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Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Friday, Dec 20, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The 2019 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best In-House Lobbyist goes to Khadine Bennet of the ACLU of Illinois…

Can’t imagine this session without Khadine. The Reproductive Health Act was believed to be dead by most in the Capitol complex. Khadine never gave up and by sheer force of will kept things alive and moving. While other states were passing repro bans, Illinois moved forward. On top of that, Khadine was the moving force behind making traffic stop study data permanent - an old Obama bill from the early bill to check racial profiling. that is a good record for a decade — she did it in one session

She received a lot of nominations for “Best Do-Gooder Lobbyist,” and she deserved a win this year.

* The 2019 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Contract Lobbyist goes to Liz Brown-Reeves

High energy who never leaves a stone unturned. Secret sources hint she also helped TeamJB get a lot of their wins. […]

She does a nice balance between the 2nd and 3rd floors. She organized the Build UP coalition to focus on the vertical construction for the capital bill. Also, she was heavily involved in the cannabis and gaming efforts.

I’ve done away with the “Best Insider” award, but Liz would’ve won that one hands down this year.

* Y’all voted overwhelmingly to give the 2019 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Commenter to Wordslinger and I will honor that vote and believe it was a wise choice.

That leaves our final category…

* Best use of social media

Please confine your nominations to Illinois residents only and make sure to explain your votes or they won’t count. Also, please get on it because I posted this kinda late and I will be announcing the winner when I shut the blog down for the holidays at 4:30ish. Have fun!


  1. - The Captain - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:27 pm:

    Here are some great ones:

    @drixander: she is clearly a decent human being who wants to make the world a better place, someone who tracks and tweets the latest developments on an array if topical issues and someone who takes the time to thread them all together so there is some context and history to them, a must read.

    @chicagobars: because I want to know what bars are open on Thanksgiving night, and I like trying to guess the undisclosed locations.

  2. - John Amdor - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:30 pm:

    We are lucky to have lived in 2019, the year Scott Kennedy figured out what to do with the Thompson Center and tweeted about it.

  3. - Doofusguy - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    @anacaprana - great mix of Illinois and National politics as well as sports and social commentary - always entertaining

  4. - Guv'nah Bond - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    Social Media: Illinois State Police.

    They relay timely important information (i.e. road conditions), educate the public (i.e. move over law), use examples of what to do/not do (i.e. seat belt use), all the while with a sense of humor (see link).

    Our State Troopers have had a very tough year, but that hasn’t stopped them from doing their job, on the roads and on social media.

    Whoever handles social for ISP does great work!

  5. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    The Senate Dems twitter has long been a statehouse staple. Now there’s the Monthly Minute. Keep an eye on Moyo Adeolu. Star potential.

  6. - an observer - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:40 pm:

    The much deserved nomination:

    The Illinois State Police: Of all what I am going to define as “political entities” in IL they by far have the most followers.

    Their social media posts are interactive, down to earth, and they get their point across. This year, we have seen now, nearly three dozen of their troopers struck, some fatally. They have managed to be professional when needed. They sting when needed. And most importantly they use social media to expand their reach and move their postion forward.

    Whoever is in charge, or whatever team is in charge, at ISP please keep up the fantastic work.

  7. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    There are many folks who’ve done great social media work, including the political reporters/journalists like Hannah Meisel, Rich/Capitol Fax, Tina Sfondeles, Mark Maxwell, etc. This year we had little if any Radical Candor (work was done when Rauner lost).

    I vote for Gov. Pritzker, who’s pictorial posts were plentiful and captured moments of great accomplishments, like the bill signings and capital bill rollout. So much to show in social media. It will be hard if not impossible to top what he did this year.

    Speaker Madigan gets honorable mention…for having no social media presence. While POTUS is always lashing out on Twitter, Madigan lays lower than an ant’s [rhymes with halls].

  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:43 pm:

    Best use of social media

    There are some really great Tweeters out there you should check out. @anacaprara is indeed comedy gold, @ScottTKennedy is a solid look-see for all your political, governmental, and water park needs, @JohnAmdor is tasty to the follies of everything, including a bike ride. The rock of a social media “look-see”, is @MisterJayEm, who’s humor and takes are as tasty as the comments here… All that said…

    I nominate @ChicagoBars for best use of social media.

    It would raise a red flag if this twitter wasn’t in the mix, the JRTC flag fixing alone puts @ChicagoBars in elite air of social media in Illinois. You also get your New York Times type of “Undisclosed Location” tweets, some are “Mondays” others are “Sundays”. While I know I couldn’t make it though one of his legendary nights, it’s great @ChicagoBars shares some really cool stuff about the bars and taverns and if you’re not careful, you’ll learn a thing or three along the way.

    So, without a Malört face, I happily nominate @ChicagoBars. Check it out.

    So glad Wordslinger is being honored, that’s really appropriate.

    Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year to all.


  9. - @misterjayem - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    Vote @ChicagoBars — it’s the only way to be sure.

    – MrJM

  10. - BubbaMonkey - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    John Amdor and it isn’t even close. He literally goes through old debate transcripts in order to find funny moments to share on twitter. Plus: Rob the Dog, videos of cars driving in bike lanes, and genuinely insightful and humorous takes on whatever is going on. The man is a must follow. He even commented on this thread - that’s how prolific he is.

