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Speaker Madigan says he supports McDonald’s employees striking to protest sexual harassment

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* A couple of weeks ago, he sent out a press release heralding the birthdate of Jane Addams. Last month, he heralded the 25th anniversary of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s swearing-in. Today, it’s this…

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan released the following statement in support of the McDonald’s employees’ strike protesting sexual harassment:

“I support the McDonald’s workers in Chicago and across the country who are taking a stand to say it’s time they are heard and that sexual harassment in the workplace must end. It has become all too clear just how prevalent workplace harassment is. While much of the headlines of the MeToo movement have focused on high-profile celebrities and CEOs, women in every industry are experiencing harassment while simply trying to do their jobs, and not enough is being done to ensure women in the service industries are heard. America’s ‘first best job’ should not include abuse and harassment.

“Not only does harassment hurt individuals and workplaces, harassment harms our economy because it stops women from moving up the economic ladder—perpetuating the gender wage gap. All employers have a responsibility to take initiative to improve cultures and internal policies.

“Companies and policymakers have a responsibility to make sure our workplaces are free from harassment and that there are safe, reliable avenues for reporting abuse, a way to conduct prompt and thorough investigations and hold perpetrators accountable.

“This is an issue that has been a priority for my office. At my request, my Chief of Staff Jessica Basham has been meeting with some of the country’s leading women’s and progressive groups to gather the best ideas proposed to positively impact women and families. She is also leading a review of our internal policies and practices, and we have established a new process to bring complaints and have begun new in-person sexual harassment training.

“Abuse of power, discrimination, and harassment corrode our workplaces. I commend the women who have joined together to fight for what they have deserved all along—a workplace free of harassment and discrimination.”

For More Information:
Jessica Basham


- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

“That’s not the rich”

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* From the Tribune’s coverage of the governor’s endorsement today by some business groups

The re-election seeking governor and business leaders that endorsed him Tuesday kept up the Rauner campaign’s theme of hitting Pritzker on taxes. The Democratic a billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune has proposed a graduated tax system for the state, having people with higher incomes pay higher rates. Pritzker hasn’t revealed what he thinks those specific rates should be.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said it’s “bunk” that the higher rates would only apply to millionaires.

He pointed to Minnesota, saying the top tax rates there are paid by families making more than $250,000 per year.

“That’s not the rich,” Maisch said at the endorsement event at an Addison business. “If you’re living in this community and around, sure, $255,000, we all aspire to get there and that’s a great salary. It is not the rich. You do not build (wealth) if you are a family making $250,000.”

“Rich” is such a loaded term. We can argue all day about who is and isn’t rich. Pritzker ought to stop using loaded words like that, too. There is only a teeny-tiny handful of people in this state as rich as himself and Gov. Rauner. Unless you’re gonna tax them at a very high rate, a tax increase can’t be limited to only those folks.

I kinda liked the Pew Research Center’s attempt at defining upper-income households this week. It’s got some reason and substance behind it.

* Also, since Minnesota was mentioned…

- Posted by Rich Miller   62 Comments      

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Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

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Question of the day

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* The governor is still apparently looking for that elusive magic message that will make everyone go, “Oh, OK. Now I get it!”

If re-elected, Rauner said he plans to spend more time with Illinois’ residents, and its media.

“It’s hard to communicate to 12.8 million people,” he said. “What I’ve learned is that I need to spend a lot of one-on-one time with legislators listening.

“I need to spend more time communicating with people, just getting the message out about what’s at stake,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot. I come from business and, in business, you can make a decision and implement it.”

* The Question: If you worked for Bruce Rauner, what message would you recommend he use to improve his image? This is not snark. It’s a serious question.

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Kelly raises Bost’s Madigan with a Rauner

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* I’ve been telling you about this phenomenon since June. Here’s today’s Tribune

In the closing weeks of his re-election bid, Republican U.S. Rep Peter Roskam is trying to connect his opponent Sean Casten to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, calling his Democratic challenger a tax-happy “Madigan puppet.”

