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Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Friday, Dec 15, 2017

* The 2017 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Government Spokesperson is, for the first time, a group award

The Governor’s comms staff, prior to the July purge. They all played a thankless role in muzzling a lot of craziness. The best argument in support of their nomination is what happened when they weren’t there. Chaos.


* The 2017 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Campaign Staffer goes to Galia Slayen

For giving the Illinois GOP a taste of their own medicine and ferociously taking Bruce Rauner to task. There isn’t a smarter, quicker, sassier campaigner in the game right now and Pritzker is lucky to have her.

The other campaigns are gonna murder me for that one, but she received some very strong nominations and she deserves it.

* And now let’s move along to today’s categories…

* Best State Agency Director

* Best Illinois Congresscritter

Yes, these are somewhat divergent topics, but please do your very best to nominate in both categories. Also, explain your votes or they won’t count. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Just Me - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    Secretary Blankenhorn is doing a fine job at IDOT. He’s bringing new ideas, recruiting professional transportation experts, and working all over the State. There hasn’t been a single scandal or screw-up at that department, which is unfortunately the current bar for determining if someone is doing a good job in Illinois government.

    Sorry, I just don’t follow our Congresspeople enough to have an informed opinion on any of them.

  2. - Honeybear - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    Janice Glenn- Human Rights. Talk about having to make due. A true miracle worker. Overworked, under appreciated and underfunded.
    Congress critter- Luis Gutierrez. Thank you for your service.

  3. - Grateful - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    Jennifer Hammer-Director of Dept. of Insurance. Considering all that’s happened this year related to health insurance, she’s kept that agency in tip top shape. Smart as a whip and willing to outwork anyone to get the best results for the people of Illinois. Gov. Rauner is lucky to have her talents.

  4. - Nishi - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    Sorry I can’t nominate in both categories as I am not familiar with the directors of our state agencies. For Congresscritter I would have to say Rep. Gutierrez for his actions in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and advocacy for Puerto Rico.

  5. - IMissBentohs - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    Agriculture, Raymond Poe - because he never shows up to work and does not bother anyone

    Sara Jimenez (sorry if misspelled) - she declared why she ran for office and stuck with her integrity despite overwhelming influences

  6. - Annonin' - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 2:27 pm:

    So the GovJunk team will get the Steve Brown GH? Very funny

  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    ===Best Illinois Congresscritter===

    The members that get the most attention are the ones whose districts “always” seem in play for one reason or another. The spotlight shines brighter with every move, vote, statement, even how they are “different” in DC.

    Rodney Davis has done an exceptional job and should be recognized for the Golden Horseshoe.

    A congressman that is in tune with his constituents, and still understands the governing too, Davis serves his district well, walking that fine line between partisan and representing a district that profiles politically different every two years. You know where Davis stands, and will weigh all sides. Honest and hard working, Davis is a credit to himself, his Staff and Crew and Illinois.

    I nominate Rodney Davis because the light has never been too bright, and if anything… Rodney Davis has used that bright spotlight to shine.

  8. - Passive Agressive - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    Best State Agency Director - any Director able to identify a budget cut.

    Best Congresscritter - John Shimkus — always handles the nonsense and drama of DC and Illinois politics in a smooth and steady fashion.

  9. - Anon - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 2:54 pm:

    Best agency director is IEPA Alec Messina. He was one of the grown ups in the Rauner administration, and he helped ensure that the governor was sound on environment and energy policy. Great understanding of complex issues, great relationships with members of the GA, and great relationships with the feds in DC as well.

    Best congress critter has to go to Bustos. She has become a real leader in congress on women’s issues, and she is available to her constituents. I believe that her influence will grow even more as the midterm elections approach.

  10. - Reaganing - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 2:59 pm:

    Second on Rodney Davis for all the aforementioned reasons. Willy put it best so I won’t bother rehashing it.

  11. - Decaf Coffee Party - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    Best Congresscritter — Rodney Davis. Texted him 30 minutes before health care vote. Next thing I knew he called me from the House floor. And I’m a nobody in terms of clout or contributions. Shocked me. Asked him why and he said “You’re one of my constituents.”

    We ended up agreeing to disagree, but I respect the fact that he called and explained the vote he was about to take.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:07 pm:

    ===Best State Agency Director===

    Randy Blankenhorn

  13. - NIU Grad - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    Best Director - Mike Hoffman, CMS - CMS can be a behemoth of an agency, with controversial issues lurking around every corner. Hoffman has been able to set a clear direction for each of the unique bureaus and handle the criticism that comes with the daily task of managing the state’s operations (including sensitive topics like personnel, state property, health insurance, labor relations, etc.).

