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Question of the day

Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009

* Our newest Golden Horseshoe winners are…

1) Best Illinois state legislator: Sen. Don Harmon. John Cullerton’s ascension to the Senate Presidency has propelled Harmon into the upper echelons of legislative power. He is a likely future Senate President himself. Harmon was an overwhelming favorite in the nominations. This one was representative…

Smart, hardworking, and not an ideologue.

2) Best Illinois congresscritter: Rep. Phil Hare. He’s a hard working blue-collar guy. From the nominations…

Always out in the community working his insanely large district. Also, he has continued to work on issues important to his district.

3) Best IL statewide elected official: Jesse White

…because he’s not running for anything else, didn’t think about running for anything else, wasn’t courted to run for anything else, etc. The man just does his job.

4) Best Statehouse lobbyist: Bill Luking

He isn’t on the rail but rather in secretary’s offices, the JCAR offices, etc. No one knows the process better. I would like someone to calculate the amount of money he has either gotten for Chicago or saved Chicago over the years. He is by far the most effective lobbyist in Springfield.

Luking reads every bill and every amendment. He is a walking, talking computer. Plus, he met Frank Sinatra. That counts for something in my book.

* Our final round…

1) Best press spokesperson (legislative, congressional, local or statewide)

2) Best non-press staffer for a constitutional officer

3) Best “insider”

Again, it’s not the number of votes but the intensity of the nominations that count here. So, make sure you fully explain your nominations. Have at it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

24 Comments
  1. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 11:54 am:

    But did he shake Sinatra’s hand?


  2. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 11:54 am:

    Yes. Now, to the question, please.


  3. - ivoted4judy - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 11:59 am:

    Presser: Patty Shuh
    Staff: Ann Spillane
    Insider: Still Jim Thompson everyone takes his calls


  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    No explanation means your vote doesn’t really count. Keep that in mind, please.


  5. - Billy Pilgrim - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 12:08 pm:

    Presser: Steve Brown–and it really pains me to make this recommendation. But the guy is good. He gets the most snarky quotes that defy all common-sense, logic, past precedence and current events printed with little push back from the journalists. Damn it is annoying.

    i’m passing on staff person question.

    Best Insider:Filan. Even with a target on his back that the speaker is aiming for, he still manages to remain a big influence in state government.

    Staffer: Ann at SOS driver facility on Dirksen. When I lost my wallet she was quick and expedient on helping me get my stuff organized. sorry, I don’t have a last name.


  6. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 12:11 pm:

    One of the most positive attributes I have of Jesse White is his ability to rise above race. There have been several times I have blogged or argued with commenter’s who claim there are no high profile black office holders ect. They always fail to mention Jesse White, who I believe is a black man.

    He is simply a good public servant that I am proud to vote for. He is a standard that politicians should strive for when seeking public office.


  7. - Apples - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 12:29 pm:

    1) Scott Burnham in the State Treasurer’s office- professional and knowledgeable and funny - he’s the quintessential communications guru. Alexi completely turned that office around but nobody would have known if Burnham wasn’t getting his message out clearly without the BS. Plus he put his guy in a position where he was able to run for US Senate, and that’s no small feat.

    2) Ann Spillane- I think the reasons are obvious. I’m no fan of Madigan, but her office runs like a well-oiled machine, and that’s all thanks to Spillane.

    3) Rich Miller- That’s not snark. Rich, you are the ultimate insider. I’m guessing it’s why your beard is so big and scruffy- it’s full of secrets.


  8. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 12:31 pm:

    Best spokesperson: Jackie Heard. Like others, Steve Brown is an obvious choice and he won last year. Heard has the unenviable task of stating for the media what the rhetorically challenged Mayor “meant” to say. And even when the Mayor lies, he rarely gets called on it. Plus, Fran Spielman, Sneed, and others are simply stenographers for the Mayor’s message points. I worked with her when she was the Tribune beat reporter at City Hall and can tell you that she is a decent, caring person. She has a tough job that she handles as well as anyone, and her longevity in that position alone should qualify her for this recognition. That’s a major burnout job, and she has survived countless chiefs of staff.

    Best nonpress staff: Scott Kennedy in the Treasurer’s office. I have no idea what he does, but he always makes it look easy. You can generally find him at any of several watering holes after work hours, conducting “business” at the bar. He does more for Alexi in taverns than most people do for their bosses in the office.

    Best insider: Rich Miller. Sorry Rich, but you can’t exclude yourself from this category. You know everybody, talk to everybody, and are trusted by everybody. You keep your own counsel, you protect your sources, and you’re fun to hang with, even though we know you’re always “working.” I don’t think you’ve ever been accused of burning anyone, let alone any bridges. And even though I’ve never seen you reach for your wallet when the tab comes, you are very generous in many other, nonmonetary ways.


  9. - Judy - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 12:43 pm:

    Presser: Scott Burnham. It pays to have a former reporter handling press. He anticipates what reporters want and gives them what they need.


  10. - Long-Time Lurker - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 12:47 pm:

    The only Golden Horseshoe (or should it be “The Horseshoe Award — It’s Bleepin’ Golden”) I can address is the non-press staff for a constitutional officer.

    I’d like to give a big shout-out to the staff members of the State Treasurer’s Office. I work with many of them in several departments on a professional level and find them to be responsive, energetic and thoughtfully engaged in their work.