Casten wants to unseat Roskam from Congress, in Washington, D.C., not the Illinois Capitol in Springfield, where Madigan is widely considered the most powerful figure. Nevertheless, Roskam is invoking Madigan in speeches and TV ads, a tactic that aligns with Gov. Bruce Rauner and state-level Republicans as they attempt to position themselves as a counterweight to the Southwest Side Democrat and “the Chicago machine.”

“Do we really want Mike Madigan and his team to do a clean sweep in the suburbs?” Roskam asked the crowd Sunday at a rally for Kane County Republicans in Geneva. “And the answer is, of course, ‘No.’ And so we’ve got an opportunity between now and Election Day to over-perform and to bring through this great economic truth: that is we want things that grow. We want an economy where people can participate actively. And it is those things that are at stake.” […]

The anti-Madigan strategy is so pervasive in Illinois Republican politics that it is being carried out in another hot congressional race more than 300 miles away in the state’s most southern district. There, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost just started airing a TV ad in his race against Democratic challenger Brendan Kelly, tying him to both Madigan and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi using just one sentence.

* But Congressman Bost’s opponent Brendan Kelly has a new ad that ties the incumbent to Gov. Bruce Rauner

* Script…

When I served in the Navy, I learned it’s not just about service – it’s about who you serve. My opponent, Mike Bost, has been an Illinois politician for almost 35 years, he even voted to raise his own pay. He’s taken thousands of campaign contributions from Big Banks, Big Pharma, and Bruce Rauner. Then he handed them a corrupt tax giveaway — threatening Medicare and Social Security. I’m Brendan Kelly, and I approve this message, because I will only serve Southern Illinois. Not party leaders and not Big Pharma.

You don’t see this a lot, even with Rauner’s low poll numbers.

*** UPDATE *** Check out this Paul Ryan super PAC ad


The Kelly campaign responded via press release: “The ad uses a misleading cut from a 2015 video filmed by the Belleville News-Democrat, where Brendan Kelly says ‘our goal first and foremost is justice.’” Full response is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Caption contest!

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* “Soft circles” essentially means conditional commitments…

* Anyway, from the accompanying pic

- Posted by Rich Miller   148 Comments      

Looks like four out of five

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* Oy, that pic…

* Here’s the National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar on the five biggest signs that a candidate is headed to defeat

1. Apologizing in a campaign ad.

That one has no relevance to Illinois… Yet. We’ll see if the governor’s campaign reset speech is turned into a spot.

* This one does apply, as Kraushaar explains

2. Admitting you’re going to change.

Elected officials who don’t want to apologize take the next-closest step: Explain how they’ll govern differently.

Embattled Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is a case study of this crisis strategy. Last week, he pledged to listen more to differing views instead of forging through with unpopular reforms. “I’m not perfect, but I’ve grown and I’m still committed to doing what’s right for Illinois. I humbly ask for another four years to finish the job we started — to save our state,” Rauner said.

It’s no coincidence that Rauner, a well-financed candidate, is polling at a dismal 30 percent after barely winning his primary in March. Barring a miracle, he’s headed to defeat against Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

* More

3. Claiming all politics is still local.

The reality is Tip O’Neill’s maxim no longer applies: All local politics is now national. Members of Congress who focus on districtwide accomplishments will be running against a wave of national attacks that resonate more with constituents.


Rauner has famously been reluctant to even use Trump’s name, despite withering criticism. His opponent, Democrat J.B. Pritzker, just released an ad that features a television reporter repeatedly asking Rauner about Trump, only to be chided by Rauner to “focus” on issues affecting Illinois.

* Next

4. Denying the polling.

I was listening to a radio interview the other day and Rauner called the latest poll showing him 17 points down “Baloney,” even though polling has consistently had him trailing by large amounts since June.

