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Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for best political bar goes to JP Kelly’s

I recall at one point early in Rauner’s term there were two bottles of Jameson, from Rauner and Cullerton. That’s the kind of crowd it is during session: mixed, but not in a contentious way. As long as you don’t start filming. That’s another good reason it’s my nominee: it produced one of the stranger campaign stories.

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for best political restaurant goes to Augie’s Front Burner

If you want to eat and talk I pick Augie’s. Great food, nice atmosphere, and a “How YOU doin’” or two.

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for best Statehouse-area bartender goes to Dennis at the Sangamo Club

Might be one of the only bartenders in town that knows your name, drink and when you need another. Takes great care of those that have bizness to do.

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for best Statehouse-area wait staffer is Tony at the Sangamo Club

He is retiring at the end of December after 35 years. He knows his customers and always brings me an iced tea when I sit down. Super friendly and all around wonderful person. If all wait staff modeled themselves on Tony they would be successful. Tony! Tony! Tony! I’ll miss him.

Congratulations to everyone.

* OK, let’s move along to today’s categories…

* Best House Secretary/Admin. Assistant/District Office Director

* Best Senate Secretary/Admin. Assistant/District Office Director

I’ve added district office director this year just to see if we get any nominations.

Please explain your nominations. Try to nominate in both categories if you can, but I will understand if you only or mostly deal with just one chamber. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments »
  1. - Young and Inspired - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 1:48 pm:

    Niha Minannganti. My middle school brother just came down last week to be page for a day and she jumped through hoops to make sure that we did everything and were always busy. She has also kept in touch afterwards to send us photos and to follow up on any questions or concerns that we might have after the fact.


  2. - Just Because You Can - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    * Best House Secretary/Admin. Assistant/District Office Director: Mika Baugher. Always kind, courteous and an overall fun person to spark up a conversation while also working diligently for the busiest man in the building.

    * Best Senate Secretary/Admin. Assistant/District Office Director: I wish I spent more time on the Senate side and could nominate someone, sorry.


  3. - Les Nessman - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 2:24 pm:

    House: Stephanie Miller (Bob Rita/Anne Williams. She is always accommodating with two members who always have different interests coming to meet or just hangout in the respective offices.

    Senate: Connor McDermott (Hastings) He has a boss that is very much a go getter with a lot on his plate and always a lot happening during the year. Connor does a good job of balancing all the meetings, people wanting to talk, and legislation he sponsors and keeping his boss on track during session. He also allows people to set up shop and leave their belongings around his desk. Which is always helpful for the folks who don’t have office space near campus. It never seems like he has a bad day because he is always smiling regardless how busy or hectic things get and greets everybody with a smile and a friendly hello.


  4. - The Dark Lord Descents - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 2:44 pm:

    Senate: Lara Britton(Sen. Collins). She is so friendly and kind, and she is completely on top of it. You can always count on her and I don’t know what the Senate would do without her!

    House:Mika Baugher. I don’t know how she stays on top of everything but she does. There’s no way I could ever do what she does!


  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    Don’t work with the House much but Ed Gallagher, Senator Bush’s district person not only managed her office from 9-5 but himself ran for Lake County Board, knocking doors in the off time. He is always accessible and processes all constituent requests with a personal touch.


  6. - Springfield - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 3:19 pm:

    In the Senate, I nominate Mary Lou Frank. She manages Leader Brady and the Caucus very well and always with a smile.
    In the House Mika does a great job in a difficult spot and is always friendly.


  7. - charles in charge - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    Senate: Laura Davis (Sen. Harmon’s assistant in Springfield) is unfailingly kind and helpful to all the many folks who want a piece of the Senator’s time.

    Linda Daley (Rep. Spain’s COS/district office director) truly understands the meaning of constituent service and does not easily take “no” for an answer.


  8. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 3:25 pm:

    House-Helen Stannard Reps. Demmer/Bellock Is there any nicer person at the State House? She s one of the most dedicated/hardworking people around. She kept the busiest legislator of all time, Patti Bellock, on task and oftentimes works from the early morning hours to late at night. How many times did she have to get people at the Stratton front door before the building opened to come and meet with Bellock. She is a good soul and truly deserves this recognition.

