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Behind the attack

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014

* Department of Agriculture Director Bob Flider has been under fire recently by Bruce Rauner because he is not a farmer

While some farmers admit they like Flider, they question his level of agriculture experience.

“I like the young man who’s ag director, but he has no farm background. If you’re going to have an ag director, have one that knows the difference between a cow and pig. Does that make sense?” said Tom Donnell, a farmer from Coles County.

Rauner recently addressed a group of farmers and state agriculture industry leaders in Logan County

“The Department of Agriculture is not run right,” Rauner said.

He suggested the problem lies with the man in charge.

“How about we have farmers and farm families in charge of the Department of Agriculture. How about if we do that? Put competent people in charge of the government who are there for the right reasons,” Rauner said.

First of all, quoting a farmer at a Rauner event isn’t exactly dipping into a pool of average farmers, although considering that most are Republicans, it might actually be accurate.

* But should being a farmer be a necessary requirement to run Ag? Flider defends himself

“As a legislator, I worked very closely in agriculture and one of the things I’m most proud of is that when I was appointed to this position, I had all the major ag groups support my confirmation,” Flider said. […]

“I know how to build partnerships and that’s what we’ve done. I think that’s what folks in agriculture would tell you. When times were tough during the drought, we worked with FDA to save hundreds of millions of dollars worth of corn that otherwise would have gone wasted,” Flider said.

* And former Republlican state Rep. Jim Sacia leapt to Flider’s defense in a recent op-ed

Throughout Bob’s tenure, we served together on the Conservation & Agriculture Committee, as well as many others. I served as minority spokesman on Conservation & Agriculture, and regularly discussed issues affecting the ag community with Bob.

Bob is a thoughtful, dedicated, very hard-working public servant. His observations were always clear, concise and thought-through. I respected him then; I respect him now. The allegations that he was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn and is serving with no direct experience are totally without merit.

To insinuate that being a farmer would make one a better ag director ignores the importance of his strong rural roots, his prior leadership roles including Mayor of Mount Zion and his dedicated work as a state representative. Bob serves as the director of agriculture with dedication and exceptional competence. He listens to the issues, observes the lay of the land — pun intended — and acts decisively.

Though I retired from the House in October 2013, my involvement in agriculture and observation of the political process remain.

* The Champaign News-Gazette, however, piled on

It is, of course, relatively common for ambitious politicos who find themselves between stints in elective office to take high-profile administrative jobs in government for which they have no real qualifications. For equivalent positions in the private sector, most of them wouldn’t make it past the first job interview.

Some defend this approach on the grounds that it’s impossible to separate politics from politics. But it ought not be impossible to separate the administration of government from politics. Illinois is virtually a failed state, and one reason for that is the extent to which our elected and appointed officials have made short-term, politically expedient decisions that have had disastrous long-term consequences.

That has to stop. One way to do so is by upgrading the administrative quality of state government and getting the biggest bang for the buck. That Rauner plans to do so speaks well of his vision for changing the current business-as-usual approach.

I think there’s a case to be made for appointing the “best and brightest” to state agency directorships. However, those policy wonks often don’t make great managers, and they often find out the hard way that navigating Illinois’ political waters can be treacherous. Flider was a lobster before he was a legislator, so he really knows the ropes. That’s a plus on his side.

* And if you actually read Rauner’s ag policy brief, he heaps lots of praise on the state’s all-important economic sector. He has one quibble…

When drafting rules and regulations, our agencies should utilize science-based decision-making, and not knee-jerk politics, both for crop farms and for livestock

Yet, he never explains what those damaging “knee-jerk politics” actually are. It’s empty rhetoric.

* One more item from his ag policy report

Especially for small family farms, innovation and entrepreneurship can make the difference between getting by and having to give up the farm. Activities like making and selling apple butter from their own trees or baking pies from their own pumpkins are precisely the sorts of activities the state should be celebrating. Creative agri-tourism provides the opportunity for farmers to share their hard work with the rest of the world.

Isn’t that a bit like Mike Dukakis going to Iowa and preaching about growing cranberries to a bunch of corn farmers?

