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Question of the day: 2020 Golden Horseshoe Awards

Tuesday, Dec 8, 2020

* From December 2nd

Now, about the Golden Horseshoe Awards. Since there was basically no session this year, I’m not sure that many of our categories are even relevant (best restaurant, bars, waitstaff, legislators, lobbyists, etc.). So, what would you like to do? Which categories do you think would be most appropriate? And, remember, these awards are for achievement. We don’t waste our time on negativity. No snark allowed.

My own thoughts are that we give the best agency director award to Dr. Ezike and give a huge shoutout to all the staff who have kept everything together during these crazy times and call it a day.

* This comment made me rethink things

IMHO - the boots on the ground and blog specific categories should remain this year. Best Government Staff/Official, Best Senate AA/District Office, Best House AA/District Office, Best Liaison - these are non-political in 2020 and the folks that would be considered for these categories have worked their tails off helping constituents and keeping this state afloat.

For the blog itself, Best Commenter and Best Use of Social Media should be considered since CapFax and Twitter have helped most of us keep our wits about us throughout the pandemic.

I’ll be using that comment as a basis for this year’s categories, but I may add or subtract as we go along, particularly since we have some time constraints.

* Today’s 2020 Golden Horseshoe Awards categories…

Best legislative assistant/district office manager - House Democrats

Best legislative assistant/district office manager - House Republicans

I know it’s not possible for everyone, but please try your best to nominate in both categories. And remember to explain your answer or your vote will not count. This is not a simple poll.

Also, while you’re contemplating your responses, please click here and donate to Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. We’ve already surpassed last year’s level, so let’s keep it going. Your donation will buy winter coats and boots and Christmas presents for foster kids.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Campaign Cowboy - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    Best legislative assistant/district office manager - House Republicans: Rachel Tabor.

    Having professional and friendly district staff is a key factor for successful constituent outreach and completing all the work faced by legislators each session. Rachel knocks it out of the park each time for Rep. Tim Butler even during this past shutdown. Her work ethic and reliability in helping constituents during this pandemic shows why legislative staffers always deserve credit for their hard work and sacrifices that help keep state government going.

  2. - B Up North - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 1:30 pm:

    Christi Wessel in Rep. Michelle Mussman’s office is my pick for House Dems. Incredibly responsive and thorough in her research while being professional and friendly. She’s a gem.

  3. - Olive Garden - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 1:33 pm:

    House Republicans: Shelly Grigoroff for Rep. Welter. She’s always a joy to talk to, and goes out of her way to make sure the trains are running on time. I wish we had more people like her in government.

    House Democrats: Kathleen Sheridan for Rep. Buckner and Gonzalez. I believe she moved on to another position, but she is an absolute delight to be around. She works extremely hard and remarkably smart. She also knows how to deal with difficult people in a manner I know I couldn’t!

  4. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 2:03 pm:

    No specific nomination, but a note on the overall importance of this category this year: I’ve heard so many stories since March of people who were struggling with IDES and received significant assistance after contacting their local state rep’s office. There are some elected officials who don’t take constituent affairs seriously (see: Skillicorn), so I’m always happy to hear stories of offices going above and beyond to help.

  5. - MakePoliticsCoolAgain - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 2:31 pm:

    Best legislative assistant/district office manager - House Democrats: Tina Tyson-Dunne (Rep Conroy). Tina Tyson-Dunne has done everything from unemployment applications, meal delivery and even staffed COVID testing sites. Tina hasn’t just been sitting around an office, she is boots on the ground working for her community directly.

    Best legislative assistant/district office manager - House Republicans: Rachel Tabor (Rep. Butler). This young woman has traveled all over the district (and beyond) picking up documents and other necessary paperwork to ensure constituents most in need are receiving their benefits including unemployment and social security.

  6. - Lost in the Northern Suburbs - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    Best District Office Manager Democrat: Without a doubt, the best District Office Manager is Mike Amarilio in Rep Carroll’s office. He was beyond helpful with my IDES case as well as other issues. He was so good in fact that I referred others to him and he was helpful even for those who don’t live in the district. The only reason why I voted for Carroll was because of Mr. Amarilio because anyone who’s smart enough to hire him obviously cares about helping his constituents.

  7. - Lost in the Northern Suburbs - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 2:33 pm:

    I’m sorry I don’t know of any Republican office managers.

  8. - 32nd warder - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    I have to give it to Jessica Genoa with Rep LaPointe for the House Democratic staff. She has gone above and beyond in every way possible as a new staff for a new member, and in unprecedented times found a way to continue working with Rep LaPointe to serve the business and people of that district

  9. - Southern Belle - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    Shelly Grigoroff is the face of the North Wing! She is pleasant, hard working, and handles 3 Reps. from 3 very different districts.