  14. - The Elephant In The Room - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    Best Agency - Brian Schneider at Dept of Financial and Prof Reg. He inherited an antiquated and Byzantine system and has modernized it, cut costs and improved service. Licensure isn’t glamorous work, but affects over a million individuals running businesses throughout Illinois, and they’ve seen the many positive paperless initiatives and deregulation results! A top notch administrator!

    For Congress it would have to be Davis. Anyone who’s on the scene of an anti congress shooting and shows up to work again has my support!

  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:20 pm:

    ===Best State Agency Director===

    In a time where challenges arise that begin and end with budgets, and planning beyond today, the best agency directors have been doing so much with so little, and still look and plan and have Illinois future well within their sights, no matter what’s been happening around them.

    Secretary Randy Blankenhorn has been able to do that “more” and still have long term plans and the way to get them done.

    Arguably a far more visible agency then others, Secretary Blankenhorn has been able to keep a forward looking agency. The leadership and professionalism is a major reason this agency continues tp keep moving forward, when it just as easily could’ve been stuck in reverse.

    I nominate Secretary Blankenhorn. The successes of that agency are paved with his hard work, professionalism, and his leadership.

  16. - Wilson - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    A second for Messina - does a fine job of balancing both sides in what are often emotional issues.

    A second for Bustos - class act, balanced & likely next US Senator.

  17. - pickme - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    Blankenhorn, for sure. For reasons already mentioned. Other choices are actually quite terrible.

    Roskam, for hanging in there.

  18. - Not Again - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:31 pm:

    Messina - Not doing a bad job for a Blago retread.
    Quigley - I still find him likable which is something anymore.

  19. - Mugs - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    John Baldwin is leading DOC into a new era regarding treatment of offenders with mental illness. He has to do so due to the Rasho lawsuit, of course, but he is doing so eagerly and thoughtfully, not begrudgingly.

  20. - Original Rambler - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    Director Hoffman at CMS. Seems to be trying hard to understand and improve all the responsibilities and operations of that complex and crucial position. Plus, he leaves the impression that he’s not just there to boost his resume like so many of his predecessors.

    Congressman Quigley for being very representative of his district. Erudite and down to earth at the same time. Would love to see him in an administrative position some day.

  21. - The Last Jedi of Illinois - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    Best State Congresscritter: Rodney Davis does an outstanding job and electorate performance in a made made for him and any other Republican to lose. He communicates directly with constituents working to listen to them and being civil and helpful even when you disagree. He’s also one of the last true examples of decent civil politics among those in Congress as he seeks bipartisan solutions in a time of extreme, hard line politics. In a district drawn for a Democrat, Davis won with more than 55% of the vote because he works hard for his district and his constituents Cleary signal his strong work ethic.

  22. - JP Altgeld - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 3:57 pm:

    Cheri Bustos for best Congresscritter.

    Cheri appears to be working 24-7 and has the pulse of her district all while getting into leadership in DC. She would have won the gubernatorial primary and general by large margins had she run.

  23. - dbk - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    Another vote for Cheri Bustos, IL- 17th. I’ve discussed two of her regular features, “Cheri on Shift” and “Supermarket Saturdays” here previously - she’s responsive to constituents, she’s knowledgeable about the issue of concern (jobs jobs jobs), and she’s a hard worker - a virtue Central Illinoisans admire and respect.

    Plus, she’s been running workshops for constituents who want to run for local office, “Build the Bench.”

    She’s acquiring a national reputation and to my mind, it’s well deserved.

    Sorry I don’t know the agency directors yet, but it sounds like we have some exceptionally good people. Impressive!

  24. - Fdrdemocrat - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 4:05 pm:

    Best member of the congressional delegation

    Cheri Bustos- hard working member who is a
    Model for other Democrats on how to win in
    Trump country.

    Can you say Senator!!

  25. - Anon - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    Best agency director definitely Messina. He works hard to understand both sides of an issue and goes out of his way to make sure people are heard. A plus for me is that he is funny as hell and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

    For Congressperson I have to say quigley. Down to earth and honest as the day is long.

  26. - Arsenal - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 4:18 pm:

    Agency Director: Wayne Rosenthal. He likes the state, he likes his department, he’d like it if you liked the state and department, too. Given how negative this administration usually is, that’s a plus.