* But back to the topic at hand. Farmers, like pretty much all special interest constituencies, love to be pandered to. And telling farmers that only a farmer can run Ag is basically just that, a pander.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


51 Comments
  1. - A guy... - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    Ultimately, Farmers, Ag guys, want one of their own. That makes them no different than anyone else. The deadliest of all of the deadly sins is pride. If you ain’t squeezed an udder at 5am and completed an average work day before breakfast, you ain’t one of them. They know it, you know it, and the only one suited to sacrifice one of their lambs is a dude who’s bred one. Right or wrong, it’s pretty basic.


  2. - Anon - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    If Rauner is elected governor, we’ll see if politics enters in to his appointments. Or if he just searches for the most competent administrators, even if they are independents or Democrats. I know what the state GOP is hoping for.


  3. - Anonymoiis - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    ==Isn’t that a bit like Mike Dukakis going to Iowa and preaching about growing cranberries to a bunch of corn farmers?==

    Except there are farmers in Illinois who do a significant amount of business with apples, pumpkins, and other produce…so I think that comparison is apples and oranges.


  4. - AnonymousOne - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    Sorta like the stretch of a multi-millionaire understanding how folks living on an average 40K pension exclusively can easily take a cut in income. What would he know?


  5. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    ==Especially for small family farms, innovation and entrepreneurship can make the difference between getting by and having to give up the farm==

    Innovation and entrepreneurship costs big money in the ag sector Bruce. “Small family farms” aren’t doing any innovating and the idea that the Jones’s are going to compete with Monsanto, ADM, etc. is nonsense.


  6. - walker - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    All Rauner knows about agriculture is how have a manager run an investor’s farm at a loss, to receive government subsidies, and create deductible losses for income tax purposes.

    The pandering, and the hubris of the man! Is there anything specific he has to criticize the Illinois Dept. of Agriculture or Flider about? We in Illinois are doing pretty well, versus our state competitors, though you’ll never hear a farmer say anything about how well he’s personally doing.

    Rauner ought to just praise farmers, say what he knows about ag exports and commodities markets,(many farmers are more expert than the traders in Chicago), and be silent on the rest.


  7. - Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    Pandering, or does he have a point about former legislators being promoted to head a department at a significant pay increase, a practice common and accepted here in Illinois? Is the fact that such a practice is common and accepted make it a correct practice? Not everyone thinks so.

    Julie Hamos has had issues with the agency she is now overseeing. A former legislator whose appointment is being held up by members of her own party? I never quite understood what the problem is over that one.

    Is the fact that such a practice is common and accepted in Illinois the real issue here? And should that change?


  8. - Jimbo - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    So, Rauner believes one needs to have farm experience to lead the department of Agriculture. Okay, can we expand upon that and say that one should have state government experience before leading state government as governor?


  9. - Responsa - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:07 am:

    Hmmm. Patronage or pandering? Talking farming to non-farmers or talking farming with non ag-ec people is different than talking farming to actual farmers or farm economists. I think Rauner’s right on this one. A farming/ag education background of some sort is desirable to run the state Ag. Dept. Most farmers already truly believe this, they know what regulations are problematic and stupid, so Rauner’s just reinforcing their existing thinking. Otherwise, the occupant of the AG job can be viewed as sort of just one more more example of patronage, can’t it?


  10. - Shark Sandwich - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    Too bad he wasn’t giving out this advice over the last few decades. Imagine if all those folks who lost the ‘family farm’ had known they could have saved it by selling apple butter and pie!

    That said, I ‘d give a trillion dollars for some of my great grandmother’s apple butter. It’s just not available any more. :(


  11. - Soccermom - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    They make wonderful apple butter in Ohio. Does Rauner have a house there? Maybe he could run for Governor of Ohio?


  12. - Marty Funkhouser - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    Yeah, and bus drivers ought to be the only ones who direct the Department of Transportation.


  13. - NotRMiller - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Rauner should be blasting Quinn’s choice to be interim IDOT Secretary. He selected someone who doesn’t know the difference between asphalt and concrete..


  14. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    Having a farmer in charge of Agriculture is like having a hunter in charge of DNR. Maybe they understand the issues some but no guarantee they can manage an agency or the politics.

    There’s no guarantee a former legislator can do better but IMO Bob Flider has done a better job at Ag than Joel Brunsvold, another former legislator, did at DNR.


  15. - transplant - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    Being the director of Ag has as much to do with actual farming as being police chief has to do with writing traffic tickets.
    These are administrative roles.


