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Question of the day Part 2 - Golden Horseshoe Awards

Thursday, Dec 22, 2016

* The 2016 Golden Horsehoe Award for Best In-House Lobbyist goes to Lizbeth Ramirez at ComEd

Polite, professional, diligent and focused on her client. Works hard and her political chops are solid. Understands the leverage between working to deliver for the members and ComEd so everyone stays whole.

Honorable mention to Scott Humbard at Exelon Generation.

* The 2016 Golden Horsehoe Award for Best Legislative Liaison goes to John Thompson at the Illinois State Police

John Thompson at State Police is one of the hardest working guys under the dome. ISP had a pretty bad reputation with legislative staff, but John has worked hard to repair those relationships. He listens to all perspectives and gets along with everyone. He is a super guy.

Honorable mention to Bob Stefanski, the Governor’s Senior House Liaison.

* On to today’s categories. Mike McClain retired this month, so I’m unilaterally giving him the 2016 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Statehouse Insider. It was named after him anyway and there was no way he was gonna lose, so I basically just saved everyone the time.

You may have noticed that all names have been removed from the Golden Horseshoe Awards this year. I thought we needed a reboot and I think we’re just gonna steer clear of putting peoples’ names on these from here on out.

This last category is always the most fun for commenters here because y’all get to choose one of your own. So, please make your nominations for Best Commenter below. Make sure to fully explain your nomination or it won’t count. Thanks again!

I’ll announce all of today’s winners later this afternoon, so get on it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - LInus - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:30 am:

    Mr.JM, all day, every day, and twice on Sunday. Concise, cogent, hilarious, on top of it.

  2. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:32 am:

    I dropped the ball by not nominating John Carroll. Not trying to undermine the deserving winners, I just did not get a chance to read the article yesterday and I want to show John some love.

    Knows everything about everything, is reasonable and honest, and a credit to his profession. When people rail on the presence of lobbyists or liaisons, it is because of John Carroll that I tell them there are good ones and they bring a tremendous amount of value to the process.

  3. - Casual observer - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:32 am:

    Best commenter:

    Honeybear. She makes it real. That’s all I need to say.

  4. - A guy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:34 am:

    I nominate Honey Bear. We agree about very little, but I read all of her posts. They are filled to the point of dripping with passion and emotion. At the same time, she is open to learning the views of others. She can be very quick to apologize, demonstrating the emotional concern for others feelings and pride. That might be a great lesson to other commenters who have been here a long time and don’t realize how easy it is to shoo away new people with snide-ness. If you care about this blog; you want new people to come here and participate!

    HB is genuine all the time. As I stated in the beginning, we agree on almost nothing, but she always warrants my attention because she’s earned my respect with not just saying things, but also getting out and doing things. She has shared, without saying so, that even a losing effort can be a worthy one when you believe in it. We absolutely agree on that fundamental belief. I dig her. So, I’m nominating her.
    A guy

    (I changed my schedule to make this nomination!)

  5. - RNUG - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:37 am:

    Best - Wordslinger … do I really need to explain? In short, he’s always on point and thoughtful.

    Honorable mention - I have three. Honeybear for her passion, AA for his clear thoughts, and Schnorf for his been there, done that insight.

  6. - thunderspirit - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    Since I can’t really improve on RNUG’s endorsement, please consider this a second to his nomination of wordslinger.

    Heck, I’ll give a second to his honorable mentions as well. :-)

  7. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:48 am:

    Best commenter is wordslinger. He present’s his perspective in clear, concise and irrefutable (though some who I haven’t nominated would disagree…) terms. Plus, the dry/dark sense of humor I sense in his postings is right up my alley.

    To give a shoutout to OW in this nomination, I’ll say wordslinger’s posts are consistently “restaurant quality.”

  8. - Skeptic - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    RNUG FTW for me. Clear, concise, level-headed. And knowledgeable.

  9. - illini - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    Over the years many of us have become familiar with the frequent commenters on this site - and occasionally attempt to add to the discussion when we can and feel that we have something constructive to add.