  11. - Rich Hill - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    Chicago Party Aunt, now and forever the biggest cheerleader for wonderfully local people, places, and history. Is there a more joyful celebration of local culture than @ChiPartyAunt?

  12. - Name Withheld - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    Second for @anacaprana. Her Twitter is funny, relevant, and I feel like I know her just because she comes across so personable. She makes an already-good administrator that much better just by being herself and having fun. Wish more were like her.

  13. - South of Sherman - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    I also like @anacaprara. News, commentary, lots of laughs, and a daily demonstration of the smarts that make her so good at what she does.

  14. - Rob the Dog - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    John Amdor, hands down. The transcripts he retweets are pure gold and it is amazing how he can always find little nuggets of humor. Never stop, John!

  15. - Soccermom - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    So here’s the question: I’m pretty sure Scott Kennedy is going to hit new heights next year. So do I nominate him now for the JRTC series, or do I wait?

  16. - Commisar Gritty - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:26 pm:

    I second John Amdor. He has been digging up solis gold in both chambers’ history for months now.

    Leader Harris would be by second pick. He’s consistently funny, and often uses humor to defuse what would otherwise be tense situations. Sorry you didn’t get the IL Family Institute endorsement Leader!

  17. - Bootedgeedge - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:26 pm:

    Wow, nothing could be better for one’s career in this climate than to be known as the “ultimate insider.” Liz Brown clearly relishes it, and she’s good at what she does. I hope that ultimate insider thing works out for you.

  18. - Commisar Gritty - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    Solid gold*

    Is there a way to edit comments? 😅

  19. - Bootedgeedge - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:28 pm:

    Whoops, I forgot the social media vote. My vote goes to Eric Zorn. Great tweets and I like his weekly round up and awards for tweets of the week.

  20. - From93Til - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    I’m going to nominate our influencer in office, Lt. Governor Stratton. Her selfie game is strong and she seems to be everywhere, camera ready and set to find the right angles.

  21. - Not Again - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    Making my own sub categories as they are not prohibited under Robert’s Rules.

    Member - Kelly Cassidy on twitter. Refreshing to see an elected official be a real person, often with hilarious results.

    Media - Tina Sfondeles. News you can use and often can’t live without plus cute cat pics.

    Caucus - House GOP’s history posts are very well done -

    Random - ChicagoBars feed could be the best in the Midwest and its even more remarkable when you consider how hungover he/she should be at all times.

    Inside Joke that should be Mainstream Idea- Scott Kennedy and his quixotesque quest to turn Chicago into the Wisconsin Dells of Illinois.

    In closing I never post on social media but appreciate those who provide endless hours of scrolling.

  22. - The Captain - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:39 pm:

    Also, I’m not a Republican but I love what the House GOP does on the Illinois history stuff.

  23. - Guessing - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    House GOP - The amount if research it takes to produce all of their original and fantastic content for the Caucus Blog alone is worth the Golden Horseshoe.

  24. - Can - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    Will Lee, whose Twitter handle is @MidnoirCowboy, does a great job with his #BondCourt coverage. I actually found out about him because Rich mentioned him on this blog a long time ago. Will mostly covers a crime beat, but he at least deserves an honorable mention.

  25. - Mold-A-Rama Llama - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    Another vote for @chicagobars, a lovely individual who is a Malört fountain of drinking knowledge.

  26. - Da Lobsta - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    In an era like this one, how ’bout a shout out for the reporters?

    Best Chicago social media has to go to Tina at Sun Times for her ‘men watching construction’ series, and Best Springfield social media to Mark Maxwell for consistently owning and exposing the IPI lies.

  27. - To the bill - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    Jaime Andrade deserves high accolades for this. The guy is a Facebook Live connoisseur and genuinely gives it his all to be accessible to his constituents.

    And Chris Welch - the man is basically a PR firm.

  28. - Dan Pogo - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    John Amdor. His mastery of social media on a number of different platforms is simultaneously informative and humorous. Keep it up John!

  29. - Tripartisan - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    There’s a lot of solid content out there, but I gotta give it to Maxwell. He’s consistently breaking news on the socials, and I appreciate that he posts videos of pols so I can see the characters react live to questions. Great mix of statehouse and Congressional coverage from him too. Who can forget his use of social media to blow up the Goodwill minimum wage story this year?

  30. - Effective - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    Government - IDOT and/or Trooper Tracy for repping safety and a good cause in a tough year for our law enforcement

    Lobbyist - Amdor’s stuff is quirky but golden

    Media - Maxwell because he knows how to use a thread and seems to go semi-viral pretty regularly

  31. - BiancaK - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    Best has to go to TinaSfon from the SunTimes. Every time I pass by a construction site, I think about her Men Watching Construction and have to laugh!

    Aside from that, she has THE CUTEST cat and this is coming from a dog person!

  32. - OurMagician - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    Trooper Tracy does a great job of not only getting info out for the State Police but also in a way that humanizes police in a time that we all need to be reminded that those behind the badge are just that, human. Of course there are always bad apples working in law enforcement just like everywhere else, but the vast majority are people and officers like Tracy and she does a great job of showing that and reminding us all the basics of what needs to be done.

  33. - RH - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    Tina Sfondeles, political reporter for the Sun-Times, always has insightful and humorous updates on her Twitter account @TinaSfon

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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