  16. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    Bruce Rauner bought our farm
    E-I-E-O
    And on this farm, there was a cow
    E-I-E-O
    So he sold that cow, sold the pig
    Burned down the barn, put in a drill rig
    Bruce Rauner bought our farm
    E-I-E-O

    Bruce Rauner bought our farm
    E-I-E-O
    And on that farm, there were some trees
    E-I-E-O
    So he chopped them up, sold the wood
    Put in a nursing home that was no good
    Bruce Rauner bought our farm
    E-I-E-O

    Bruce Rauner bought our farm
    E-I-E-O
    And on that farm he leveled the house
    E-I-E-O
    He put up an airport, an interstate
    Then sold them off for a lower tax rate
    Bruce Rauner bought our farm
    E-I-E-O


  17. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    == making and selling apple butter from their own trees or baking pies from their own pumpkins ==

    Baked goods? Have we learned nothing from “cupcake girl”?

    Ye gods, man. You can’t just start baking stuff and selling it these days in Illinois. Not without the proper local ordinances, permits, etc.


  18. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    =Especially for small family farms= This really demonstrates his lack of knowledge as it pertains to farming. There are few small family farms in Illinois anymore. But, maybe that depends on how he judges small.


  19. - Toure's Latte - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    What if you own farm land and lease it out to farmers? If you know soils, ag infrastructure, and basics of livestock, what is the big deal that you have to be a farmer?


  20. - McLean Farmboy - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    The line about regulations and farms is actually his strongest point in an otherwise puff piece. If a farmer grows melons, he can sell whole melons. But, if he cuts a melon in half, that is “processing” and must be done in a commercial kitchen and the halves would need to be shrink-wrapped and properly labeled (including nutritional information) in order to be sold legally in the state of Illinois. Extending the marketing season through value-added processing, whether making pies or even, dare I say it, canning{gasp} is so onerous for growers due to both state or county health department rules as to be a pipe dream. In my county farmers selling directly to consumer or retail increased almost twenty-five percent, but farms selling value-added were almost halved from 2007 to 2012. And while they still only represent about five percent of farms in McLean County (the heart of corn and soybean country) these farms are growing in number and value of gross sales.

    On the director point, however, the first question that should be asked is, What does the Ag Director actually do that can be influenced by political leaning? Does the Bureau of Animal Health write different exhibition rules for livestock based on whether the governor has a D or R after it’s name? or the Bureau of Weights and Measures? How about the Bureau of Marketing and Promotions? All government manages would be better off if they simply learned to leave the people below them that make them look good alone. That is not dependent on political leaning.


  21. - Toure's Latte - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    ==- VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:21 am:==

    Best Quinn commercial so far. Change Bruce to Brucey and run it. Have little kids sing it. Good work VM!


  22. - Responsa - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    Can any one credibly argue that having a competent proven administrator with an agriculture/ag ec background would not be the most desirable of all candidates for the top state ag job? Can anyone credibly argue that it should not be very possible in this farming state (which also happens to have one of the finest ag schools in the world in the U of I) to find such an individual to take the top state ag job??


  23. - Norseman - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    The problem with Julie Hamos is that contrary to her personal feelings she’s had to manage budget cuts which negatively affect the constituencies of Democratic minority members.

    Kudos to Jim Sacia for responding honestly rather than politically to the issue of Flider’s qualifications.


  24. - LincolnLounger - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    It’s very interesting to have a dialogue about pandering on Rauner’s part when the subject matter is the King of Panderers, Bob Flider.

    A nicer guy you’d never meet, but Flider has the political principles of a windmill. A staunch Republican activist working for Illinois Power magically, at the behest of former Rep. Julie Curry becomes a Democrat overnight. Her pushing his appointment almost became the scene of a civil war among Democrats in Macon County because of his long Republican history and fundraising.

    He flip-flopped on issues constantly, including the income tax increase against which he had expressed clear opposition to but sold his lame duck vote for Ag Director.

    Plenty of pandering going around.


  25. - Black Ivy - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Leading a State agency like the Department of Agriculture requires a broad array of skill sets and expertise. At minimum, Bob Flider should have some documented background in understanding the agricultral industry and exposure to real-life farmers. Long and short, Rauner makes a valid point.


  26. - A guy... - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    ===transplant - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    Being the director of Ag has as much to do with actual farming as being police chief has to do with writing traffic tickets.
    These are administrative roles.===

    Except the police chief has in his past has written traffic tickets. Ever heard of a “Cop’s cop”. For more enlightenment, check out Jody Weis.


