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 Drury is characterized as a “sullen and withdrawn” loner, “ostracized” by his colleagues.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