* Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Golden Horseshoe Awards this year. Your nominations were so good that I often had a difficult time picking many of the winners. A big congratulations to all of our winners. These awards started as sort of an inside joke, but people now take them seriously, and I’m always amazed at the response. Some have even used the award to help them get a job, which is pretty darned cool.
* Let’s move on to today’s winners. The Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best CapitolFax.com Commenter goes to Oswego Willy. Wordslinger said it best…
Lots of good friends and great choices, but I vote for Willy for the simple fact that he is desperately — and at times, it seems, singlehandedly — trying to get the Illinois GOP to wake up and compete seriously.
He has no use for the Litmus Testers, Puritans or those who just blame it all on Chicago. He takes no excuses, and demands hard work and accountability.
He won’t concede any part of the state and is adamant that the GOP needs to hit the streets and knock on doors with an optimistic message for the future, not just preach the politics of resentment to a dwindling base.
He’s a Happy Warrior and I hope he and those like him succeed, because this state could use a real, statewide, Republican Party like we had not that long ago.
Quite a large number of people come to this blog every day just to see what Oswego Willy has to say. I love the guy.
* Runner up is Michelle Flaherty. Here is Oswego Willy’s take…
Look back at some comments, and look at the incredible scope of topics she can comment on. Michelle Flaherty gives enough of an inside joke to get a knowing nod, and more than enough of a broad base statement to get a hearty laugh. Tough thing to do with many words. Now … do it in as few words as Michelle Flaherty does, yikes, that is getting it done.
Wordslinger has this award named after his unbeatable knack to be well versed in the topics at hand, and be as funny as can be and as serious as need be. There is Wordslinger, a space, then maybe another empty tier. Michelle Flaherty is beyond deserving with her spot-on commenting, comic genius, and clarity of thought in the fewest words possible. Michelle Flaherty makes you wait to see what really cool SENTENCE will be used to make her point, and she makes you read in wonder how she can be so concise, so accurate, and so funny. Well Done.
Consistently, the funniest person here.
* The Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Statewide Officeholder goes to Auditor General Bill Holland…
Bill Holland, hands down. Holland is now, in essence, the parental unit of our state government. His work has saved taxpayers countless millions of dollars, and reports produced by his office instantly carry more credibility than anything issued by other state officers or agencies.
The reputation, integrity and diligence of his office are beyond reproach.
In Illinois politics, that’s really saying something.
There is no one better. Period.
* Runner up is Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka…
As Comptroller, she pulls no punches about Illinois finances. I hear no complaints about her office in terms of efficiency and she rarely if ever showboats for the press. No fancy spin or press releases, just the facts. The way it should be. Way to go Judy!
I’ve always loved me some JBT.
* We received a ton of nominations for lobbyists, but very few for The Mike McClain Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Statehouse Insider. So, I’m giving it to Mike McClain…
He’s the best in the business and the namesake of the award and is still operating at top levels.
Ain’t nobody better, or even close.
* Here is the complete list of this year’s winners, with runners-up in parentheses…
* The Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best CapitolFax.com Commenter: Oswego Willy (Michelle Flaherty)
* The Mike McClain Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Statehouse Insider: Mike McClain
* Best Statewide Officeholder: Auditor General Bill Holland (Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka)
* Best “Do-Gooder” Lobbyist: Bruce Simon (Kathy Drea)
* Best Contract Lobbyist: Tom Cullen (Ed Peck)
* Best In-House Lobbyist: Rob Karr (Mark Denzler)
* Best Legislative Liaison: Bresha Brewer (Cameron Schilling)
* Best Illinois Congresscritter: US Sen. Dick Durbin (Congressman Bob Dold)
* Best State Agency Director: Malcom Weems (Amy Martin)
* The Mark Beaubien Lifetime Service award for the Illinois House: Rep. Skip Saviano, Rep. Joe Lyons (tie)
* The John Millner Lifetime Service award for the Illinois Senate: Sen. Susan Garrett (Sen. Tom Johnson)
* Best Illinois State Senator - Republican: Sen. Matt Murphy (Sen. Pam Althoff)
* Best Illinois State Senator - Democrat: Sen. Don Harmon (Sen. Dan Kotowski)
* Best Illinois State Representative - Republican: Rep. Jim Durkin (Rep. David Harris)
* Best Illinois State Representative - Democrat: Rep. Elaine Nekritz (Rep. Greg Harris)
* The Steve Brown Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Government Spokesperson: Joe Tybor (John Patterson)
* Best legislative campaign staff director: Will Cousineau (Brendan O’Sullivan)
* Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Democrats: Shaw Decremer, Kristen Bauer (tie)
* Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Republicans: Bob Stefanski (Nick Bellini)
* Best campaign staffer - Senate Democrats: Jill Dykhoff (Sam Strain)
* Best campaign staffer - Senate Republicans: Helen Albert (Rachel Bold)
* Best State Senate Staffer - Non Political: Giovanni Randazzo (Kim Schultz)
* Best State House Staffer - Non Political: Samantha Olds (Tyler Hunt)
* The Beth Hamilton Golden Horseshoe Award for Best House Secretary/Admin. Assistant: Carol Shehorn, Sally McDaniel-Smith (tie)
* Best Senate Secretary/Admin. Assistant: Robin Gragg (Melissa Earle)
* Best political bar in Springfield: DH Brown’s (JP Kelly’s)
* Best political restaurant in Springfield: Sebastian’s (Saputo’s)
* Best bartender: Mike at DH Brown’s (Jamie at Boone’s)
* Best waiter/waitress: Annie at Sunrise (Jess at Brown’s)
Congrats to all!