  27. - Jimbo - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Responsa, can you seriously argue that he doesn’t have an “ag background” after serving on the ag committee? Do you think someone with an ag degree would be better suited to work with the political system to advance agency priorities? Directors have experts on staff who know more than they do, they take the advice of that staff and then work within the political system to advance an agenda based on that advice and the governor’s agenda. The former rep has political experience as well as experience on the ag committee. He’s uniquely qualified to run the department. If you want to get into bad former rep appointments, let’s talk about Hamos or Granberg why don’t we. You might have something there.


  28. - Conservative Republican - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    ==Flider was a lobster before he was a legislator, so he really knows the ropes.==

    Actually, I would consider that an additional demerit, rather than an additional qualification.

    This blog can sure be a real “alternate universe”. Not only is it appropriate to put the spotlight on this appointment, but the fact that Quinn has rewarded lame duck session legislators with plum state agency appointments, too numerous for me to keep count, is an abomination. These appointments are all about political payback, not the best interests of the state and its citizens.


  29. - sal-says - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    == * Department of Agriculture Director Bob Flider has been under fire recently by Bruce Rauner because he is not a farmer… ==

    Uh, OK ?

    Rauner has NO, ZERO government management experience, but he thinks he’s the best candidate to ‘lead’ IL?

    Rauner won’t illuminate has plans, especially with respect to IL finances, but the Ag Director is leading and making decisions daily?

    Rauner has more than enough apparent skeletons in his private business closets, just like many politicians, but he thinks he can criticize folks doing their jobs daily in IL state government?


  30. - Captain - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    You can not take politics out of appointment process. While Agriculture background is helpful these agencies have extensive staff expertise. Being a director is about management ability and utilizing those staff. A better argument against many legislators appointments is lack of management experience.


  31. - Anon - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    We’ll see how indignant Quinn’s Republican critics are if and when Gov. Rauner makes obviously political appointments. Is there anybody who thinks that a Gov. Rauner would not be influenced by political considerations in making appointments?? Let’s not be naive.


  32. - Responsa - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Jimbo–if you can, try to take Rauner out of it completely. I’m sorry, but the idea that the top ag job in one of the nation’s most important farming states should be filled with a professional administrator with serious ag knowledge and experience is such a no-brainer to me that I honestly cannot believe we’re even having this discussion. :)


  33. - jimlion - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    I just read Rauner’s policy puff piece and as usual, it avoids the real and thorny issues of agriculture like livestock facility siting, GMO consumer acceptance and nutrient regulation. But I can accept his puffery versus the reality of PQ’s administration hostility to Livestock production. In regards to Bob Flider, he may be a nice guy—I didn’t know him—but as the spokesman for ag in a major state like Illinois—he is an embarrassment. I’ve heard him speak many times in small and large venues and he is not up to the task. As far as the ag groups signing off on him–it was more the guy we knew, rather than the devil we didn’t situation.


  34. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    If I remember correctly, the Future Farmers of America changed its name some years ago to just the letters FFA in order to make the point that the organization was not just for future farmers. Any youth with an interest in any aspect of agribusiness or agri-science was welcome to join. “Agriculture” goes way beyond just family farming and includes animal and plant science, chemistry, etc. so I think the notion that the director of Ag MUST always be a current or former farmer is a bit shortsighted.


  35. - DS Politico - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    If Quinn is reelected, I would look for Senator Sullivan to get the Director of Ag. slot.


  36. - LCP45 - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    Ag is the biggest business in the state…farming is alot more than planting seeds and reaping a harvest…in the age of food conglomerates, it doesn’t hurt to have someone around the agency that knows the players and the business…if this is the worst Rauner can say about Quinn’s appointees, his staffers aren’t working too hard…yeah, Bruce really cares about Ag interests in so far as they’re a part of his stock portfolio


  37. - Jimbo - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Responsa, this isn’t some utopia where we do double blind interviews for directors and after they take the job they are left to their own devices to run agencies. Directors are political. They advance the governor’s agenda while utilizing staff to inform their decisions on how to do so. Heck, it isn’t much different in the corporate world. Managers and VPs are often picked based on their ability to work within the system. It’s about who they know and who’s good side they’re on in many cases. You need to stop thinking of an agency director as a CEO. They aren’t. They are more like a low level VP or director working under the CEO, the governor. They need to understand what the agency does of course, but they don’t need to be an expert on that, they have staff for that. What they need to be good at, is getting what they want from people in power, and for that, they need relationships, political juice, and a working knowledge of the system.


