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Rauner vetoes anti-Crosscheck bill

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* Veto message…

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner took action today on the following bill:

Bill No.: SB 2273
An Act Concerning Elections
Action: Veto
Note: Veto Message Below

Veto Message for SB 2273

July 17, 2018

To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois Senate,
100th General Assembly:

Today I veto Senate Bill 2273 from the 100th General Assembly, which would limit the State of Illinois to participation in a single, exclusive interstate voter registration program.

The right to vote is the bedrock of our society and system of government, and this administration has demonstrated a commitment to increasing access to the vote. Last year, I signed historic automatic voter registration legislation to remove barriers for eligible Illinois voters to exercise their rights and encourage robust participation in the democratic process. In pursuing this expansion of registration, I have also remained focused on ensuring the integrity of the electoral system and pursuing opportunities to identify and investigate potential voter fraud.

One major way that Illinois combats fraudulent voting is through participation in programs that allow cross-referencing voter information from various states to identify where individuals are and are not eligible to vote. This legislation would hinder that effort by prohibiting the State from utilizing any interstate voter registration program other than that provided by the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), except for limited opportunities to contract with our border states that do not use the ERIC program. This prohibition could result in inefficiencies and gaps in knowledge, as less than half of states currently participate in ERIC, many of which will not qualify for separate contractual data sharing agreements under this legislation.

There is no need to codify such a limitation in state law and hamstring Illinois’ efforts to combat voter fraud when other safeguards are available to ensure the security, reliability, and appropriate use of any data being shared.

The security of Illinoisans’ personal data is of utmost importance, but the law does not mandate that Illinois participate in any database or program other than ERIC. When other options are available, the State Board of Elections is best situated to determine the risks associated with a given data sharing program. Instead of legislating limitations on our options, we should empower and rely on the Board to determine what programs are appropriate for voting fraud identification in Illinois and to monitor those programs to ensure their transparent and accountable use.

Furthermore, voter registration data should never be used to curb the legitimate exercise of the right to vote. But completely prohibiting potential sources of information that could help identify fraud and abuse in our election system is the wrong solution. The law already protects against potential mistakes or misinterpretations of data that could risk an eligible voter’s participation in an election. Before a voter’s registration is removed from the rolls, election authorities are required to give notice under both state and federal law, which provides an opportunity to respond to and resolve disputed registration status. Beyond that, in the unlikely event that a voter’s registration is inappropriately cancelled, Illinois’ same day voter registration opportunities allow for voters to properly identify themselves and correct the error up to and including election day.

The importance of pursuing both access to legal voting and integrity of the system cannot be overstated, but structural protections are a more appropriate way for Illinois to continue balancing these priorities than blanket prohibitions on current and future options for mitigating fraud.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 2273, entitled “AN ACT concerning elections,” with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

…Adding… Press release…

State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) criticized Gov. Bruce Rauner for vetoing legislation that would have ended Illinois’ participation in the controversial Crosscheck voter registration system.

“I can only suppose that the governor’s veto was politically motivated, as this piece of legislation is a sensible way to protect voter information,” Raoul said. “We have heard from numerous experts that the Crosscheck system is unsafe and that it can be used as a tool to discriminate and suppress voters. There is no reason to continue using this system when we have a better option readily available.”

The Illinois Board of Elections currently subscribes to two national voter database systems designed to help election authorities identify voters who may be registered in more than one state: the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Raoul’s legislation, Senate Bill 2273, would have removed Illinois from the Crosscheck system but allowed the state to remain in ERIC, widely viewed as the better system.

Cyber security experts testified to a joint committee last year that the Crosscheck system has several security concerns that make private information easily accessible.

Additionally, many voting rights activists say that Crosscheck is a vehicle for discrimination at the voting booth. The system compares first and last names of state voter databases, ignoring middle names and designations like Jr. or Sr. This is viewed as problematic by experts because communities of color are more likely to share last names, making them easy targets for voter suppression.

“Illinois residents deserve a governor who will act in their best interest rather than blindly following a partisan agenda,” Raoul said. “Despite the governor’s actions today, I remain committed to my long record of fighting for voting rights in our state.”

* Another one…

Today the governor rejected legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) that would have ended Illinois’ participation in the deeply flawed and discriminatory Crosscheck system.

