answer on tax breaks by the end of the year, he said: “Okay, well that’s nice.” Brusque.

  27. - SonofSuperAbe2014 - Saturday, Dec 14, 13 @ 9:52 am:

    Sullivan & Sandack get my vote for Republican legislators of the year. Their votes on marriage equlaity and pension reform stood in stark contrast to many in their caucus

  28. - Doichef - Sunday, Dec 15, 13 @ 8:04 am:

    Republican: Norine Hammond. She is dynamic, works well across the isle and is nobody’s fool. She has the stones to stand up for what she believes in and serves her constituents well.

    Democrat: Brandon Phelps. He gets it.

  29. - Political Girl - Sunday, Dec 15, 13 @ 4:48 pm:

    For Republican I vote for Ed Sullivan. With the Gay Marriage issue he spoke out early when he didn’t have to and told the world why he was voting and that he didn’t care if it cost him his job all while going against his party. That’s leadership.

    For Democrat I vote for Mike Zaluski. If you thought he was just a kid following in daddy’s shadow you greatly misjudge him. He has been at the center of tons of bills that needed heavy lifting.

  30. - Observer - Sunday, Dec 15, 13 @ 5:24 pm:

    Republican: Rep. Ed Sullivan. While most floor leaders historically just drone on, both sides of the aisle actually listen to Sullivan because he is to-the-point and has a thoughtful perspective. Furthermore, as seen with the death penalty, marriage equality, and pension reform, he is not afraid of a tough vote.

    Democrat: Rep. Brandon Phelps. His tireless efforts on the gun legislation was a fresh breath of bipartisanship for Illinois.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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