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The wrong way and the right way

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

* Kerry Lester compares two noted House independents, Democrat Scott Drury of Highwood and Republican Dave McSweeney of Barrington Hills.

Rep. Drury is characterized as a “sullen and withdrawn” loner, “ostracized” by his colleagues.

* Rep. McSweeney, on the other hand, comes off as a happy warrior

McSweeney rarely attends [House Republican] caucus meetings at all.

“The governor doesn’t need to tell me what to do. And that’s what the Republican caucus is, getting marching orders from the governor’s office,” said McSweeney, an investment specialist.

Instead, McSweeney spends his time trying to drum up votes for the bills he hopes to pass and dining with Democratic lawmakers and close confidants of Madigan. He’s made a habit of inviting members of the black caucus, including Democratic state Rep. Christian Mitchell of Chicago, to town hall meetings in his Northwest suburban district.

Unlike Drury’s experience, where many of his bills have died in committee, McSweeney said he hasn’t been retaliated upon by the GOP, and his bills — which also depend on Democratic leaders calling them for a vote — have tended to pass by wide, bipartisan margins. They include legislation that prohibits local government officials from using taxpayer money for entertainment expenses and limits their travel and meal allowances. A push for a constitutional amendment to eliminate the office of lieutenant governor passed the House in 2013 and 2016, but it hasn’t moved further.

McSweeney says he admired the relationship between Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill during the 1980s.

“My mindset down here is to build relationships,” McSweeney said. “This political war between the governor and the Democrats, that is not what my constituents want.”

Rep. McSweeney recognized early on that even though he was against all tax hikes and was very socially conservative, he had to make friends on the other side of the aisle. That very real effort and his independence from his chamber’s party leader and the governor have prompted the Democrats to help/allow him succeed. His bills fly partly as a ding to the Republican Party. But, the dude also really knows how to work a roll call. You can’t help but like the man, although he does come in for lots of criticism from his own side of the aisle.

* Related…

* News-Gazette editorial: Downsizing government?: The General Assembly remains awash in acrimony, Democrats and Republicans disagreeing on virtually every issue. Even when they say they agree, they disagree. So give state Rep. David McSweeney, a Republican from Barrington Hills, some credit for hanging in as he continues to push legislation that, at least from the outside, doesn’t look like it has much chance of passage.

* EDGE Tax Credit Expires: Critics of the incentives, such as state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, have said EDGE has the government pick winners and losers and instead, taxes should be decreased across the board for everyone.

* News-Gazette editorial: Let’s look under the rock: Illinois taxpayers recently took another unnecessary financial beating in a questionable leasing deal for which they paid far too much in exchange for far too little. The questions surrounding the deal are these: Is this government corruption as usual? Or is it government incompetence as usual? With any luck, answers will be forthcoming. Two legislators — Democratic state Sen. Tom Cullerton and Republican state Rep. David McSweeney — have asked the Legislative Audit Commission to look into the deal and report back.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Grand Avenue - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    How’s the Scott Drury Exploratory Committee coming along?


  2. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    Wait - what?
    Someone on the GOP side demonstrating that the majority party isn’t full of repulsive crooks?

    Does he know who his party’s governor is?


  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    To the Post,

    While I agree with Rep. McSweeney 80% of the time, and I know he’s a Republican, and also s conservative in policy that I may not agree with in theory, I know that McSweeney has done an outstanding job at learning his craft as legislator and is willing to see/hear the other side and allow himself to hear/see the other side as a way to build good relationships where McSweeney can find agreement elsewhere with others.

    Now, I totally get the comparison of Drury and McSweeny, I also suggest the comparison of McSweeney and Oberweis.

    Both are considered “conservative”. Where McSweeney just takes Oberweis to school is that McSweeney understands, 1,000%, that politics and governing is about the game of addition, while Oberweis carts out pints of ice cream to pass a speed limit increase bill because, unlike McSweeney, Oberweis would rather grate on colleagues and dole out ice cream, McSweeney understands working a whip count on his own, and parlaying the tweak to Republicans can get things done.

    McSweeney is about the idea of trying to do good within his own beliefs to do so, but also willing to see the raw “good politics” is the way to “good government”.

    Oberweis, and Drury, will never understand that skill or skill set.

    Yep. McSweeney really took to learning first when he got down there and it continues to pay off. I greatly respect McSweeney and as a real “non-Raunerite” party, the GOP needs McSweeney due in large part to his integrity, honesty to his beliefs, and his willingness to find the 60 and 30 all at the same time.


  4. - hockey fan - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    “My mindset down here is to build relationships,” McSweeney said.