“Crosscheck threatens the rights of Illinoisans to participate in our democracy,” Collins said. “It has been used as a discriminatory tool to purge voter rolls in other states, a practice which we attempted to prevent here. I am disappointed that the governor chose to continue to use this faulty system that also puts all Illinois voters’ information at a cybersecurity risk.”

Senate Bill 2273, co-sponsored by Collins, would have discontinued Illinois’ involvement in the controversial Crosscheck system, which is used by election authorities to identify voters who may be registered in multiple states.

Crosscheck has been found to adversely affect voters with similar last names by disregarding middle names and designations like Jr. or Sr. and only comparing first and last names. Furthermore, Crosscheck takes inadequate measures to safeguard voters’ personal data from cybersecurity threats.

“Illinoisans should be able to participate in our democracy without fear of their personal identification being compromised,” Collins said. “I will continue to work to end Illinois’ participation in Crosscheck.”

* And another…

ov. Rauner took steps today to endanger Illinois voter’s personal information.

Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 2273 which would prohibit the Illinois State Board of Elections from sharing any voter information with the controversial Crosscheck system or any other interstate voter registration program other than the mandated Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is outraged that the governor supports storing sensitive voter registration information unnecessarily on insecure servers.

“Elections empower residents to take an active role in the democratic process. Illinois’ citizens should be able to register to vote without fear that their personal information may be susceptible to hackers,” Cullerton said.

Illinois currently participates in two multistate voter registration sharing programs: Crosscheck and ERIC.

State elections officials say the ERIC system provides more reliable information and greater security for personal information than Crosscheck.

Crosscheck is managed by Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and according to researchers at Harvard and Stanford, the program compares data that is insufficient to produce dependable results.

Astoundingly, researchers found Crosscheck was 99 percent more likely to purge legitimate voter from the rolls as opposed to illegitimate ones. The system is also a glaring security risk, as it uses minimal IT security and its operators have demonstrated a disregard for basic cybersecurity protocol, leading to the personal information of Illinois of voters vulnerable to hacking, tampering and manipulation.

The data is stored on a standard server in Arkansas, which the state admits is insecure.

Illinois’ election board’s 2016 election hacking was referenced in the indictment of 12 Russian hackers which resulted in the theft of the information of approximately 500,000 voters.

State Board of Elections officials testified during legislative hearings that hackers took voters’ names, addresses, birth dates and, in some cases, their driver’s license numbers and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.

“Gov. Rauner needs to learn from the lessons of the past. It’s his duty to ensure Illinois’ residents have faith in our state’s electoral process,” Cullerton said. “Once again, Gov. Rauner is not willing to consider commonsense solutions to protect Illinois’ citizens.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


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Rauner says he’s “extremely troubled” by Trump’s “defense of the Russians”

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* Marni Pyke

Given that Russian hackers breached election systems in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday said he’s “deeply troubled” by some of President Donald Trump’s remarks at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. […]

The statements provoked immediate and bipartisan criticism from Illinois lawmakers. Rauner did not weigh in Monday but in answer to a question Tuesday said, “I was deeply troubled by some of the president’s comments.

“It seems very clear that Russian agents hacked election systems in 22 states including the state of Illinois,” Rauner said at an event in Collinsville.

He later stated, “I’m extremely troubled by the president’s comments and his defense of the Russians. It’s clear from the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Putin and Russia are not our friends and the president should focus on holding them accountable for what they’ve done.”

He also said “I hope the president will stand with us against the Russians.”

Raw audio is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Our sorry state

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* ProPublica report last month

In the spring of 2016, a 12-year-old named Gabriel Brasfield spent 3 ½ months in a psychiatric hospital in Chicago. His hair, which he liked to wear cropped, grew long and unkempt. He forgot what it felt like to wear shoes because he was allowed to wear only hospital socks. He missed months of school, and couldn’t go outside. He celebrated his 13th birthday at the hospital, where he said the walls were bare and there was little to do.

And for eight weeks of those 3 ½ months, he didn’t even need to be there.

Doctors had agreed Brasfield was ready to be discharged about six weeks after he arrived, but the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which is his legal guardian, couldn’t find anywhere for him to go.

