* The Chicago Tribune has finally published a story on the House Republican secessionists. We’ve covered this a lot, so let’s just focus on Sen. Manar’s advice…
State Sen. Andy Manar, a Democrat from the southern Illinois community of Bunker Hill, had the regionalism game played against him as a lead architect of a historic change in school funding. Critics claimed it was a bailout of the Chicago Public Schools.
Manar said some of the problems his district faces are akin to what Chicago sees in some of its neighborhoods. Manar said understanding the similar nature of problems is needed to overcome the regional fissure.
“Lack of pharmacies, lack of doctors, lack of specialists, underfunded schools, vacant classrooms, unemployment, child abuse rates going up. Those things are happening in rural communities and urban communities alike,” Manar said. “Too often, when policymakers get into this building, it’s very easy to use geography to explain deep challenges that our state faces. That’s an easy explanation that plays to the cheers of the crowd.”
In the end, Manar said, the answer is to tone down the rhetoric, find common ground and get things done.
“Look, I could show up here every day and beat the crap out of the city of Chicago and get re-elected every four years. That would be easy to do, right? It would guarantee re-election,” Manar said. “But when you’re done as an elected official in the Senate, you probably wouldn’t be able to point to one single accomplishment for the people who sent you here to get things done.”