    Congresscritter: I’m tempted to say Quigley, because he’s shown what a workhorse does. No flashy bills or press conferences, just dogged work in committee.

    But I think it’s Bustos. She’s carved out a niche for herself this year as The Rural Democrat and she’s successfully riding the wave of young women running for office. There’s going to be a class of young women in politics who owe her favors.

  27. - So_Ill - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 4:26 pm:

    Agency director- Mike Hoffman CMS. Friendly, quickly returns phone calls and always works hard to accommodate.

    Congress- Cheri Bustos. The hardest working person in government/politics.

  28. - Patty B. - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 4:28 pm:

    Messina-Smart and knows his agency from the ground up.
    Davis-Understands his district and constituents very well.

  29. - Anon - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 4:47 pm:

    Director Messina - knowledgeable, passionate, professional. He can play politics on both sides, but remains honest and funny all at the same time.

  30. - ILescapee - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 4:59 pm:

    Agency director: Mike Hoffman. Never seen a director perform better in front of multiple subject matter committee hearings in one session…on different issues that CMS ends up being the fall guy for.

    Congresscritter: Quigley. Hard-working. Dedicated to his constituency. Accessible.

  31. - Nobody - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 5:31 pm:

    Best congresscritter: Schneider, he’s been extremely active all over the district and is always responsive to his constituents.

  32. - Annonin' - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 7:38 pm:

    Congress goes to Bustos. Works hard and survives in tough district.
    Hoffman has tried hard especially tyin’ to unload JRTC despite GovJunk nonsense

  33. - Ben - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 8:54 pm:

    Director Hoffman at CMS did a great job keeping everyone up to date on the payment delays and worked hard to allocate funds when he got them to spend.

  34. - Are We Still Voting? - Sunday, Dec 17, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    Best Director - Alec Messina. He is very knowledgeable in his subject matter and he knows what must be done to get the job done. He is responsive and responsible. Alec is one of bright spots that Rauner has brought into public service.

    Best CongressCritter- This is actually (surprisingly and thankfully) a difficult choice. Tammy Duckworth? Working across the aisle and doing a great job, but it’s too early to tell. Bustos? Hard worker and rising star, but I’d like to see more results. Davis? He is very responsive and works hard and smart… Most of the time. I’m afraid his partisanship is going to catch up to him. My vote is for Adam Kinzinger. Of all the rhetoric we hear about working with the other party, he actually does. And he is not afraid to stand up to his own party and stake out difficult positions. He defeated an out-of-step GOP incumbent to stay in the job and has not been afraid to criticize Trump when necessary. Adam Kinzinger has got a very bright future and no one should be surprised if it is not limited to Illinois.

  35. - Over It! - Monday, Dec 18, 17 @ 10:24 am:

    Congress- Cheri Bustos. She is a great asset to our state. Always returns her calls and always listens.

  36. - Sane in Chicago - Monday, Dec 18, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    Agency Director: Greg Smith at Lottery; a genuine, highly experienced guy that has helped right the ship while the agency has been under some pretty intense scrutiny.

    Congressperson: Adam Kinzinger; handles himself with class on the national stage and calls out his own party regularly while still earning respect among his party’e leadership.

  37. - Post My Loan - Monday, Dec 18, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    Best Director - Randy Blankenhorn. He’s the grown-up in the room. Always fighting for the good of the state and the betterment of Illinois’ transportation systems. One of the best hires this Administration made.

    I don’t know the critters.

  38. - Shell Bill - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 8:24 am:

    Director Leo Schmitz from State Police. Every time I need to see him, he is always available. He is a really genuine guy. I noticed he spent the weekend visiting the families and kids of police officers who were killed on the job.

  39. - Central Guy - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 9:18 am:

    Agency Director - Wayne Rosenthal….. He kept the State’s Parks and Conservation program operational with no budget. His department touches the lives of in - state and out - of - state residents that generate tourism dollars for Illinois. Wayne’s passion for the outdoors and wildlife make him a perfect fit for the position. A public servant with who gets it.

    Congress - John Shimkus….. His experience and tenure earned a seat on the Tax Reform Conference Committee. A big boost for those from Illinois who needed a voice in the process. Congressman Shimkus is a bridge builder, not a grenade thrower who makes a real world, daily difference in the lives of his constituents. A first - class staff covers a large district well. He is the leader of the Illinois Republican delegation whose understanding, decency, and human relations skills make him a humble example to others. More in government need his good heart.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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