Brasfield is one of hundreds of children in the care of DCFS who are held each year inside psychiatric hospitals for weeks or months, even though they have been cleared to leave, a ProPublica Illinois investigation found.

Instead of moving on to a foster home or residential treatment center — a less restrictive facility where children attend school and lead more normal lives — these children have languished in secure mental health facilities, the consequence of the child welfare agency’s failure to find them appropriate placements.

* So, DCFS has decided to place kids in other states to get them out of the psychiatric hospitals. There’s a problem, however

Illinois is ramping up efforts to place children under its care in other states to prevent them from having to stay in mental institutions longer than necessary, but some providers in other states won’t take the kids because of Illinois’ poor record of payment.

Recent controversies over Illinois’ youth-in-care being locked up in mental health facilities longer than they need to be has led to a state push to place these kids in other states, officials said Monday. This, they said, is a better alternative to spending longer periods in an institution. […]

Placement of a child outside of the state may not always sound like an ideal alternative, but in Southeastern Illinois, placement just across the border in the Southwest Indiana Regional Youth Village is closer than a facility in Chicago. Southwest Indiana Regional Youth Village, however, won’t take in children from Illinois.

“Our reluctance in pursuing a contract is really related to the delays in payment that appear to be systemic with the state of Illinois,” said Lynne Rump, director at the facility. “For us to incur delays in payment really places pressure on our cash flow.” […]

Further north, Jane Dobbins, executive director of Group Homes for Children, a group home for teenage girls in Lafayette, Indiana, said the organization was currently at capacity, but would likely decline a request by the state of Illinois due to its history of delaying payment to service providers for weeks, or even months.

Ugh.

*** UPDATE *** Foster Care Alumni of America Illinois Chapter…

We are sadden to hear that still to this day instead of working with providers in Illinois, the Department of Children and Family Services is using the out of State option in placing our kids. Other states are seeing what Illinois providers have gone through and are making the decisions that many providers have made during the last 3 years. We as an organization that would allow these captive young adults a private right of action against the department last legislative session. However The union was against it and some of the Democrats along with Republicans did not feel like it did anything.

Another point is that the Department is spewing this narrative about the majority of these cases are new cases. This is simply not true. We have been FOIA’ing this data on a weekly bases and this is simply not the case. We will release an official end of fiscal year report soon The majority of the Beyond Medical Need youth in care are already under the Departments custody.

Until the Department truly addresses this issue in an honest fashion, Illinois will continue fail our most at risk young people.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* Micro-targeting via Facebook…

* The Question: Your micro-target ad suggestions for both gubernatorial candidates?

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


Grade inflation

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* Sun-Times last night

Mayoral challengers Paul Vallas, Lori Lightfoot and Garry McCarthy have been in a race against each other to plant their flags as Emanuel’s strongest rival by wracking up big second-quarter fundraising numbers.

Instead, none of the mayor’s three best-known challengers came out ahead. They’re pretty much dead even.

Fired Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s quarterly report had not been filed by late Monday. But the seven announced or potential challengers who had filed reported a combined $1.8 million. McCarthy’s staff reports that he had raised roughly $500,000.

That combined $2.3 million is less than a third of Emanuel’s total campaign balance.

The story was posted online at 9:57 pm. McCarthy filed his D-2 at 9:56:38 pm. He reported raising less than half what his people told the Sun-Times: $245,528. McCarthy ended the quarter with $173K on hand. He spent $163K, mainly on consultants, staff and fundraising costs. That’s quite the burn rate.

Paul Vallas, meanwhile, raised $436K, almost half of that from Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, and spent less than $1,400, meaning he hasn’t yet started to build a campaign.

Lightfoot raised $504K and spent $45K.

* Related…

* Judge Sets Trial Date, Location for Jason Van Dyke: The trial for Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke will begin Sept. 5, 2018, in Cook County, Illinois, Judge Vincent Gaughan ruled Tuesday. … Public outcry in the case sparked change at the Chicago Police Department and beyond, from the firing of then-Supt. Garry McCarthy to the electoral ousting of former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, as well as the creation of the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability to investigate officer-involved shootings.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


C’mon, November…

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* Sun-Times

“Mike Pence did it for the Hoosiers, and now Mike Pence along with President Trump are doing it for every American right now,” Rauner said at the [Friday] event.