  10. - Christi Wessel - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    Thanks B UpNorth!
    You made my day! ;)

  11. - Annoin' - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    On the HouseD side best choice would be Bobbi Drew who got 2 Turners through the GA and helps Thaddeus Jones a lot
    GOPies much tougher choice. How about Nicole Padget who helped guide Whirls through his exit interview? Turn out seems to be a little light

  12. - The Opinions Bureau - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    I’m thankful for all the staffers who have worked so hard over the course of this year to not only keep their bosses on schedule and keep lines of communication open during the May session but have also provided vital constituent services.

    For HDems, I nominate Jessica Genova in Rep. LaPointe’s office. The profile Mark Brown did of them a couple months back says it all.

    “Yet what’s striking to LaPointe’s chief of staff, Jessica Genova, is how apologetic many of the callers are, as if they’re feeling guilty about their predicament and needing help.

    ‘I’ve never done this before,’ they say.

    Genova expected to work on government policy issues when she took the job with LaPointe. Instead, she’s found herself functioning more like a social worker since the pandemic hit.

    One of Genova’s basic questions for everyone who calls is to ask how they are doing with food, whether they have enough.

    Rarely does anyone turn down her offer of help.

    ‘A couple of times a week, we’re coordinating food deliveries to families,’ she said.

    Still, there is a notable reluctance.

    ‘For whatever reason, they feel there are other people who need it more,’ Genova said.”

    I haven’t interacted as much with HGOP district staff or LAs but always have a good experience working with Rep. Batinick and Butler’s offices.

  13. - Justin - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 4:17 pm:

    Best legislative assistant/district office manager - House Democrats: Allie McNamara for Katie Stuart. Allie is a studious assistant who helped deliver Stuart another win.

  14. - Nobody - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 4:54 pm:

    Shelly Grigoroff is the best l/a in the entire building, most organized, most kind, and hands down the winner in my opinion.

  15. - hot chocolate - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 5:29 pm:

    Hands down Shelly Grigoroff is the most capable and friendly LA - She’s great!

  16. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 5:39 pm:

    House Democrats: Nick Reinert for Rep. Fran Hurley. I cannot believe how often this guy goes above and beyond for constituents. He is thorough and follows up consistently to make sure any issues for his constituent get resolved. I am always impressed by him. He is also delightful to talk to in general.

    I am sorry, I don’t know any Republican legislative assistants/district office managers yet :(

  17. - Prospect Pride - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 5:51 pm:

    I’m going to second the nomination of Mike Amarilio from Carroll’s office. In having to deal with his predecessor’s office, Amarilio is a breath of fresh air. John’s district is very lucky to have him around.

  18. - truth - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 5:56 pm:

    Caryn Valadez from Rep. Gong G’s office.
    Caryn is the best!! House Dems are lucky to have her - she knows everything about state government and she’s super responsive. She’s hilarious too. Love working with her…

  19. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 6:09 pm:

    House Democrats: Lea Negron for Rep. Kelly Cassidy. I cannot begin to tell you all the amount of time Lea spends helping constituents. Lea follows through with every single case and has worked diligently for months to get each and every single unemployment case resolved. She is extremely knowledgeable in all fields and is always willing to teach or explain everything in detail.

    Unfortunately I can’t nominate any Republican legislative assistants/district office managers as I don’t know any yet.

  20. - NorthsideNoMore - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 6:24 pm:

    House R Staff Shelly Grigroff always gets meetings set and calls when committees run long so youre not wasting time. Always friendly too.

    Patti Mabe on the House Dem side (she moved to Senate but was house most of year) She handles all that traffic in that wing like a champ and always has a smile, she is the best.

  21. - DuPage - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 7:05 pm:

    House Democrats: Tina Tyson Dunne who works for Rep. Conroy. Tina lives and breathes public service continuously going over and above to help wherever help is needed in the 46th district while providing excellent constituent services.

  22. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 8:23 pm:

    House Democrats: Tina Tyson-Dunne (Rep Conroy). Tina always goes above and beyond to help the constituents of the 46th district as well as many constituents in a neighboring legislative district.

  23. - Husband of Bobo - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 9:45 pm:

    Mike Amarilio is the best. By far

  24. - Downstate - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 9:48 pm:

    I second Allie McNamara with Katie Stuart’s office. Representative Stuart couldn’t ask for a harder worker or kinder person to have on payroll.

  25. - Mike Amarilio - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 9:50 pm:

    Alright who put the name “Husband of Bobo” cause you’re kinda freaking me out.

    To all the other people, thank you! Very kond!

  26. - Mike Amarilio - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 9:50 pm:


  27. - 25th Ward Foo - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 11:10 pm:

    Gotta give it up for Jessica Genova from State Rep. Lindsey Lapointe’s office. She cares so deeply for every single constituent she works for. I’m in awe of how she goes the extra-mile for constituents, even turning every-day problems to legislation to get at the root of the issue. She’s got my nomination!

  28. - women's boots - Wednesday, Dec 16, 20 @ 10:45 pm:

    When some one searches for his necessary thing, thus he/she wishes to be
    available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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