Suburban Political Recount

Suburban Political Recount

Democrats detail coming unemployment cuts

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:01

A handful of Illinois Democratic members of Congress Tuesday outlined county-by-county numbers of people who will lose unemployment benefits Dec. 28.

Their numbers come from the the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, was the only House member from Illinois to vote against a bipartisan budget deal, saying lawmakers should have extended unemployment benefits.

"That is inexcusable and Congress has an obligation to ensure that millions of people can keep their modest benefits," Schakowsky said in a statement.

As it is, people are set to lose benefits Dec. 28 if Congress doesn't extend benefits beyond the standard 26 weeks. Illinois has a higher unemployment rate than the national average.

Democrats detail coming unemployment cuts

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:01

A handful of Illinois Democratic members of Congress Tuesday outlined county-by-county numbers of people who will lose unemployment benefits Dec. 28.

Their numbers come from the the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, was the only House member from Illinois to vote against a bipartisan budget deal, saying lawmakers should have extended unemployment benefits.

"That is inexcusable and Congress has an obligation to ensure that millions of people can keep their modest benefits," Schakowsky said in a statement.

As it is, people are set to lose benefits Dec. 28 if Congress doesn't extend benefits beyond the standard 26 weeks. Illinois has a higher unemployment rate than the national average.

New year, new tax fight

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 12/16/2013 - 13:19

The Illinois arm of Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative advocacy group, is targeting a handful of suburban Democratic state lawmakers with TV ads in its fight against the idea of a graduated income tax.

Here's an example of the spot, which also airs online, which subs in different lawmakers' names depending on where it runs. A spokesman said the first lawmakers being targeted include Reps. Carol Sente of Vernon Hills, Marty Moylan of Des Plaines, Deb Conroy of Villa Park and Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora.

None of the three have signed on to legislation to install a graduated income tax in Illinois, and they haven't signed onto a resolution opposing it.

How campaigns can end before they begin

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:07

Next week, the State Board of Elections meets to get the process started to determine whether candidates who filed to be on the March 2014 primary ballot can stay there.

Candidates have to file petition signatures to get on, but more than 120 challenges were filed to those petitions. In those cases, the Board of Elections will eventually decide whether a candidate has followed the rules, gathered enough signatures and can stay on the ballot.

Many cases end without anyone getting booted and nothing changes. But in some cases, a candidate could get tossed, eliminating a challenger and making life easier for the other hopeful(s) in a race.

Final decisions should be made by Jan. 9.

Duckworth fasting for immigration legislation

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 12/10/2013 - 16:36

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth said she'd fast today in support of immigration legislation in Washington.

Activists have been fasting the last two months in support of an immigration approved by the U.S. Senate earlier this year, but the House hasn't voted on it and seems unlikely to this year.

Still, Democrats in the suburbs have tried to put the issue front and center. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky similarly fasted for a day last month and was arrested at an immigration rally in October.

Blagojevich arrest, five years later

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 12/09/2013 - 10:20

Today is the five year anniversary of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich being arrested in dawn hours at his home.

Everyone knows what happened after that, of course. This video - of his speech before the Illinois Senate just before he was voted out of office (I call it Blagojevich's Last Stand) - sums the whole thing up. For me, it was the most memorable part of the whole thing because it sums him up so well: Bombastic, confrontational and ultimately unsuccessful.

Duckworth's "Alive Day"

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 16:26

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth talks on the U.S. House floor Tuesday. Her Blackhawk helicopter was hit on Nov. 12, 2004, making the anniversary what she calls her "alive day." She used the speech to praise the people who helped her.

"I owe it to them to make their sacrifices and their heroic efforts that day worth it," she said.

Vallas in the suburbs

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 12:45

Gov. Pat Quinn's new running mate, Paul Vallas, is in a different place politically than he was when he ran in the Democratic primary for governor in 2002. And the suburbs are a different place.

Still, maps are fun, so here's how Vallas did in the suburbs in that campaign he lost to Rod Blagojevich, with Vallas' wins being blue and Blagojevich's being red:

This map via USElectionAtlas.org.

Here are the suburban results numbers, in case you like numbers more than pictures:

Cook County: Vallas 35.9%, Roland Burris 35.6%, Blagojevich 28.5%
Lake County: Vallas 49.9%, Blagojevich 32.5%, Burris 17.6%
Kane: Vallas 44.1%, Blagojevich 37.9%, Burris 17.9%

Some local mayors back same-sex marriage

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 10/29/2013 - 11:31

Gay rights advocates today are touting a letter signed by several suburban mayors backing same-sex marriage.

State lawmakers could take a vote on the issue next week, but it's still unclear how that'd turn out. Here's the list of mayors: Kevin Burns of Geneva, Bob Hausler of Plano, Stephan Pickett of Sleepy Hollow, Dale Berman of North Aurora, Ray Rogina of St. Charles, Dave Anderson of Elburn and Gary J. Golinski of Yorkville.

Session in Springfield this week

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 10/22/2013 - 11:33

There's lots of talk about action in Springfield this week, but new House Republican Leader Jim Durkin summed up his expectations directly.

"I think that we can pretty much write off the week," Durkin said.

Competing same-sex marriage rallies will take over the Capitol today and Wednesday, and Durkin thinks talks on other big issues like changes to the state's public pension system could happen behind the scenes next week.