Rauner backed up his praise for Pence on Monday, but wouldn’t answer whether his approval of Pence implied a pro-Trump stance. When asked directly whether he supported Trump, Rauner said he’s “supportive of many things,” such as tax cuts and rollback of regulations, but he opposed the way the administration handled the Charlottesville violence or the separation of children at the border.

Rauner’s evasiveness drew ire from Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker at a Women’s Rights and Resistance lunch Pritzker hosted Monday. During his speech at the event, Pritzker accused Rauner of supporting Trump’s “dangerous” agenda.

“Donald Trump is implementing a misogynistic and racist agenda,” Pritzker said. “Bruce Rauner supports that agenda, sometimes explicitly and sometimes by his silence.”

* Meanwhile…



…Adding… DGA…

Talk about bad timing. Just as Governor Bruce Rauner was embracing President Donald Trump’s administration, Trump met with President Vladimir Putin and all but absolved Russia from accusations it interfered with America’s elections. Trump’s trip coincided with the announcement that the state’s voter database was “likely targeted” by Russian hackers who stole the data of 500,000 voters in the 2016 election.

Rauner was especially effusive with his praise for Vice President Mike Pence, whom he called one of the “greatest leaders in American history.” What was the Vice President’s view on the meeting? He said it was proof Trump “will always put the prosperity and security of America first.”

“Bruce Rauner’s embrace of the Trump administration could not have come at a worse time,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Just days ago, Rauner was praising Mike Pence as one of the ‘greatest leaders in American history’ and now the Vice President is defending Donald Trump’s sellout to Russia. Does Rauner regret his words?”

…Adding… Check out the view count on this Facebook ad. Trump apparently sells well

* Related…

* Editorial: McCann is a McFraud: It’s hardly a secret, but the relationship between third-party gubernatorial candidate Sam McCann and Democrats backing J.B. Pritzker for governor is becoming more and more obvious every day.

* Fact-check: Pritzker camp wrong on Rauner and jobs, just ask Pritzker camp

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Because… Madigan!

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* Deputy GOP state central committeeman for the 17th Congressional District Bill Bloom has an op-ed in the Dispatch-Argus

The other simple math is this: Rauner plus Erika Harold equals House Speaker Michael Madigan’s retirement. Madigan has not been too worried about an attorney general who might look into his real estate law practices and the conflicts of interests his revenue stream, influence in Cook County and control of legislation represents.

After all, Attorney General Lisa Madigan is his daughter. Capturing the attorney general’s office and sustaining the new AG with a re-elected Rauner will put a spotlight on Madigan’s dealings.

I would expect that Mike (age 76) might well find it time to retire rather than sit through the first serious state-level investigation into his activities.

The simple math shows removing Madigan is the first step in turning around the tax, spend and business environment in Illinois. That requires us to re-elect Rauner and elect Harold as attorney general. In November. Please do not sit on the sidelines. Re-elect the governor of Illinois.

I have yet to hear a good explanation about why Speaker Madigan’s law practice is in violation of conflict of interest laws. Also, the guy has been probed more than once by the federales, so you’d think if he was operating illegally they’d have busted him by now.

But, whatevs. A guy can dream, can’t he?

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Rauner: “I will never sign a bill that violates the Second Amendment”

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* WRSP TV

After a number of proposed gun laws, some counties throughout the state are taking a stand.

33 Illinois counties now consider themselves gun sanctuaries. Although, the resolution is symbolic and does not change any laws.

Those counties are just trying to send a message to law makers that they believe in their second amendment rights.

* Illinois News Network

Mark Walsh from the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, which supports gun-control legislation, said his group is reacting.

“While this is quote-unquote symbolic, it also sends a message to people that these groups think gun ownership is more important than protecting human life,” Walsh said.

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said those pushing for the sanctuary resolutions are sending a message to groups supporting gun control legislation.

“They only affect the law-abiding gun owner and they only affect the law abiding firearms dealer,” Pearson said. “They’re just trying to push gun control down the throats of Illinois citizens who don’t deserve it.”

* Gov. Rauner was asked about this topic today

Reporter: How concerned are you about the sanctuary counties who are trying to, or who have considered taking action to try to get around your gun laws?

