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Question of the day: 2021 Golden Horseshoe Awards

Tuesday, Dec 7, 2021

* Our commenter Candy DoGood summed this task up best

Given all of the challenges that have been faced by staff throughout I think all of the legislative assistants/district office managers deserve a shout out. 2020 was a tough year and 2021 has also been a tough year and part of their job involves keeping some of the challenges they’ve faced or that they’ve helped others face to themselves.

They all most certainly deserve praise. What crazy times to have to do what they do.

* With that in mind, the 2021 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Legislative Assistant/District Office Manager - House Democrats goes to Mika Baugher

Mika Baugher has been spectacular in the Speaker’s Office, She has most definitely kept the trains coming on time. We all know how Energetic the Speaker can be. Mika has kept him grounded and always on target in terms of meetings and the like. She is most deserving of this award.

Mika was the crowd favorite. She’s awesome. Honorable mention goes to Lea Negron.

* The 2021 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Legislative Assistant/District Office Manager - House Republicans goes to Cheri Hermes

Cheri does all the normal stuff so well but in addition brings some fun and flavor to the capitol with many skills that aren’t easily seen by the public.

She deftly handles putting up with certain lobbyists who think they have dibs on the chair by her desk on a daily basis. She always keeps the office stocked with supplies you didn’t even know you needed till 9pm on a session night rolls around. She has an unnatural ability to know just about everyone in the greater Sangamon County area and can quickly secure anything from seamstress services to after-hours restaurant delivers in mere moments. She also can trim your hair if you are a bit shaggy.

Another awesome person. Didn’t know about the haircuts, though. Hmm.

* On to today’s categories…

Best Legislative Assistant/District Office Manager - Senate Democrats

Best Legislative Assistant/District Office Manager - Senate Republicans

As always, make sure to explain your nominations and do your very best to nominate in both categories. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - SaulGoodman - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 2:46 pm:

    SDEMs: Trisha Rebbe — Sen. Peters has been a very impressive Senator over his first few years, and he has taken on a ton of bills and a ton of big fights. But none of that would have been possible without Trisha keeping everything going. She’s kind, she’s organized, she’s responsive, and she’s truly just good people AND good at her job.

    SGOP: Truly don’t have a nomination this year. Just haven’t done a lot of interaction over there lately.


  2. - Springfield - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:03 pm:

    Robin in the Senate President’s office is the best. She is always so friendly despite what craziness may be going on. Robin knows how to navigate a ton of people with grace.
    Tracy Weiters is a total pro. She is always helpful and knowledgeable. She is a huge asset to the Senate GOP


  3. - Nefarious Veneer - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:17 pm:

    SDEMS: Jody Racey with Senator Rachelle Crowe’s office. She manages a demanding (said in a good way) lawmaker with a very demanding (not always in a good way) district.
    Responsive, active and involved. A great compliment to the team.


  4. - S Elginite - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    SDems: Mavilen Silven, of Sen Castro’s office, is my pick. She is quick to return calls and has a solid command of our state government’s office. She will “go the extra mile” for those needing help and is well liked and well known in the community.


  5. - ElginDem - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:32 pm:

    SDEM: Mavilen Silva in Senator Castro’s Elgin District Office. Mavilen spent years working for the HDEMs and joined the Senator’s office in January 2021, during all the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and what would become a long session. Mavilen worked diligently to help every constituent who needed assistance during the pandemic, and played a pivotal role in organizing community events including vaccine clinics and food drives. It has certainly been a crazy year for all District and Legislative staff, but you would never guess that from the poise and grace that Mavilen has approaches every day at work with.


  6. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:34 pm:

    SenDem: Chelsea Stecz, Senator Sims is a busy man and Chelsea handles it all, she knows her stuff.
    SenRepub: Cindy Rechner, she is one of the nicest people in the Capitol.


  7. - Old Henry - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:37 pm:

    SDEMS has to go to Jenna Rossi. LA to Senator Cullerton is no cake walk. He is a work horse. She handles the many requests for information, meetings, etc in a courteous and professional manner and most importantly enjoys the job. You can not help but smile when you approach her desk because she is always smiling.


  8. - Flexible One - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:41 pm:

    Tracy Weiters who is the LA for Senator Don DeWitte is a a gifted , talented and hardworking LA. She is always doing her part to assist constituents, fellow staffers, the general public or anyone who needs assistance or advice. She’s quietly helped so many folks over the years and hasn’t slowed down since the beginning. She’s continues to be a go to person around the Capitol and her commitment to service is hard to beat.


  9. - AU - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:45 pm:

    SDEMS: Christine Hannon in Senator Linda Holmes’ office deserves a shoutout! Leader Holmes has a huge asset in Christine; she is crazy organized, thoughtful, and always willing to lend an ear to those in their time of need. With the past 2 years that we’ve had, we all need that!

    SREPs: Cheryl in Syverson’s office is always pleasant!


  10. - Les Nessman - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:58 pm:

    SDEMS: Lacey Stauffer. Lacey is one of the hardest working people under the dome. She works for Senator Castro who chairs the Senate Exec Committee. That is not an easy committee to staff nor is her Senator a piece of cake either. She expects hard work and results and, Lacey is always coming through to make the Senator look good.

    Senate Republicans: Cheryl in Senator Syverson is a great pick. She is a fierce advocate for the Senator’s constituents, and is always on top of making sure agencies are doing what they are supposed to.


  11. - JLI - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 3:58 pm:

    Thomasa Yarrington in Senator Cunningham’s office is the best! She is bright, funny, and exceptionally kind.