* And finally

5. Anger about lack of outside support.

Remember how Rauner was complaining during the Illinois State Fair about how more people need to “chip in” and help him pay for this campaign?

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner endorsed by business groups while Pritzker says he failed them

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* Not a single surprise in this list…

Today, Governor Rauner was endorsed by the state’s four most prominent business groups that support his goal of reducing the tax and regulatory burden to grow the Illinois economy. He released the following statement following endorsements by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Associated Builders and Contractors, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, and Illinois Manufacturers Association.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive endorsements from the NFIB, ABC, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, and IMA. I am committed to making Illinois the best state in the country to start and grow a business. We will continue working every day to grow the Illinois economy by reducing the tax and regulatory burden on our businesses to create more good-paying jobs.” - Governor Bruce Rauner

ABC President Alicia Martin released the following statement:

    “ABC endorsed Bruce Rauner for Governor in the fall of 2013. We did so because we firmly believed Governor Bruce Rauner would make a positive impact on the economic well-being of ABC members and the construction industry. Given the accomplishments of Governor Rauner over the past almost four years, we were right to endorse him then and we are right to endorse him for another four-year term.”

NFIB State Director Mark Grant released the following statement:

    “Governor Rauner is the clear choice for Illinois’ small businesses.

    “When he took office nearly four years ago, Illinois small businesses were struggling to keep their heads above water and to compete with business in the region. Today, they are firing on all cylinders, hiring more workers, paying higher wages and growing their businesses. They know that Governor Rauner and his economic and government reform agenda is a major reason why.

    “…Despite well-funded and entrenched opposition, Governor Rauner has never backed down. He remains deeply committed to policies and legislation that will help attract and keep jobs in the state.

    “On behalf of our dues-paying members throughout Illinois, I’m proud to announce the NFIB Illinois PAC’s endorsement of Bruce Rauner for a second term as governor.”

Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, release the following statement:

    “The IMA endorsed Bruce Rauner four years ago because Illinois could not afford a Governor who created a hostile business climate with more spending and higher taxes. Four years later, voters in this state could not have a sharper contrast between the two candidates for Governor. JB Pritzker supports raising taxes and spending taxpayer money without accountability as far as the eye can see. The choice is clear as Bruce Rauner is the only candidate that will protect your pocketbook and that’s why manufacturers across this state are endorsing him for Governor today.”

Rick Delawder, President of SWD, Inc. and Chairman of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association released the following statement:

    “The business community needs a Governor who understands the challenges facing employers and taxpayers every day. As a family owned manufacturing business, we’ve seen some tough times in this state due to policies that make it difficult for us and our customers to compete and grow our businesses. Higher taxes, higher spending and more regulations do not create jobs or result in higher wages and greater investment. JB Pritzker’s tax and spend solutions are something we cannot afford and that’s why we are endorsing Bruce Rauner for Governor.”

Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement:

    “Governor Rauner has consistently stood up for businesses here in Illinois. The governor has been a champion for reducing the tax and regulatory burden that is holding back economic growth, and we at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce are proud to stand behind his message for cutting taxes and creating jobs for hardworking Illinois families”

* Pritzker campaign…

While Bruce Rauner makes an announcement with business groups this morning, a quick look at his record shows how he’s failed the same business community he claims to care about.

Here’s how Rauner failed businesses and drove Illinois off a fiscal cliff:

    JOB GROWTH: Illinois’ unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation, and “by Rauner’s own standards, he’s a bigger failure than his predecessor” on job growth. New jobs totaled 209,000 during Rauner’s first 42 months as governor, less than the 241,500 jobs created in the 42 previous months.

    BILL BACKLOG: Rauner tripled the state’s bill backlog to a record $16 billion at the height of his budget crisis. And he racked up over $1 billion in late payment fees during his budget crisis — which is more than the last 18 years combined.

    JUNK STATUS: “Governor Junk” dragged Illinois’ bond rating to one notch above junk status, the lowest ever for any state in the country. In just three years, state bonds were downgraded eight times and five state universities were downgraded to junk status.