Rauner: Well, I respect those who are passionate about defending the Second Amendment. I agree with them in supporting the Second Amendment. I will never sign a bill that violates the Second Amendment. What we’ve done is find, we’ve found compromise to increase public safety while also protecting the Second Amendment.

Effingham County was the first “sanctuary” county. If you look at the resolution passed by the county board, all the bills either died of their own weight or were vetoed by the governor.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


Rate Rauner’s new ad: “Just Call Madigan”

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* Press release…

The Rauner campaign is launching a new ad titled “Just Call Madigan” highlighting JB Pritzker’s corrupt connections to Mike Madigan. Pritzker took advantage of his insider relationships with Mike Madigan and Joe Berrios to save thousands on his property taxes.

Property taxes too high? If you’re a politically-connected insider like Pritzker, that’s no problem! Just Call Madigan!

* Here it is

* Script

Are your property taxes too high?

Tight on cash?

Well if you’re a politically-connected billionaire that’s no problem.

Don’t worry, Just Call Madigan!

For shady politicians like JB Pritzker, high property taxes are no problem.

Madigan and his cronies have their property taxes reassessed and reduced in no time.

JB Pritzker did it and saved a bundle.

So if you want a sweet deal on your property taxes, do what JB Pritzker does…

Just Call Madigan!

…Adding… I’m told by the Rauner campaign that this is currently an online ad, but that it will eventually air on TV.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Pritzker reports spending almost three times as much as Rauner

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* Tribune

Anyone with a TV already knows that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker are both spending a bundle of cash on their campaigns, but records show Pritzker has spent far more in the last few months.

Pritzker’s campaign spent $20.1 million in the second quarter of the year, compared to $7.8 million by Rauner’s campaign. And that’s long before the traditional big push that begins after Labor Day.

Both candidates should have plenty of money for the final sprint later this year. At the end of June, Pritzker still had $18.3 million in the bank, compared to $31.8 million for Rauner.

The campaign finance reports released Monday evening also document where the campaigns are getting their money, but that hasn’t been much of a secret. The governor gave his campaign $50 million back in late 2016, and hedge fund founder Ken Griffin chipped in $20 million last year. Pritzker has given his campaign more than $100 million already.

* The Sun-Times headline is: “Pritzker spending $207,000 a day on governor race, swamping Rauner’s $83,000″

Of Pritzker’s post-primary spending, more than $3.2 million went to other Democrats, including $1 million each for House Speaker Mike Madigan’s Democratic Majority fund and the Rock Island County Democratic Central Committee. The billionaire gave $500,000 to both Senate President John Cullerton’s Senate Democratic Victory Fund and the Illinois Democratic Heartland Committee, a Downstate fund.

Rauner spent a fraction of that number — a little over $100,000 — supporting fellow Republicans. […]

In other races, Republican nominee for Attorney General Erika Harold has spent a little over $100,000 in April, May and June — about half as much as her Democratic opponent state Sen. Kwame Raoul. She ended June with about $230,000 in the bank on June 30, compared to $780,000 for Raoul.

Further down-ballot, campaign reports for the three-month period show strength for Democratic incumbents in statewide races. Democratic incumbent Comptroller Susana Mendoza spent three times as much as Republican challenger Darlene Senger, and ended the reporting period with 43 times as much cash on hand. Democratic Treasurer Michael Frerichs had $1.2 million on hand, compared to a $32,000 for Republican Jim Dodge.

The Sun-Times missed $2.5 million in transfers by Pritzker’s campaign since July 1. So, he’s up to $5.7 million in transfers since primary day. When you add that post-report cash into the mix, you get the headline on this post.

* Politico

Buried amid a list of millions of dollars in expenditures for J.B. Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign is a donation of $100,000 to Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center—an El Paso, Texas, organization helping reunite families separated by the Trump administration’s draconian immigration crackdown.

