* Jim Nowlan has a great column about longtime lobster Dick Lockhart…
Full of spit and vinegar at 90, Richard Lockhart has for 55 years been the gold standard in lobbying Illinois government — that is, in getting the right information in the right format to the right people at the right time.
Lockhart has some suggestions for small organizations and individuals with interests in legislation.
A combat infantryman in World War II, Lockhart’s anti-tank company was overrun by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. As a prisoner of war, he suffered frost-bitten feet, which bother him to this day.
In 1954, Dick Lockhart worked on the successful effort to redistrict the Illinois legislature, which hadn’t been done since 1901.
A Chicagoan, Dick set up his own lobbying shop in 1958 and has carved out a niche of representing small statewide organizations that lack the big money to contribute heavily to candidates and officials.
His first client was the Mental Health Association of Illinois, and Dick is still their lobbyist.
In 1969-70 Dick served as a special consultant to the state Constitutional Convention. He convinced Con-Con president Sam Witwer to put the convention product to the voters in a special election, when only those with an interest one way or the other would vote for it, rather than in a general election, when the question would be weighed down by voters who knew nothing about it.
As a result, the 1970 Constitution was enacted.
* Unfortunately, Politico Influence misinterpreted the column as an obit. Its headline: ILLINOIS LOBBYING ‘GOLD STANDARD’ DIES.
Um, Dick ain’t dead.
Far from it.
In fact, he’s having a 90th birthday party at the Sangamo Club on February 5th from 5-7.