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And the winners are…

Friday, Dec 23, 2011

* The Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Contract Lobbyist goes to Neil Flynn

He is one of the kindest, hardest working and most decent person I know. I had my high school son down for a few days to be a page, and wanted to make sure my son met Neil so that he could be assured that there are good guys in this process. Neil represents the way the process is supposed to work.

He’s an incredibly hard-working gentleman and respected by all. I don’t think Neil has an enemy in the building, which is really something.

* Runner-up is Todd Vandermyde. Todd was nominated in three different categories, and he has the added advantage of being a regular commenter here…

He is one of the few lobbyists that I’ve noted actually posting in support of his causes here on CapitolFax using his real name.

Todd’s also one of the few Statehouse types I’ve invited to my home. I don’t own a gun or a motorcycle and I’ve never operated any heavy machinery, but it never ceases to amaze me how much we have in common.

* The Golden Horseshoe Award for Best In-House Lobbyist goes to Scott Humbard

What he accomplished this past year for his employer both in passing Smart Grid and in continually defeating Tenaska was brilliant. The man hustles.

Scott has a lot of people behind him, including the wizard John Hooker, but whether or not you agree with that ComEd bill, he did one heckuva job.

* Runner-up is Rob Karr

IRMA should be very thankful for having a work horse like Rob Karr. Not only is he kind and thoughtful- which goes a long way in the Statehouse- he can outwork anyone on any issue at any given time. He is literally the first lobbyist at the Capitol and last one to leave.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more quietly successful operation than IRMA, and Karr is a big reason for that.

* The Golden Horseshoe Award for Best “Do-Gooder” Lobbyist goes to Jeremy Schroeder. He didn’t get the most votes, but he did get the biggest win of 2011…

His work around abolishing the death penalty was unmatched. He rebuilt ICADP into an organization that could effectively I lobby and move one of the more controversial issues in the building.

I never thought that bill could pass. Right up until the moment it passed, I thought it was going down in flames. Jeremy wasn’t alone in this effort, by any means, but he wins the award.

* Runner-up is Mary Dixon

Not only helps ACLU causes, but children’s services, seniors, mental health services, whenever she can lend a quick hand. Insistent, but always kind and courteous.

Mary has been a positive force for a very long time.

* The Mike McClain Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Statehouse “Insider” is Mike Kasper

even stronger now that we have Mayor Emanuel.

McClain is still the king, but Kasper is coming up very fast. Emanuel’s heavy involvement with Springfield means that Kasper has moved to a whole new level, which is pretty amazing when you consider how influential he was before Emanuel was elected.

* Runner-up goes to the people’s choice, Dave Sullivan

Not only in with the big dogs but always kind to staff on all sides!

Along with Neil Flynn, Dave is living proof that nice guys don’t have to finish last. He gets things done.

* Now, on to the category you’ve all been waiting for. The Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best CapitolFax.com Commenter goes to Steve Schnorf, the overwhelming favorite and a person whom I’ve always been proud to call my friend. This is Wordslinger’s nomination…

He’s a guy who brings a lot of real-world knowledge and experience to the table, not just talking points and dogma. If he doesn’t know something, he won’t pretend that he does.

If I may, I’d characterize him as a real conservative, a true-blue Main Street Illinois Republican, one who doesn’t demonize those who who might disagree with him on an issue, but instead seeks common ground with them to advance the common good.

He doesn’t think government can provide all things to all people all the time, but he doesn’t think it’s the enemy either, and he knows that government has an indispensable role in ensuring the blessings of liberties for all. […]

We could all use a lot more like Schnorf in the public arena.

* Runner-up is a tie between Michelle Flaherty

(I)cepick maiden, “let’s bring it to the US Supreme Moot Court” turns of phrase, knows what’s really up, and what’s really down

* And Oswego Willy

Oswego Willy should win. He always brings the funny. Funniest guy on here. He probably won’t win due the outpouring of support for Schnorf. However, with Jason running for Congress in 2012, Oswego Willy should have enough material to make a serious run at the title in 2012. Good Luck Bro.

Both of these commenters have a biting wit and creativity that are unmatched here. A day without them is a boring day, indeed.

* The full list of winners, with runners up in parentheses

* The Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best CapitolFax.com Commenter: Steve Schnorf (Oswego Willy and Michelle Flaherty)

* The Mike McClain Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Statehouse Insider: Mike Kasper (Dave Sullivan)

* Best Contract Lobbyist: Neil Flynn (Todd Vandermyde)

* Best In-House Lobbyist: Scott Humbard (Rob Karr)

* Best “Do-Gooder” Lobbyist: Jeremy Schroeder (Mary Dixon)

* Best Statewide Officeholder: Secretary of State Jesse White (Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka)

* Best Illinois Congresscritter: US Sen. Dick Durbin (US Rep. Peter Roskam)

* Best State Agency Director: Catherine Shannon (Malcolm Weems)

* Best chief of staff: Tim Mapes (Andy Manar)

* The Platinum Lifetime Service award for the General Assembly: Rep. Mark Beaubien

* Best Illinois State Senator - Republican: Sen. John Millner (Sen. Matt Murphy)

* Best Illinois State Senator - Democrat: Sen. John Sullivan (Sen. Kimberly Lightford)

* Best Illinois State Representative - Republican: Rep. Skip Saviano (Rep. Ed Sullivan)

* Best Illinois State Representative - Democrat: Rep. John Bradley and Rep. Frank Mautino (tie)

* The Steve Brown Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Government Spokesperson: Mica Matsoff (Kelly Kraft)

* Best legislative campaign staff director: Will Cousineau (All other staff directors tied for runner-up)

* Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Democrats: Tom Wogan (Kristen Bauer)

* Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Republicans: Nick Bellini (Mike Mahoney)

* Best campaign staffer - Senate Democrats: Noe Chaimongkol (Bryen Johnson)

* Best campaign staffer - Senate Republicans: Jo Johnson (Ryan Cudney)

* Best State Legislative Staffer - Non Political: Adam Margolin and Matt Paprocki (tie)

* The Beth Hamilton Golden Horseshoe Award for Best House Secretary/Admin. Assistant: Kristin Milligan (Sally Smith)

* Best Senate Secretary/Admin. Assistant: Bunny Fourez (Selena Gorman)

* Best Local Government Official - Chicago/Cook County: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (Mayor Rahm Emanuel)

* Best Local Government Official - Collar Counties: Will County Executive Larry Walsh (DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin)

* Best Local Government Official - Downstate: Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten (Savanna Police Chief Michael Moon)

* Best political bar in Springfield: Sangamo Club (JP Kelly’s)

* Best political restaurant in Springfield: Ross Isaac’s (Sebastian’s Hideout)

* Best Springfield hotel: The State House Inn (Abe Lincoln)

* Best place for lunch near the Statehouse: Cafe Moxo (Holy Land Diner)

* Best bartender: Kathleen at the Globe (Adam at the No Name Bar)

* Best waiter/waitress: Rhonda Merritt at Sportsman’s (Carl at Augie’s)

Congratulations to all.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

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