    Senate Mary Lou Frank-transitioning to a new leader during the middle of a General Assembly is no easy task. She manages traffic and requests with such style and grace and is always so professional. She is awesome.


  9. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    There are all kinds of great people doing great work behind the scenes in this category.

    I’d like to honor India Hammons for her outstanding work during her tenure in Senator Lightford’s Capitol Office.

    She juggled a lot of responsibilities in deftly managing everything that came her way.

    India recently moved on to a different job, but she is missed.


  10. - A Fan - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    I would like to nominate Senator Collins in district office manager, Kathy as well as her L.A. in her Springfield office, Lara. Both ladies are definitely keepers, and always are on top of everything, knowledgeable and super friendly even when others are not so friendly to them! Great women of character!


  11. - Pericles The Statesman - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 3:46 pm:

    House - Stephanie Miller (Williams/Rita) Kind, compassionate and just an overall great person. She juggles multiple tasks and does not quit until the job is done. Dealing with Bob Rita and the cast of characters he invites could be overwhelming to some, but not her. Ann Williams was very active and has an active constituency, working for her cannot be easy either.

    Senate - Connor McDermott (Hastings). One of the most sincerest young person in the Capitol. He is always happy and over accommodating for the complete zoo of a space that surrounds Sens. Mulroe and Hastings offices. On any given day there has to be at least five people parked in chairs and/or asking to get their offices. He also has to survive Sen. Hastings who practically has a list of “Things To Do” and whose motor is on warp speed everyday. All of this, while taking a break to navigate the dysfunctional political dynamic of Will County for JB Pritzker. No question, hands down the best.


  12. - Insert clever nickname here - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    Senate: Lisa Katava! She is so amazingly sweet to everyone and so helpful. She’s a complete joy to work with.

    House: Rep. Gordan’s district office director is amazing, and that’s not an easy job.


  13. - Cletus Purcell - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    Nomination(s) for best District Director:
    Ryan Melchin - Sara Wojcicki, House
    Ryan has been able to navigate the testy waters of Springfield constituents as well as a sage captain. Springfield constituents are a different breed. They expect much more from their local elected officials when compared to down state or Chicagoland. Ryan has been able to appease constituents - with limited state resources - while taking care of his legislator with precision accuracy. Melchin is nominated.

    Lindsay Douglas - Jil Tracy, Senate
    Polite, firm, professional and gets the job done! A no-nonsense gal who handles complex issues with grace and poise. Infact, rumor has it she was handling constituent issues on her wedding day. I don’t know if it is true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Lindsay is nominated.


  14. - Miss Marie - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    Deni Wilson for Senate. Her Senator introduces sooooo many bills on various topics each year. I don’t know how she keeps them all straight, but she does.

    Rep. G Harris for House–both in district staff and in Springfield. That man is so busy and is advocate for so many issue. He has a top notch staff that keeps up with him.


  15. - time maps - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    Mika is the best. Always on top of everything. she runs state gov.


  16. - Victor Kingston - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 4:20 pm:

    House Side - Katie Ostrowiski (Connor): A new first year district side staffer with John Connor that proved herself very competent. Talented both stateside and campaign side, she has a bright future ahead of her.

    Senate Side - Connor McDermott (Hastings) - A gem of a human that never fails to prove his solid instincts, competence, and humor. Echoing the others who have nominated him, he is quite possibly the nicest stateside staffer I have ever met. Absolutely a person to keep an eye on.


  17. - Em - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    Cathy “Mama” Scaife in Senator Barickman’s Capitol office. She absolutely keeps the trains running on time in his Capitol and district offices, from keeping one of the gop’s busiest senators organized to handling constituent issues, she’s the first one there in the morning and keeps everything held together all day.

    Mama Scaife earned her nickname because of the lengths she goes to take care of everyone she encounters, especially guests and other staffers. She feeds masses of people every session day out of a tiny dorm size fridge, including a large quantity of her own home grown vegetables. I’ve even seen her sewing buttons on a staffer’s jacket.

    Cathy knows everybody’s name, knows all about them and their families, and greets everyone with a smile and love. She is the best there is.


  18. - Ciao Rauner! - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 4:27 pm:

    Senate: Katina Weller. Her senator takes on so much and Katina keeps her in line. She also keeps everyone else in line when they they’re supposed to be getting things to the senator or not responding to other staff.