    SMALL BUSINESS: Rauner’s budget crisis forced a quarter of Small Business Development Centers to close, and state contracts for minority business owners dropped by 22%.

    MANUFACTURING: Eleven months ago, the failed governor zeroed out a $1.4 million grant to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association for job training, which earned him headlines like “Rauner eliminates manufacturing program during Manufacturing Month.”

“Bruce Rauner created unprecedented instability for businesses as governor, harming hardworking Illinois families and business owners across the state,” said JB Pritzker. “Rauner’s two-year budget crisis devastated the economy, and it will take years to recover. While Rauner, by his own measure, has been a ‘miserable failure on jobs,’ I have a record of creating thousands of good-paying jobs and helping transform our state into one of the world’s top tech hubs. I look forward to bringing my record of job creation to Springfield and putting our state back on the side of working families.”

*** UPDATE *** Greg Baise at the IMA…

“JB’s claim is false. Because Gov. Rauner recognized the importance of addressing the critical job training needs of the state’s manufacturing sector, the final budget did ultimately include the workforce development grant. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle again included it in this year’s budget. While the Pritzker campaign is quick to respond with their canned messages, their continued silence over how much they plan to tax working families and Illinois businesses and how they will pay for almost $11 billion in new spending has been deafening,” said Greg Baise, president and CEO, IMA.

The cut was indeed on the list of what the governor’s office wanted to slash after a budget was passed over Rauner’s veto, but the IMA says it was restored and then put into the budget this year as well.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Our sorry state

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* Both Moody’s and S&P Global Ratings have conducted “stress tests” of all 50 state budgets in the event of a recession. Here’s Brian Mackey’s report on the S&P test

“When you look at all the states, the median level of fixed costs is 12 percent of a state’s budget,” [S&P’s Gabriel Petek] says. “But in Illinois, those three items” — pensions, retiree health care, and debt service — “come to 31 percent of the state’s budget. So that means they have less room, less discretionary budget capacity, to work with.” […[

“In the event of a downturn the state has this combination of reduced budget flexibility because of the high fixed costs, and no budget reserves to cushion the impact,” Petek says.

He says while Illinois’ financial picture has improved since the budget stalemate, lawmakers haven’t done enough.

“There hasn’t really been a focus on it — among the policymakers that we’re aware of — to tackle what remains of the structural budget deficit or build a budget reserve or how to bring unpaid bills to a lower level,” he says.

He got that right. Boy, did he ever.

The S&P report is here. According to its stress test, Illinois would have just 1 percent of budget reserves to deal with a downturn and a 9 percent revenue shortfall in a moderate recession (10 percent in a more serious recession) and a 3 percent increase in Medicaid expenses.

S&P did claim that Illinois’ flat tax insulated the state better than states with graduated tax rates, which is about the best argument for a flat tax I’ve seen.

* As I told subscribers today, the Moody’s report is more specific because it provides actual dollar amounts (click here). That 9.3 percent revenue shortfall in a moderate (or “normal”) recession translates into $3.35 billion. Moody’s projects an increase of $732 million (6 percent) in Medicaid spending, for a total shortfall of $4.1 billion.

Moody’s projects a 16.2 revenue shortfall during a “severe” recession scenario, or $5.8 billion. Medicaid spending will rise by $977 million for a total hit of $6.78 billion.

* Also from the Moody’s report

There is also a greater number of states that are significantly unprepared for even a small downturn, with 17 states holding far less funds than they need, compared with 15 in 2017, Moody’s said.

Those states, in order of least-prepared, are Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Dakota, New Jersey, Montana, Kentucky, Virginia, Missouri, Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kansas, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Michigan and Arkansas.

* Meanwhile

The number of people in Illinois with health insurance dropped last year for the first time since the Affordable Care Act took effect.

The uninsured rate for non-seniors grew to almost 8 percent and more than 841,000 children and adults are without coverage in Illinois.