  38. - Skeptical - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    “Black Ivy”
    I doubt that BR ever heard of the term “valid” in his life, let alone the more complex term “sound”, as in, “valid & sound”. However, I am confident that he is very familiar with the term Petitio principii.


  39. - Give Me A Break - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    “==Flider was a lobster before he was a legislator, so he really knows the ropes.==

    Actually, I would consider that an additional demerit, rather than an additional qualification.”

    O Yes, having the background and ability to work within a system that passes AG laws and funds his department is a real drawback. Must be a nice little planet you live on.


  40. - jimlion - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    “If Quinn is reelected, I would look for Senator Sullivan to get the Director of Ag. slot.”

    And he would give up leadership in the Senate why?


  41. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    It’s folly to pigeon hole people into positions. Agency directors need to be good administrators and they need to know how to navigate Springfield. They have policy experts to help them with the details. To suggest somebody must be from Ag to be a good director is nonsense.


  42. - jimlion - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    Demoralized is right on. 2 relatively recent ag directors–Becky Doyle and Chuck Hartke–both were from the ag community and both were terrible (although for different reasons).


  43. - Ghost - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    Just a quick point: if experience in the field is critical, why do term limits as Rauner is pushing.

    Term limits are anti experience in the field. Shouldn’t Rauner be praising that there has been a turnover and it’s not just another insider, but a new face ala his term limits position?!

    Secondly if you need farm experience to head ag, then wouldn’t Rauner need political experience to be governor?


  44. - Responsa - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    == Jimbo - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:25 pm:==

    With respect. Your statement in toto lays out so much about what is wrong with political bureaucracies and agencies in general, and Illinois government in specific. My own experience in the corporate world is also quite different than what you describe as well. You are making me question why there is even an ag director if his/her job is merely “get things done” and to game the system for the governor’s (CEO’s) benefit, rather than serve and facilitate the state’s farming industry and economy for the people of Illinois.


  45. - reflector - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Sec.Flider grew up in a rural area besides his father and I served on the USS Leyte at the same time during the Forgotten War.


  46. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    Sounds like Sacia’s honked he wasn’t the l.g. pick.

    I recall Dukakis confusing Iowa farmers by telling them to plant Belgian endive. You need bogs for cranberries, like they do in Mass. and Wisc.


  47. - A guy... - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    See Slinger, now that’s info it would be hard to get anywhere else. (I’m being serious) I didn’t know that and now I do. I had no idea Cranberries could come from Wisconsin. Mass, not a surprise. Advertising works.


  48. - Amalia - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    look around. the director has a farmer working for him. those involved in the issue surely know this.


  49. - mcb - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Just as an FYI, those who are actually employed in the act of farming represent something like 1/10th of the total workforce in agriculture. Viewing ag as just farming is akin to viewing the auto industry as just a steel mill(and you probably wouldn’t even think of steel mills when thinking auto industry). Farmers are just the guys who produce a raw ingredient. The vast majority of ag is made up of businesses processing, selling, or distributing.


  50. - walker - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    mcb: great point

    ==”farming represent[s] something like 1/10th of the total workforce in agriculture…The vast majority of ag is made up of businesses processing, selling, or distributing.”==

    And to add to that, production in farming itself is becoming more and more corporate, and less from family farms as we think of them.

    If work experience is what you’re looking for, it is much more general business-oriented, along with working within government.


  51. - Norseman - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 9:53 pm:

    It’s official, now we know Rauner has a lot of bull!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Gov. Rauner Curtails Conscience Rights by Signi.....
* Rauner vetoes SEIU-backed bills that would have.....
* Illinois Is the Latest State to Decriminalize S.....
* Illinois Is the Latest State to Decriminalize S.....
* Illinois Policy | Illinois' comeback story star.....
* Rauner Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Law - .....
* Governor signs bill reducing marijuana penaltie.....