  12. - Collarcounties - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 4:04 pm:

    SDEMS: Mavilen Silva –Mavilen has jumped into her new role as the Chief of Staff for Senator Cristina Castro after working for the House Dems for 9 years. Mavilen had big shoes to fill but she stepped into her new role without missing a beat. She’s diligently worked at addressing every constituent need, working with various organizations on issues related to legislation, budget, etc. that the senator is working on. She’s hard working, very organized and is great at follow-up, and straight forward like her boss, which I really appreciate. After her 10 years of service, Mavilen is very deserving of the recognition here.

    SGOP: Becky Gillam –Senator Don Dewitt’s District Director. Many may not know, Becky was a former elected official herself and as used her work in those roles to help support Senator Dewitt. She is a wonderful to work with and is very responsive. She’s kind and pleasant to talk to even when you are on the opposite side of an issue than the Senator. She does a great job running the office and supporting the community on behalf of the Senator. She deserves the nod.


  13. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 4:17 pm:

    Claire Jones-Anderson was fantastic with Leader Lightford’s office this past year. She has moved on in her career, but great organization and professionalism.


  14. - Have all voted who wish - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 4:36 pm:

    SDEMS: Jo-An Sabonjian in Senator Julie Morrison’s district office deftly handles everything that’s thrown at her, which is a lot. She’s kind, organized and sees things through.

    SGOP: you can’t go wrong with any of Senator DeWitt’s people.


  15. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 5:03 pm:

    SD: Eileen Lynch in President Harmon’s office is a rock. Incredibly nice and handles everything thrown at her with grace.

    Also, I know you’re looking for an LA, but let me put another vote in for Robin, who is unflappable. When everyone is losing their minds near the end of session or in veto, she just holds it all together. Big fan.


  16. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 5:29 pm:

    SDEMS: Mavilen Silva for Senator Cristina Castro’s office is my pick. She is hard working and passionate about her position. She has a very compassionate demeanor. Mavilen is dedicated to the constituents of the 22nd District.


  17. - Fan - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 5:50 pm:

    Tracy Weiters is the best. She handles so much and with grace. She’s fun and energetic. If you need something done, Tracy is great!!


  18. - Just sayin - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 5:58 pm:

    SGOP-Tracy Weiters:She is definitely know as the go to person when things need to get done CORRECTLY! She has always been kind (to everyone including the janitors), passionate and a perfectionist. She always gives credit to everyone else before herself. Huge asset definitely someone you want in your comer!

    SDEM-Robin Senate President Office-always kind and helpful! Will go the extra mile to take of everyone’s wants and needs!


  19. - Mike Smith - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 7:53 pm:

    Mavilen Silva is the best!

    Mavilen Silva for Senator Cristina Castro’s office is my pick. She is hard working and passionate about her position. She has a very compassionate demeanor. Mavilen is dedicated to the constituents of the 22nd District.


  20. - Bob Mahoney - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 8:08 pm:

    My pick goes to Mavilen Silva with Senator Castro. She is always there to assist constituents. She goes the extra mile to find an answer and is extremely understanding. I have never in my life experienced such professionalism in a legislative office.


  21. - Cosgrove - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 8:22 pm:

    I nominate Katie Holmes in Senator Melinda Bush’s Capitol office. She is amazingly organized, beyond patient with constituents and helpful to anyone who needs something. Katie keeps the trains running for Melinda and as well as for many others.


  22. - Capitol - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 8:29 pm:

    In the Senate Republican Caucus, Tracy Weiters is an outstanding choice. Her helpful demeanor and keen knowledge of the operations of the Capitol are second to none. She is really a star!
    I think Marcia in Sen. Munoz office is also great. She is a total pro. How she juggles it all amazes me.


  23. - Oswego Billiam - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 9:06 pm:

    SDEMS: Mavilen Silva –Mavilen has jumped into her new role as the Chief of Staff for Senator Cristina Castro after working for the House Dems for 9 years. Mavilen had big shoes to fill but she stepped into her new role without missing a beat. She’s diligently worked at addressing every constituent need, working with various organizations on issues related to legislation, budget, etc. that the senator is working on. She’s hard working, very organized and is great at follow-up, and straight forward like her boss, which I really appreciate. After her 10 years of service, Mavilen is very deserving of the recognition here.


  24. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 7, 21 @ 10:33 pm:

    Senate GOP - Tracy Weiters gets things DONE. She also has a very charitable heart and is always trying to help organize people to support the community. She is kind to staff and constituents and definitely deserves a Golden Horseshoe.


  25. - (Sigh) - Wednesday, Dec 8, 21 @ 4:08 am:

    I’ve been silent for awhile and thought it was important to break my silence to give credit where credit is due and give my endorsement of Tracy Weiters for Best Legislative Assistant, Senate Republicans.

    Tracy is one of the few people who hasn’t let the activities under the dome or her job change who she is. Just Sayin is correct: “She has always been kind (to everyone including the janitors), passionate and a perfectionist. She always gives credit to everyone else before herself.”

    Tracy is KIND, HUMBLE, and has the historical knowledge/relationships to address constituent issues. She doesn’t have a personal agenda and isn’t here for the popularity contest. You’ll never (sigh) when working with Tracy. In this crazy cut throat world under the dome & the negativity in the world fueled by the pandemic.. the world needs us to be a little more like Tracy.


  26. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 8, 21 @ 8:12 am:

    Best LA has to go to Jenna Rossi with Senator Cullerton. Jenna is a true professional that is always smiling and welcoming. She goes above and beyond in to meet the needs of the Senator and residents of the district.


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