    I have come to have a great admiration for many on this site -
    Oswego Willy is the “king of snark” but always has a factual and reasoned retort to many commenters who try to avoid the real question or change and divert the real topic being discussed. And is always worth noting for his contentious, and sometimes lengthy, “conversations” with some commenters. And he is always quick to point out the fallacies and faulty logic of some statements.
    Honeybear is a dedicated and passionate advocate who can predictably be counted on for her thoughtful comments and reasoned pleadings for some sanity and humanity to return to State government.
    VanillaMan is the “master of parody” with his timely, truthful and sometimes biting lyrics that he skillfully and creatively ties to popular songs. Great admirer of his abilities and uncanny knack for hitting the mark.
    All are worthy and very deserving nominees.

    I am slighting too many others that I think I have come to know and respect - even when we disagree.

    At the risk of being redundant I am going to nominate the individual this award had been named for - Wordslinger. Although he was on a hiatus for some time this year he never fails to hit the mark. His relatively short, thoughtful, pointed and reasoned comments are always to the topic and relevant to those issues impacting our state. His careful choice of words and ability to “cut to the core” of the issue is to be admired.

  10. - The Way I See It - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:00 pm:

    Wordslinger and Mr. JM make me wish the site had a like button like Facebook not because I agree with everything they say but because they make great points in a thoughtful witty way

  11. - m - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    I would add another for Honeybear, from another who is probably on the opposite side of most issues. She connects the reality of the impasse to the people most vulnerable. An example was a recent mention about trying to determine whether a man in a shed had heat. Those are the people losing the most. Gives perspective to what the state can do and what it should do when it can.

    I’m still saving blame for Madigan and company, but Honeybear reminds you of the toll of pushing this further.

    She also provides a nice example of what a state employee can and should be. In it for the work.

  12. - Try-4-Truth - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:12 pm:

    Sorry to go with the obvious, but

    “Governors own” is the best line I’ve heard in a while. It’s true, and pithy.

    He understands both the policy issues and the political ramifications.

    Oswego Willy is my choice.

  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:16 pm:

    Honeybear, for her reason and her passion. She’s our Morher Jones: “Pray for the dead; fight like hell for the living.”

    Every day, she brings the good fight to the cynics who claim “we can’t afford to be compassionate.” On the contrary, our compassion is the one thing we can’t afford to lose.

  14. - Braidwood Billy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:16 pm:

    The Mayor has had some pretty solid analysis this year.

  15. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:19 pm:

    I have to go with the obvious as well.

    OW is always thoughtful, prolific, far from a one note commenter, and bipartisan in taking his rhetorical flamethrower to whoever deserves it.

  16. - Earnest - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:20 pm:

    I’ll go with Wordslinger. He is not a follower and brings his own point of view, backed up with knowledge and facts. I learn the most from his posts, which often help me see an issue from a different perspective or more clearly.

    Honorable mention to Steve Schnorf, who also often helps me see things in a different way.

    A shout-out to Emily Miller, who always brings me back to the human cost.

    And, I won’t do a list, but thank you to the 10 or so commenters whose posts I never skip.

  17. - Try-4-Truth - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:22 pm:

    I’ll add a vote for Rich Miller. When he tells people:

    “I’m not Google” I literally laugh out loud.

  18. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:23 pm:

    I’ve nominated Honeybear last year, and do so again. I’m not in agreement politically, but morally we are. It’s nice to read comments with a heart.

  19. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:27 pm:

    –I’ll add a vote for Rich Miller. When he tells people:

    “I’m not Google” I literally laugh out loud.–

    He also apparently really wants to be bitten. Hey, whatever you’re in to.

  20. - Ghost - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:28 pm:


    Because all the same half dozen names keep popping up every year and there are more then 6 people here :)and he has some good comments and commentary.

    Not that

  21. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:37 pm:

    Best Commenter

    During this past year discussions of policy and politics have been in comments here and a great deal can be learned in both arenas by some really outstanding people that take the time to spread their knowledge for us all.

    There’s Wordslinger who continues to bring the larger issues down to the finest of points.

    There’s RNUG who as always brings sound governing and policy discussions where they need to be, with actual facts.

    There’s Schnorf, AA, and Norseman, the three headed institutionally knowledged and gifted enough to share important context on the issues and governing so I know I don’t lose sight of what’s really at play.

    There’s A Guy and Louis Atsaves that put the context of the Admimstration out front and are willing to place into discussion the other side’s point, and are willing to defend their work.