* States' flag-burning laws unconstitutional, but persist
* Courts derail voting limits pushed by GOP in 3 states
* U of Illinois chancellor brings wide-ranging experience
* Illinois man sentenced for nursing home sex scheme
* Father, son plead not guilty in ISU assault, drug case
* 'Drunkard list' is limiting public intoxication in Aurora
* 2 Chicago officers relieved of powers after suspect killed
* EXCHANGE: Mattoon business rebuilds vintage campers
* EXCHANGE: Lifeguard saves boy on first day
* The Latest: Chicago police relieve 2 officers of powers

* Rauner vetoes bill to keep seniors in their homes
* Rauner signs law extending contraceptive insurance coverage
* Governor signs bill reducing marijuana penalties in Illinois
* Duckworth lawsuit settlement final, attorney general says
* Illinois seeking new private manager for state's lottery
* Attorney General: Duckworth lawsuit settlement final
* Health-care hiring keeps local unemployment at lowest in state
* Local unemployment again lowest in state for June
* Durbin rips Rauner, says governor tries to divide Illinois
* Illinois seeking new private manager for state's lotter

* GOP still betting millions on Madigan's unpopularity
* Chicago's budget gap: $137.6 million
* Why aren't more Chicago businesses adopting schools?
* Rauner signs bill reducing pot penalties
* Behind Harvard shakeup, a star trading desk that unraveled fast


* Hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people crashes in Texas
* BROWN: State rep, adopted, ‘always wanted a sister,’ now has 3
* Near North Side post office evacuated due to A/C problem
* WATCHDOGS: 18 aldermen avoid hefty property-tax hikes, 5 pay less
* SWEET: After Trump tweak, Democrats plant their flags
* Bears sign LB Willie Young to a two-year extension
* The people Rod Blagojevich left behind
* Ex-Rep, Lipinski drops federal lobbying after Sun-Times/BGA story
* Sneed: Covering conventions, the glass ceiling, and 1968
* Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon dive into 1950s in ‘Indignation’


* What to watch for at Rio's opening ceremony
* One mom, 14 children, and the grace of caring
* Officials on scene of 'heat-related' incident at post office on Near North Side
* Photos: Lollapalooza 2016
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 7/30/16
* Hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people catches fire, crashes in Texas
* Lollapalooza day two: Major Lazer loses power, Radiohead closes the night
* Geneva bank robbed by man in Darth Vader mask: FBI
* Shootout on 79th Street leaves man dead
* Navy ship to be named for assassinated gay rights leader Harvey Milk


* Rauner vetoes bill to keep seniors in their homes
* Dr. Thomas Kerins: Ending high school PARCC a good first step
* Rauner signs law extending contraceptive insurance coverage
* Governor signs bill reducing marijuana penalties in Illinois
* Charles Krauthammer: What's the case for Hillary?
* Duckworth lawsuit settlement final, attorney general says
* Illinois seeking new private manager for state's lottery
* Attorney General: Duckworth lawsuit settlement final
* Health-care hiring keeps local unemployment at lowest in state
* Local unemployment again lowest in state for June


* Downtown's progress in full view
* Last chance for rooftop view
* Water plentiful; demand down
* Bribriesco party is a tradition
* Road closure: Fort Jesse closed for rail work
* Carbondale Human Relations commissioner applauds PD's community policing efforts
* Veto clears way for changes to elderly care program
* Solar car team driven to shine in road race
* Advocates planning health clinic for LBGTQI population
* Top 50 College Football Teams of 2016: No. 5, Ohio State


* Off-duty Indianapolis officer charged with attempted murder
* Hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people crashes in Texas
* Burundi demonstrators protest plan to deploy UN police
* Harlem burgeons as an art gallery district
* 45-foot ship to tell story of the American Revolution

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Durbin rips Rauner, says governor tries to......

* Senate and House bipartisan effort to help......

* Stop Drinking the Kool-Aid, America: Political Fiction in an Age of Televised Lies
* Rep. Morrison: Rauner's message is religious beliefs, free speech rights don't matter
* Obama Attendance at Paris Climate Change Conference Cost Taxpayers $2,976,296.20
* Pro-Life Action League: We trusted Gov Rauner to protect conscience rights
* They Run for the Money
* Dismantling Chicago's "Duocracy"
* If Looks Could Kill
* Daley's Disconnect
* Rahm's the Mayor, Barack's the Boss. Harold and Carol are History.
* The Other Residency Issue


* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Governor Announces Appointments
* Governor Rauner and Illinois Lottery Seek New Management Partner
* College Changes Everything™ Conference Highlights Critical Role Of Higher Education In Economic Recovery And Growth
* Summer Camp Builds Bonds between Incarcerated Moms and Children




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