[Katie Buitrago at the Heartland Alliance] says policy changes are to blame.

“This increase in the uninsured rate in Illinois shows how policy changes leading up to 2017 that cutoff payments to insurers and canceled Affordable Care Act marketing had a big impact on enrollment.”

* Related…

* Moody’s: New Illinois Laws Targeting $8 Billion Bill Backlog Will Help, But Won’t Solve, On-Time Payment Challenges: “To fully eliminate the backlog without resorting to non-recurring tactics such as further bonding, Illinois would have to do something the new laws do not require – achieve budget surpluses over the course of several years,” said Ted Hampton, Vice President of Moody’s and lead author of the report.

* States’ Reliance On Income Taxes Risky, S&P Says: The S&P report said even as the current economy continues to reach new heights and remains healthy on various fronts, states need to be wary of the fiscal effects of another recession on their coffers. With growing reliance on personal income tax, states are susceptible to swings in the markets

* S&P: Growing pension costs to force cities to raise taxes, cut services

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Edgar again scolds Rauner about the impasse

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* After telling Mark Maxwell yesterday that he wouldn’t be endorsing Gov. Bruce Rauner, former Gov. Jim Edgar talked to students at Millikin University and other reporters. You don’t have to read too far between the lines here

“That doesn’t mean we don’t disagree,” said Edgar, who also spoke to students during a political studies class earlier in the day. “But we don’t call people names. We don’t question someone’s integrity because they have another point of view. We don’t call someone a crook because they don’t agree with us.” […]

“I never questioned [Speaker Madigan’s] integrity, because I knew I would have to sit down and work with him,” Edgar said. […]

While the message can sometimes get lost, Edgar said it is important to remember that government is meant to help those who are in need. During the recent budget impasse, or the 793 days when Illinois did not have a complete state budget, politicians and the wealthy were not the ones most affected, he said. Rather, it was the students who depend on MAP grant funding for college and those who relied on social service agencies who felt the pain.

“We have to remember to help people, and if we do not do that, then we’re failing and a lot of people are going to get hurt,” Edgar said.

There’s that “fail” word that Pritzker is so fond of using.

Raw video is here.

* Related…

* Fmr. Gov. Edgar visit inspires students: “Civility. Compromise. Compassion. We need to keep all three of those words in mind,” Edgar said. “We need to be more civil in our dealings. We can disagree with people in an agreeable manner.”

* Barickman On Rauner’s ‘Unorthodox’ Speech, Higher Ed Funding Rewrite: “He does need to reset,” Barickman said. “You look at the polls—what’s clear is that Republicans by and large are going to have a tough time this November. (Rauner) is in a very difficult re-election. Part of the reality of where he is at probably led to his kind of unorthodox speech.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Ives claims Diana Rauner is in charge, not the governor

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* First Lady Diana Rauner was on the Big John and Ramblin’ Ray show yesterday

HOST: Speaking of relationships Diana Rauner, do you think your husband will reach out to Jeannie Ives? We’re actually doing an event with her on Wednesday to try to get her into the fold to help him and perhaps battle Pritzker this November.

DIANA RAUNER: Yeah, I’m sure, I know they’ve certainly, he has certainly tried to reach out to her. I’m sure. The goal here really is I think everyone;s just gotta think about what is - what do we want for the future of our state? And do we want to keep moving forward on a path of reform, of change? You know this has been a really tough road to hoe and all of you guys know that beginning of change is the hardest and the most disruptive time.

Gov. Rauner was on the program the other day and was asked what he’d like to say to Rep. Ives. He said something about how he’d like to thank her for her service both in the military and in the General Assembly. Then he said: “And thank you for saying publicly that you’ll vote for me in this election.”

* Rep. Ives was on the show today and was asked about Gov. and Mrs. Rauner’s comments

Well you know, I find them somewhat hollow — ‘thank you for your service in the General Assembly’ — because time and time again I went to his administration with great advice, and it was just a bunch of 30-something smart alec kids that run his agencies, basically thought they knew better than people like me who had served at the local level and have been there for a while. So I mean that’s a little hollow, quite frankly.