Pritzker made the donation to the immigration nonprofit after recently asking his supporters via email to do the same. […]

Pritzker’s campaign finance report also shows he spent $625,000 on airline flights, $650,000 on polling and $381,000 on digital advertising. In all, the billionaire Democrat spent $9 million in the second quarter and has about $31 million on hand for the November election.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign finance numbers are equally revealing. He also has about $31 million on hand after spending $7.8 million in the second quarter. Some of his big expenditures: $3.9 million on TV ads, $253,000 on robo calls, $694,000 on online advertising and $100,000 on polling.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


Your feel-good Illinois story of the day: Nichols Paint and Fab

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018

* I was flipping channels the other night and settled on Velocity for a bit. The show that happened to be on at the time featured some big, tattooed, bearded guys building a hot rod and I couldn’t stop watching. They just seemed so genuine. Hard-working people who loved what they were doing and who thoroughly enjoyed working with each other. No fake “reality” drama, no contrived “plot” twists, no awful “acting” like you get with most of those goofy shows.

And then they cut to a shot of the Midwestern prairie town where their business was based and an image of this water tower appeared on my screen…

Holy moly, I thought. I have a bunch of family in that town. No wonder those folks seemed so oddly familiar to me. I binge-watched every episode over the weekend.

* The show is called “Wrench’d,” a title which I’ll bet was contrived by some suit at corporate headquarters since they don’t do a whole lot of wrenching. It’s about the men and one woman who work at Nichols Paint and Fab. Justin Nichols owns the shop, following in his late father’s footsteps.

They started production last year, and focused their first two episodes on a build for the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas

Built by Justin Nichols and the crew at Nichols Paint and Fab in Watseka, Illinois, this bright-green Chevy is one of the most radical performance truck builds we’ve seen yet. To prove it is head and shoulders above other “performance” C10 builds, Nichols will take the truck to compete in the demanding Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. It takes a lot to stand up to those no-barrier hairpin turns and staggering elevation changes; it’s a good thing this truck is made for it.

Nichols Paint and Fab has been around for 11 years, and the company has lent its talents to everything from custom choppers and hot rods to award-winning show trucks. But Justin says he’s always been especially inspired by race cars that have the function to back up their looks.

More on that insane truck is here.

* The Iroquois County Times-Republic featured Justin Nichols and his crew back in January

The film crew is at the shop four to five days a week, while the Nichols crew works on the many custom car and bike orders they have. The filming takes place from 8:30 a.m. and can last until 1 or 2 in the morning.

“We are building a car for a guy in Florida,” Nichols said. “The show is about trying to communicate and build the relationships with about 10 different people on this project.”

* Rep. Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) represents Watseka, so he headed over to the shop to have a look-see. From his Facebook page

Had a chance to stop by to visit with family business owner Justin Nichols of Nichols Paint & Fab in Watseka. Amazing place. They custom make hot rods and motorcycles. Beautiful work. Justin is a hometown guy and loves what he does. From the several magazines he has been in and the TV shows he has been on, he does this very very well.

Thank you Justin. Creative young man! Take a look at his website. Lot going on. More TV coming this January. Look for it.

https://www.nicholspaintandfab.com/about-us.html

Rep. Bennett also took a photo with the crew…

The gentle giant pictured on the far right above is Nick, and I became a devoted fan when he taste-tested some motor oil as it was drained from an old engine. “Tastes fine,” he deadpanned with an ever-so-slight smile. I about died laughing.

I gotta meet these people.

* Justin Nichols grew up in Watseka and is fiercely loyal to his hometown roots, even though he could live just about anywhere because he sells to customers throughout the country. He’s an entrepreneur, a design artist and a regular, blue-collar dude who’s been working on cars since he was 7 years old. One of the episodes features him working with some kids at the local high school shop class, and he seemed determined to pass his knowledge along to future generations.

I’m totally hooked on this program, not just because these are interesting characters living out their version of the American dream, but because they’re working their tails off to make an out-of-the-way “Rust Belt” Downstate town best known to the outside world for its chronic flooding problems a better place to live.

The show also features Justin’s girlfriend Maegan, who is a talented welder/fabricator and appears to have a lot of respect from the men around her. Some of these cable programs use women as eye candy or comic relief. Maegan is the real deal and, unlike on so many other reality car shows, she’s treated as an equal. It’s subtly done, but definitely refreshing.

Hopefully, corporate headquarters will keep its hands off this show and allow the people to just be themselves. They’re fiercely proud of their work, of course, and they seem at ease in front of the cameras, but they’re not obnoxious, spendthrift braggarts like some other clowns on my teevee.