    Kudos to Rep. McSweeney for seeing the value in collaboration and relationships!

    the other guy not so much

    The other guy? Not so much. The House Dems didn’t like Drury from the beginning even when he was obeying Madigan - Drury’s isolation has a lot less to do with the Speaker vote than he thinks. Jay Hoffman has disobeyed the Speaker - he is not isolated. Drury’s total isolation has a lot more to do with his . . . style . . er personality.


  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 12:34 pm:

    === The House Dems didn’t like Drury from the beginning even when he was obeying Madigan===

    Agreed.


  6. - Annonin' - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    let’s all admit Drury is viewed as a dud. He tends to whine and make a lot of baseless accusations when he does not get his way. To bestow some kind of victimhood doesn’t really work here


  7. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    - Annonin’ -

    All Drury has left is to BE a victim…

    … granted it’s of his own device, but I digress…

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a member of any legislative body despise his/her own colleagues the way Drury does. It’s so transparent you’d think its a schtick, but he really feels that way… lol


  8. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:38 pm:

    ===You can’t help but like the man, although he does come in for lots of criticism from his own side of the aisle.

    I interviewed him years ago when he was running for Congress. He was a genuinely nice guy who had different views of government from me, but was open to new ideas.


  9. - NorthsideNoMore - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    Its kinda sad, but when you have their kind of $$$$ you don’t need the party apparatus to win primaries in protected districts. McSweeny puts in the effort to meet people and exchange ideas. Not heard of Drury doing that ?


  10. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    It’s funny - Pate Philip used racial slurs (including the N-word, reported by Steve Neal), did everything he could to keep minorities out of DuPage County, etc. and the media seemed to like him. His fellow legislators (especially those oh-so-respectable moderate Republicans) sure didn’t treat him like he was untouchable or something. You could say something similar about Rickey Hendon. But Drury - oh yes, they hate him. I guess being an egotist angers people more. Ironically, I suspect Speaker Madigan could care less, as I don’t see too many “happy warrior” independent Democrats.


  11. - Liberty - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:23 pm:

    Arch Pundit… LOL, tell us in what capacity you conducted this interview, an unbiased journalist?


  12. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:27 pm:

    —Arch Pundit… LOL, tell us in what capacity you conducted this interview, an unbiased journalist?

    As a blogger. How is this funny?


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:34 pm:

    - lake county democrat -

    ===used racial slurs===

    You may want to refrain from that example or way of explaining. The last time you did… you used me as an example, then never, ever apologized for it.

    I’m not engaging you, nor do I want any response. it’s just reminding you of your OWN words and a lack of understanding what you said.


  14. - walker - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 3:09 pm:

    Rich nailed it. McSweeney is admired for fighting for his beliefs. Drury is seen as fighting for attention.

    In the article, Drury is reported to say: “There is no representative democracy in Illinois”– (because Madigan). McSweeney would never assume the victim position.

    My only beef with McSweeney has been arithmetic. If you’re right, show me the numbers work. But he’s certainly not alone there.


  15. - Morty - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 4:39 pm:

    Lake County Dem your example involves a politician and a political parties actions 20 years ago. I’m not sure that’s totally relevant to what is transpiring today.

    BTW, way back when I used to bartend for Pate Phillip when he was still active in politics. While I would never condon his (or anyone else’s) use of racial slurs (if indeed true)- I found the guy to be very gregarious and charming even though the two of us had virtually no common ground politically.

    That lack of charm, personality, or even personal insight might have more to do with Rep. Drury’s lack of legislative success more than any other factor.


  16. - Soccermom - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 4:43 pm:

    Archpundit, don’t you know that reporters are supposed to dedicate the vast majority of their waking hours to covering government activities and the people who lead them, but are not supposed to have a single idea in their little heads about how government might best be managed?

    You’re just supposed to be vacant little newsbots. Did you miss a memo, dude?

    (Note to the world: A reporter doesn’t have to agree with you to provide a fair and accurate accounting of what you say. I’ve covered plenty of people I didn’t agree with — that doesn’t mean I was a bad reporter, just a thinking reporter.)


  17. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 5:18 pm:

    Maybe Drury can stop reminding people that he used to be a federal prosecutor. Maybe he could quit whining for attention like a spoiled only child in the freshmen dorm who brought his sports trophies and scrapbook to college. Maybe, he’s just a jerk and nobody ever told him before. Either way, he’s reached the high point of his elective career so maybe he can go practice law and see if anybody notices that he left.


  18. - anon2 - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 6:54 pm:

    McSweeney certainly stands out in the mushroom caucus. Would that more legislators in both parties understood what McSweeney does about building relationships across the aisle. I would respect him more, however, if he admitted that more revenues are indispensable.

    He would be in Congress today had he not listened the Speaker Hastert and challenged the ineffective Phil Crane in the primary the year Bean knocked Crane off.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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