    House:Ryan Melchin is a hard worker and I don’t know how he does it.


  19. - Lakeshore - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 5:00 pm:

    Senate staff: Connor McDermmet (Hastings) he is always smiling and is happy to help!

    House staff- Amanda Phelps (Lang)- she does so much to take care of everyone. She never gets enough credit!


  20. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 5:36 pm:

    I echo the nomination of Cathy Scaife!


  21. - Sith Lord Rauner - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 6:03 pm:

    Senate–Donald Finch is a bright young man who works very hard. He has a strong future ahead of him.

    I don’t spend enough time in the House to nominate anyone.


  22. - Austinman - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 7:06 pm:

    In the house, Mrs. Miller (Rita/Williams) she is always on point, very helpful with scheduling, always greets with a smile

    In the house district office, the young lady in Rep. Gordon-booth office in Peoria always on top of things and very professional.

    In the Senate Ms.Clemmons (Sen. Clayborne) she keeps his office running very smooth, will help you when she can and if she can’t she will be honest and say it but suggest to you where to go

    In Senate District Earl Bell, hands down to be able to keep that office going as it transistioned from Senator Trotter to Senator Sims was down so smoothly plus the office never missed a beat hands down he’s the best.


  23. - 618Route14 - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 9:36 pm:

    House: Mika Baugher. She makes an incredible amount of work look easy and deals with what many would count as a month’s work in a single day. She manages countless items for the Speaker and the House as a whole, including multiple requests from all members of the House on a daily basis. She’s also a gem of a person who makes every staffer or lobbyist feel welcome even during those incredibly busy session days.

    Senate: Connor McDemott. I don’t have a ton of knowledge in the Senate, but Connor has always been great to work with and handles his job incredibly well.


  24. - ChicagoFan - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 12:56 am:

    House - Ryan Melchin - Very hard worker and diligent.

    Senate - Connor McDermott - met him for the first time this year. Stand up guy. He has great energy, and is always willing to help or lend a hand. Definitely deserving!


  25. - Merry - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 8:36 am:

    Senate - Mary Lou Frank. Playing traffic cop in a Leader’s office if just different. Dealing with the Leader, the top staff and other caucus members can be draining, not to mention the volume of lobbyists who want to get in. It’s very difficult to make everyone happy when you have to tell people no and the schedule you start with in the morning is blown up by 9 am. Mary Lou rolls with the punches with a smile on her face all day long. She’s the best. She’s polite and courteous and she makes the Senate R’s look good. As a Leader’s assistant, she’s in early and stays late almost every day, certainly on all session days. She has all the traits of a person you would want working in any office, anywhere.

    House - Mika for many of the same reasons


  26. - You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 9:01 am:

    Both of the women who work for Senator Steans deserve a shout out. Cathy in the district office is on top of everything and keeps it running like a smooth ship. And everyone wants to see the Senator on session days, and I don’t know how Ashlyn keeps them all in line or straight. Steans takes on more than the average legislator and it takes amazing people to keep up with her.

    And Mika for the House. Everyone has already said it better than I could


  27. - SaulGoodman - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 9:05 am:

    House - Beth Chapman, who is retiring — She has long had VERY different Reps - first with Phelps/Cassidy, and then Phelps Finnie and Cassidy. But she’s one of the nicest people in the building, always helpful, and manages all kinds of fun and crazy with her Reps.

    Senate - India Hammons with Sen. Lightford. Sen. Lightford… can be difficult, and she’s always in demand. But India manages the gate, but also engages with the Senator on policy and support in negotiations extremely well.


  28. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 11:21 am:

    House: Linda in Spain’s office. She is consistently polite and positive. Whenever she needs constituent help, her reputation for complimenting agencies, sharing her many years of experience, and being so professional, is well known.

    Senate: Hands down, Connor McDermott, with Senator Hastings office. Connor goes above and beyond to help. He smart, positive, funny, and well represents the Senate Democrats.


  29. - Southern IL - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 12:28 pm:

    Senate: Sen. Steans LA, Ashlyn Deakin. Multi-tasking, organization, detail, informative, full of life with her smile and laughter. A joy to work with as she is always willing to help in any way possible and still remain constant for her Senator.


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