    I’m stopping here because if o go any further, I’ll continue to miss some outstanding people, like MrJM and Muchelle Flaherty too.

    My nominee is far different than all I listed. This person is someone far outside the parameters I have listed above and takes all of us to another level we should always keep in mind. I know when I comment, I try to keep I mind we are talking about real people, this commenter keeps those people in mind first, and that’s been quite apparent for a long time now

    Honeybear is the commenter I nominate for all the best reasons the winner if this award should win. Honeybear is commenting for the better good of people, not of herself or any policy or agenda. It’s people first, last, and always, it’s Honeybear that realizes the passion and commitment to people that needs to discussed, not necessarily the parsing of words, or the critiquing of messaging.

    Honeybear has reminded me far too often that keeping your fellow man in mind is more honorable than worrying about keeping the policy or program as the important point to be made

    In a time of dire consequence here in Illinois, this place is better with Honeybear keeping the thought of people, the Honeybear does, as the most important point than need to win the day.

    I nominate Honeybear for Best Commenter

  22. - Annonin' - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:40 pm:

    Did you forget contract lobbos? Liz Brown should win hands…glides thru house and senate.. even gets some BigBrain ers to listen.
    Btw.. who decided to drop names? Folks who thought to many tied to Madigan..tee hee…we know you would never cave to that pressure

  23. - Archiesmom - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:47 pm:

    Vanilla Man for wit and incisive commentary. A close second would be Honeybear for passion, conviction and inability to relate a lot of what happens in Springfield to the average guy/girl.

  24. - East Central Illinois - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:53 pm:

    Honeybear . . . without a doubt. It’s the season of what hope, joy, peace, compassion is all about. Honeybear’s comments exemplify those characteristics in everything that is written. This site would not be the same without the Honeybear comments.

  25. - LemonShakeUpSpringfield - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:55 pm:

    Jack Kemp. Keeps things fair and balanced.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:56 pm:

    I was remiss in excluding VanillaMan, due in large part of starting to name names, which is something I try not to do, and this is why I failed. Miserably.

    There’s VanillaMan whose thoughtful commentary, sometimes by “lyric and note” cuts deeply to things far beyond the musical stylings.

    And thanks to Rich Miller.

    I guessing monitoring the comments here is far from an easy task. What Rich Miller has succeeded in doing and continues to succeed with open comments is the learning we all get and the discussions lost that are outside this wonderful place as unique as both Illinois and Rich Miller himself.

    Normally, a case could be made this is idle flattery, but I’ve yet to find anything remotely in the neighborhood of the parking lot of the ball park this place occupies. That’s a credit to Rich Miller, and his allowing of monitored comments that only add to the incredibly solid work Rich Miller does daily, and the respect that Rich Miller easily commands with his own work-product as unique as this site.

    Thank you, Rich, for this place and ALL you do.



  27. - G'Kar - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:08 pm:

    I’ve learned so much from the commentators on this blog. OW, RNUG, and Wordslinger have truly educated me.

    But, like many others, I nominate Honeybear. Education is important and useful, but so is passion and Honeybear has it in spades. She is constantly reminding us that the debates over the budget is affecting real people.

  28. - Rabid - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:09 pm:

    Mr.JM,Wordslinger,Oswego Willy, interpret the underling reasons that are always hidden. I like guy for being the Kelly Conway for Rauner trying to put reasons why the govenor is the way he is

  29. - Old Shepherd - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:26 pm:

    I nominate Steve Schnorf.

    I once knew a person involved on a local government board. He didn’t say much. He was a fantastic listener. However, when he spoke, everyone listened because his insights were always intelligent, well-reasoned, and worthy of respect.

    There are a lot of fantastic contributors to this blog. That’s why I check it multiple times per day. If often skim through the comments. Sometimes I read them, and sometimes I don’t. However, I ALWAYS read Steve Schnorf’s comments. He doesn’t comment every day nor on every story. When he chooses to chime in, it’s definitely worth reading.

  30. - CCP Hostage - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:30 pm:

    I gotta go for Honey Bear. She asks the questions that I have and always advocates for the little guy. Also, if I’m limited on time, I look for Norseman. I appreciate his insight and he always has something to add to the conversation that I haven’t thought about.

  31. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:33 pm:

    I vote for Oswego Willy, for being honest about political reality and the consequences of bad decisions. Also for all the scuffles against those who just come with the talking points and no substance.

