* WBEZ asked all 177 state legislators if they’ve been vaccinated. About 20 percent didn’t respond…
Nearly four in five Illinois lawmakers say they’ve received COVID-19 vaccines. But the two legislative blocs most unwilling to divulge their vaccination status — Black Democrats and downstate white Republicans — also represent some of the least-inoculated parts of the state. […]
In the Illinois House, less than half of the 45-member Republican caucus publicly acknowledged being vaccinated, and just under 85% of the 73-member House Democratic caucus is fully vaccinated. […]
All 41 members of the Senate Democratic caucus told WBEZ they are fully vaccinated, and all but three within the 18-member Senate Republican caucus responded they, too, are inoculated against the coronavirus.
First, surveys generally do not produce 100 percent response rates. Some of these folks may very well be vaxed and just didn’t respond for any number of reasons. Some may feel that it’s private information. Some may not want to admit being vaccinated. I do not know if we should assume the unresponsive are not vaxed, but they didn’t respond, so they’ve basically given us the go-ahead to assume whatever the heck we want.
* Let’s go over the list of unresponsive legislators, starting with House Democrats…
Aaron M. Ortiz [Sent me a screen shot of his vax card]
Jawaharial Williams [Says he was never contacted, but is “absolutely” vaccinated and is encouraging others to do so]
John C. D’Amico [He told me he is vaccinated]
Curtis J. Tarver, II [He told me he is vaccinated]
Justin Slaughter [”I’m definitely vaccinated!’]
Mary E. Flowers
Cyril Nichols [”I’m vaccinated”]
Janet Yang Rohr [Didn’t get WBEZ’s email and is vaxed]
Natalie A. Manley [Spokesperson: “Manley is vaccinated”]
From earlier this week…
Rep. Mary Flowers asked the health experts if Illinois gave a false sense of security that people are “okay” if they’re vaccinated. She also asked if state leaders are playing a “shame game” with people who haven’t gotten vaccinated.
Flowers is a Deputy Majority Leader.
* Unresponsive House Republicans…
Deanne M. Mazzochi
Andrew S. Chesney
Norine K. Hammond
Randy E. Frese
* Unresponsive Senate Republicans…
Sen. Bailey has said elsewhere that he’s not vaccinated.
* One House Republican says he is not vaccinated…
The only legislator to tell WBEZ he is not vaccinated is state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, who said he “probably” would wind up getting the vaccine but did not return a phone call seeking further elaboration.
If any legislator on this unresponsive list would like to contact me, I will make note of it here. I’ve also asked the spokespersons for all four legislative leaders to comment on WBEZ’s story and will post those as they are received.
*** UPDATE 1 *** House Speaker Chris Welch’s spokesperson Jaclyn Driscoll…
We know the vaccine is our best defense against this virus and the Speaker will continue to encourage everyone to get their shots. He’s extremely proud of the work our Democratic caucus has done when it comes to proactively engaging their communities, both in person and utilizing social media, to get their vaccines and adhere to guidance given by our health professionals even when it feels daunting. That’s the type of action that makes a real difference in communities.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Senate President Don Harmon…
I’m proud of the personal responsibility Senate Democrats have shown and our work to promote the only real way out of this pandemic that exists. Following the science and getting more people vaccinated is how we protect our kids, our neighbors, our communities and our economy.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Leader Dan McConchie…
As you can see from the overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans who were willing to give their private medical information to the press, the Governor’s narrative that the caucus is hurting the vaccination effort is entirely unfounded. Throughout the vaccination rollout, the Senate Republicans have been unrelenting in our fight to improve access and help our constituents receive vaccines. From holding vaccination clinics, to working with their local health departments, our members have been at the forefront of fighting this pandemic on the ground in their communities. The Governor’s goals, as he has articulated them, are more likely to be achieved through a collaborative process that includes the General Assembly and both parties. That has not been his approach thus far.