And as far as Diana goes, really, she’s the one who has created some of the disaster that we’ve seen with Rauner’s administration. She’s the one advising them. And remember, this is a guy who said ‘I’m not in charge,’ and you know who is in charge in that family and it’s Diana.

* Raw audio

…Adding… Remember this front page?…

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 - Long responds - Sen. Rezin calls on Long to resign *** Unclear on the concept

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* Derek Barichello

The La Salle County Republican Party has not made up its mind on whether it will support state Rep. Jerry Long’s bid for re-election after harassment allegations were lodged against him.

Party chairman Don Jensen said the county GOP is looking into the facts of the case before it makes a decision. He is unsure of a timetable when a decision may be made.

Last week, the Illinois House Republican Organization and Illinois Republican Party both pulled their support, including finances, from Long’s campaign after the HRO said it conducted a third-party investigation into an anonymous complaint. They also asked him to resign.

Long has said he is staying in the race, saying he has done nothing to warrant his resignation.

This was not an “anonymous complaint.”

The House Republicans know the person who complained because the person approached them. They also know the surrounding facts and the context. The complainant asked to remain anonymous and that should be respected, even though Long tried to out the person in a press release.

…Adding… Glad to hear it…

And as far as Chairman Jensen goes, the House GOP doesn’t pull out of Tier One races over nothing. They spent over a million dollars on the guy in the last month of the 2016 election. That’s an investment you don’t lightly abandon.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Breaking news

In the wake of an allegation last week of harassment of a person associated with the House Republican Office, another Republican today joined the call for state Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) to resign.

“In light of the House Republicans recommending Rep. Long step down from his position as State Representative after a third party firm was hired to investigate Rep. Long’s behavior, I too am calling for Rep. Long to resign. Harassment has no place in our society,” said state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) in a statement provided to the NewsTribune on Monday afternoon.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Um, so why would Long assume that Sen. Rezin didn’t form her own opinion?

Long called it unfortunate that Rezin decided to toe the party line without knowing the facts and forming her own opinion.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

Rauner: “Pritzker is a gun grabber of the first order”

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* Public radio

It’s Bruce Rauner versus the corrupt democrats from Chicago. That’s how Governor Rauner described the choice this fall between him and JB Pritzker during a campaign stop in the Quad Cities Monday.

After a tour of a packaging and warehouse company in Rock Island, Pak Source, he told workers it’s critical that they vote in November.

“Pritzker is part of that Chicago political machine, that corrupt machine, that’s caused you guys to have the highest property taxes in America, that’s put a lot of bad regulations on our small business owners like Pak Source, and pushed a lot of our jobs over the border to Iowa, our jobs have gone over the border to Wisconsin, to Indiana, Tennessee, and Texas.” […]

“Pritzker has publicly called for a ban on hadngun sales, a ban on sporting rifle sales, and a 100 % tax on ammunition. Pritzker is a gun grabber of the first order.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Dem legislator holds “prayer rally” to reopen prison facility

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

* From a robocall last week…

Hello, this is your state Representative Natalie Phelps Finnie. If you are sick and tired of seeing southern Illinois left behind, join me for a prayer rally this Sunday at 3:00pm at Tamms’ Correctional Facility. I am fighting to reopen Tamms to bring back good paying jobs and improve our local economy instead of following Bruce Rauner’s plan to open a new facility in Chicago. It’s time to put southern Illinois first this Sunday at 3 at the Tamms Correctional Facility. Paid for by friends of Natalie Phelps Finnie.

* And, yes, they did pray for the reopening of a state prison

Reopen Tamms Correctional Facility -My Brother’s Keeper Prayer Rally

Posted by Natalie Phelps Finnie for State Representative on Sunday, September 16, 2018

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      


Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

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