* Rep. Bennett talked to me yesterday afternoon about maybe doing something to recognize Nichols and his crew in Springfield. This state could use some working class heroes during these trying times. I’m all for it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


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* Janus apparently no longer loves his state job, hires on with Illinois Policy Institute
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Pritzker meets with moms who've lost their kids to street violence, police shootings
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign stuff: Morrison; Ives; Skillicorn; Nybo; Rooney; Curran; Breen; Frese
* "And admit that the waters/Around you have grown"
* A tiny bit of good news from Moody's
* Proft files suit so his independent expenditure committee can coordinate with campaigns after caps busted
* Cook shifts governor's race from "Toss Up" to "Lean Democrat" - Third-party candidates "the tipping point"
* Unsolicited advice
* The impasse and the damage done
* Entire IPHCA executive committee resigns, lawyer let go after racism controversy
* Chicago to get its first public law school, but is it a wise move?
* Doom and gloom abounds, but a new pension idea emerges
* Another lawsuit filed in Quincy veterans' home deaths: "For a year and a half, he loved that place. And it killed him"
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* EXCHANGE: A family has deep roots in baseball and softball
* EXCHANGE: For 122 years, observatory has demystified the sky
* Northern Illinois man convicted of murdering sister-in-law
* Man cleared of murder has trouble depositing compensation
* UI seeks to improve access for transfer students
* Watch cop revive man during fentanyl scare at Illinois strip club
* AP FACT CHECK: Kansas not the ‘sanctuary state’ of Midwest
* Woman injured by lightning strike at Country Thunder
* UI seeks improving access for transfer students

* Marginal amounts of legionella detected in Stratton Building
* Moody's gives Illinois finances a 'stable' outlook
* Illinois Army National Guard soldiers return home
* Marginal amouts of legionella detected in Stratton Building
* Under the Dome Podcast: Gun bills, Quincy, Trump-Putin reaction
* Incumbents hold big fundraising leads in central Illinois legislative races
* Springfield man wins Illinois State Police logo contest
* Rauner 'deeply troubled' by Trump's Helsinki comments
* Rauner signs bill to ease physician assistant hiring
* Bill taking Illinois out of voter registration system vetoed

* Home Run Pizza CEO dies
* Home Run Inn Pizza CEO dies
* Your neighbor isn't a business
* The future of the U.S. looks a lot like Chicago
* Cook County board moves to prevent repeat of pop tax fiasco


* Soy ‘milk’ makers may need to find alternative description
* Bears training camp: Take some time and do a side trip, a few good suggestions
* Man, 25, shot in Far South Side
* Chevrolet Silverado 1500 holds steady as 2018 model
* POT TOPICS: Weed, hemp bills stacked up on Rauner’s desk; Pot IPO raises $150M
* Police officer injured in crash in Logan Square
* Man, 25, shot in Gresham
* Police: Man dies in fatal car crash in Washington Park
* 1 killed, 6 wounded Friday in city gun violence
* Man in critical condition in West Garfield Park shooting


* AP sources: Pence, Bolton, Kelly confronted Trump in Oval Office about Russia comments
* 'Crying Nazi' pleads guilty to assault in Charlottesville; banned from Virginia
* Chicago company sues Kim Kardashian West’s  fragrance brand, alleging trademark infringement
* Boy, 15, among 6 shot in city
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 7/21/18
* Chicago police officer sustains head injury in Logan Square crash
* Pool access leads to pilfered property
* Lincoln Park home with side yard: $4.4M
* Man found dead in fiery Washington Park crash
* White Sox strike early but can't solve Wade LeBlanc in 3-1 loss to Mariners


» The Week in Review: Public Outcry Over Police-Involved Shooting
» ‘Ali: A Life’; Sexual Harassment In Bars; NPR’s Sam Sanders
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: July 20, 2018
» UIC To Acquire John Marshall Law School, Creating The City’s First Public Law School
» State Week: Russia Reactions, Gun Laws, Campaign Cash
» #660 PJ Morton & Opinions on Drake
» July 19, 2018 - Full Show
» Berwyn Homeowners Squeezed By School District Miscalculation
» How Conservatism Won In Wisconsin; Illinois Election Security; Special Olympics 50th Anniversary
» Illinois Prison Officials Accused of Abusing Transgender Inmate