    On a personal level, I have worked with the Cash Dash people in the State Treasurer’s Office. I was pleasantly amazed to reach a helpful person the first time I called with questions. There wasn’t an annoying menu of options, nor did I get transferred from person to person. I got a live person who could answer my question. It was refreshing!


  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 12:55 pm:

    ===And even though I’ve never seen you reach for your wallet when the tab comes,===

    You’re not looking closely. I almost went broke during impeachment because the lobbyists weren’t in town and nobody else was buying drinks and dinners. lol


  12. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 1:07 pm:

    The presser award should be retired by Steve Brown. Knows his stuff inside and out and never rattles. You can’t knock him off his game.

    The ultimate insider has to be Big Jim. He knows everyone in every corner of the state and a lot of powerful people owe him big time.

    He gets points from me for standing by Ryan, as well. He expended a lot of capital (literally and figurtively) in a very unpopular cause. He didn’t have to do that.


  13. - 10th Indy - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 1:36 pm:

    Press: Elk from Kirk’s shop - few know who he is but his boss is a northshore congressman with 70% statewide name ID - the guy is doing something right.

    Non-Press Staff: SOS business services staff at 69 W. Washington, they answer the phone when you call, help you wade through paperwork, check everything three times, wear their politics on their sleeves and posted on their walls and are generally just a delight to do business with.

    Insider: Rich – you may have started out as the guy peaking under the capital dome but your little rag and blog have put right in the middle of Illinois politics.


  14. - shore - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 1:55 pm:

    I would agree with Elk. He has built Kirk into a rising national star and gotten him around some serious minefields the last 4 years in keeping a seat in blue america despite the bush years. He’s navigated him around this conservative threat.


  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 1:59 pm:

    Press Person and spokes Person: Presser: Patty Shuh, She has handled the job under Pate (no easy task), Watson and now continues to be available and personable.

    Non Press staff: Kathy Bruns, House republican staff. Probably one of the most intelligent staff members ever.

    Insider: Rich Miller, no contest.


  16. - Little Lebowski Urban Achiever - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 2:02 pm:

    1) Best press spokesperson (legislative, congressional, local or statewide):

    I second Jackie Heard. Has a very tough job and does exceedingly well. There may not be anyone else at City Hall that has lasted as long as her.

    2) Best non-press staffer for a constitutional officer:

    Ted Chung, Gov. Quinn’s General Counsel. Succeeding Quinlan couldn’t have been fun. He has assembled a very good group of attorneys. Ted is always professional and courteous and very, very smart.

    3) Best “insider”

    Dave Sullivan. Knows what’s going on with both sides of the aisle. A person that people trust and is always “in the know”.


  17. - kirk stalker - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 2:11 pm:

    I nominate Aviva Gibbs, Congressman Mike Quigley’s fantastic Communications Director! She is smart, saavy, a great writer! Definitely an up and comer in the Democratic ranks and fresh face!


  18. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 3:53 pm:

    Best Insider: It better be Rich, or we need to find a new blog. Seriously, if you look at the computers on the desktops in the GA, if they’re not looking at bills or the research, they’re reading the CapFax blog. If the insiders look to Rich to see what’s going on, he must be the ultimate insider.


  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 4:21 pm:

    1:59 wasn’t me and I’m undervoting.

    Insider: Rich for reasons already stated…and because like Pot, I don’t want to have to look for another blog if it’s not true.


  20. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 4:55 pm:

    Press: Scott Burnham, he is a hard worker who knows what he is doing and makes it look easy. He is smart and professional - but knows how to have a good time as well.


  21. - Tweed - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 6:10 pm:

    1) I will second the nomination above and vote for Aviva Gibbs. If anything for the creation of ‘Q-Tube’. http://www.youtube.com/user/RepMikeQuigley

    Honorable mention to Ryan Vanderbilt in Halvorson’s office. I can’t scan across a D.C. blog without tripping over a Halvorson quote, and more and more often, a quote of his own. Still waiting for a snappy name for the videos (HTube won’t cut it), that might put him over the top for 2010.

    2) Courtney Levy - she is fantastic to work with and follows up with you constantly whether the news is good or bad. With Lisa Madigan’s busy schedule it is usually bad news, but she works hard to make things happen.

    3) Dr. Paul Green - the man speaks for himself


  22. - circularfiringsquad - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 7:39 pm:

    Presser rsekeeaha Phelon great first year for Cullerton
    Staffer Ann Spillane keeps thaw AG humming
    Insider Mike McClain knows the state from all sides


  23. - Little Egypt - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 9:10 pm:

    Insider - Rich Miller for obvious reasons. You are tried, true, and trusted and when I read your blog, I know better than to try to read any “new and improved” versions on any other blog.


  24. - Richard Afflis - Wednesday, Dec 16, 09 @ 9:27 pm:

    Insider- Rich Miller. Trusted, respected, honest, and at the same time, respectful. What goes into the capital fax blog can be trusted because you screen it well enough. You get the story because you are respected and honest. You have earned that trust. You command the respect.
    You are not giving yourself the golden horseshoe. You earned it. the number of people who have stated this and justified this by good reason with passion know what we are talking about.
    Happy Holidays and thank you so much for this blog!!!!!!!!!!!


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