    Honorable mention as always to wordslinger, for the lacerating (is that a word?) prose.

    I am very grateful to Honeybear and ask her/him to consider keeping up the fight. We have to leave markers for future generations–that certain people stood up and fought for things of precious value, like social services, good jobs and workers’ rights–just like those who came before us did. I know, much easier said than done.

  32. - A guy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:35 pm:

    I just got back and am so pleased to see so many people bleeding for the “Queen of bleeding Hearts”, Ms. Honey Bear!

    If OW, Sling and I agree on anything, ever!!! This almost has to be called a Technical Knock Out and just end it here.

    Why…it’s a Christmas Miracle! Merry Christmas to all of you! Wishing you the Happiest of all of the Holidays you celebrate. Hope a couple of you get a small dusting of coal dust, among a large dose of goodness-lol.

    I also say thanks to Rich. It’s a lively place.

  33. - Casual observer - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:41 pm:

    Special mention for Oscar the puppy. He doesn’t say much but has an uncanny ability to bring out the best in everyone.

  34. - titan - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 2:03 pm:

    Many great ones. I’m partial to RNUG. Great expertise and clear explanations

  35. - northsider (the original) - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 2:42 pm:

    Honeybear. She reports from the nadir of hell, but never writes with despair or cynicism. We all benefit from her hope and truth.

  36. - James - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 2:43 pm:

    I’ll nominate someone who has not been mentioned. “Rod”. Factual and informative on many issues, I always read and usually learn something from Rod;s posts.

  37. - walker - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 3:07 pm:

    This site is great partly because of contending viewpoints, from those who follow Rich’s guidelines for fair play.

    Wordslinger’s missiles are best drawn out by A Guy. Deft Wing and OWilly have epic verbal battles.

    Let’s give some for the steady contenders who Impose their style, have serious firepower behind their punches, and never back off for the full twelve rounds.

  38. - A guy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 3:26 pm:

    Walk, I always read your posts. You’re a Gentleman, A scholar, an experienced hand and a thoughtful fellow. In this case, may I impose whatever “whip” potential I have to swing you over to Ms. Bear?

    Love playfully going to the shed with Willy and Sling…someone’s gotta (lol). The HB has offered a more interesting and “real” perspective from that side of the argument- which is the vast majority around here. She’s a breath of Fresh Bear.

    C’mon over Walk! Thanks for the nice words. You’re top shelf. I dig Demo too. And our first impression was a friendly fight. But, he’s a righteous dude as well.

  39. - Ridgelander - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 3:58 pm:

    RNUG is my choice . His commentary on pension issues is tremendously informed and well-crafted. RNUG clearly knows his stuff and his integrity is rock-solid. When a pension issue arises, I always want his take. I have actually printed his comments to show to others who have questions. He is an honest broker with a command of arcane details and has a better understanding of the legal underpinnings of pension case law than many lawyers who ought to know better. I can’t tell you how may times his name has been in my CTRL-F box on this blog the past few years.

    The other name I always look for: Wordslinger, of course. He makes me smile every time he calls BS on something or someone that does not pass the smell test. He turns a phrase with the best of them, and I respect not just what he says but the way he says it.

  40. - Jim Bray - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 4:17 pm:

    I would rather vote for Wordslinger for Governor, but I will have to settle for voting for him as Best Commenter. Not only do I usually agree with him, I appreciate the time and care he takes to state his case and to add some needed historical perspective. He delivers a zinger when it is deserved and shows great restraint.

  41. - walker - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 4:20 pm:

    a guy:
    Yes, HoneyBear is wonderful because she expresses what’s in her heart in clear prose. I’d also go with VanillaMan, who expresses what’s in his heart with poetry.

    Of course, like many here, when skimming the list, Wordslinger, Schnorf, and RNUG are my must-reads.

  42. - walker - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 4:25 pm:

    Please let me add, since we’re closing shop for the year, that Rich Miller has done amazing work, with energy, and discernment, for all of 2016. This has been one bear of a year, that has beaten down a lot of folks.! I don’t know how he does it.

    Rich Miller for the special Platinum Horseshoe.

  43. - A guy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 4:32 pm:

    Congrats Ms. Bear. YOU WON!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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