* Scott Reeder: Understanding is what journalism should be about
* Counterpoint: His pick is bad news indeed for health care, women, consumers and unions
* Point: Kavanaugh is truly a 'judge's judge' and precisely what our nation needs
* Eugene Robinson: The 'deep state' stands between us and the abyss
* Marginal amounts of legionella detected in Stratton Building
* Moody's gives Illinois finances a 'stable' outlook
* Illinois Army National Guard soldiers return home
* Marginal amouts of legionella detected in Stratton Building
* Under the Dome Podcast: Gun bills, Quincy, Trump-Putin reaction
* Bernard Schoenburg: Bourne, Clark clash over missed votes


* What you may have missed: Gun violence data, firearms bill, ospreys, National Guard, America in Bloom and ethanol
* Bloomington's Eagle Station post office moving back to Empire St.
* Cyclists honoring fallen officers stop in Twin Cities
* Decatur and Macon County neighbors: Obituaries published today
* Two shootings in Urbana leave man dead, teen in critical condition
* Fire calls
* Police report
* Opening hearts and minds: Christopher's Garden supports those in need
* The ultimate garage sale guide for this weekend
* Daily Digest: Meijer food campaign


* Cespedes returns, Familia may depart and Mets beat Yanks 7-5
* Indians get a Hand when new relievers join them after break
* Firefighters: Minimal chemical involvement in Elgin water treatment facility blaze
* Keuchel's no-hit bid ends in 7th on nearly-caught liner
* Price, Red Sox win again by blanking Tigers 1-0

* FIBRA Prologis Announces Second Quarter 20...
* Chelsea Lining Up to Be Ground Zero in the...
* Indian-Americans are building an instituti...
* Unpublished notes from '94 meeting wit...
* 'A juke joint revival': Bradfordvi...
* Illinois Department of Public Health Conti...
* 7-year-old Matteson girl goes to Washingto...
* Why Joe Crowley's Loss Could Be Good N...
* What we know about Russia's election h...
* Ernst: President Trump 'not upholding ...

* How area members of Congress voted on voti......
* Family reunifications: 450 down, roughly 1......
* Ballot security battle heats up already ho......
* In IL-6, Roskam and Casten clash over elec......
* GOP accuses Dems of stalling Kavanaugh aft......

* Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez B......
* How area members of Congress voted on voti......
* Will Route 66 become a National Historic T......
* Tammy Duckworth Wishes She Wasn'......
* Alton Fire Department awarded $227273 grant...

* If wife outearns husband, she downplays it and he exaggerates!
* #fbf: A streetcar named retired with video footage
* The sad state of the sandwich at Logan Square deli Rosie’s Sidekick
* Rahm and Rauner's phony Ryan feud: Don’t be fooled by the Twitter barbs
* There’s always an issue we can quarrel over with regards to city street names
* Lies, Damned Lies and Rankings
* 5 things every college must know about cloud computing
* Accreditor clears path for $1.9 billion Strayer-Capella merger
* EdX Survey Finds That about 1/3 of Americans Ages 25 – 44 Have Completely Changed Fields Since Starting Their First Job Post-College
* Creatively nudging faculty members to expand use of immersive technology


* IDPH Investigation Continues As Foodborne Illnesses Increase
* Gov. Rauner signs HB 5611
* Summit for Success: IDOT providing tools, opportunity for disadvantaged businesses
* Illinois Payrolls Jump +18,100
* Liquor Control Commission Underage Compliance Report for Cook County

  
* With Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik cements her status as one of the great YA fantasy authors
* Xiaomi Mi A2 shows up in two more stores for pre-orders days before launch
* One year after massive takedowns, dark web marketplaces are thriving
* Meizu 16 and 16 Plus get 3C certification, live image leaks and launch date confirmed
* Fact check: Is smartphone battery capacity growing or staying the same?
* Galaxy Note9 shows up in renders in Lilac Purple
* Key takeaways from Singapore healthcare data breach

* Mariners Vs White Sox Preview: Starting Pitchers, Odds, Pred...
* LeBlanc, relievers shut down White Sox
* Shields outdueled in stellar night on mound
* Mariners beat White Sox, get back on winning track
* Mariners 3, White Sox 1: New half, same loss
* Mariners 3, White Sox 1: New half, same loss
* Abreu happy to talk about ASG, not rumors


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