Suburban Political Recount

Suburban Political Recount

Pat Brady to start lobbying firm

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 06/25/2013 - 11:16

Former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady of St. Charles has started a new lobbying firm called Next Generation Public Affairs Inc.

He's teaming up with former Iowa Republican Chairman Matt Strawn and Chicago business adviser Bob Fitzsimmons.

“NGPA is a full-service public affairs firm providing clients with comprehensive and technologically sophisticated government affairs, issue advocacy and media relations strategies," Brady said in a statement.

Brady left his spot as chair of the Illinois Republican Party this year shortly after he survived an attempt to ouster him based on, ironically, his lobbying of GOP lawmakers to vote for same-sex marriage.

He was replaced by Rosemont trustee and Statehouse lobbyist Jack Dorgan this month.

New rules to pick a new ruler

Posted by Mike Riopell on Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:09

Illinois House Republicans continue to talk behind the scenes about who would be their leader if Tom Cross of Oswego steps down to run for Illinois attorney general in 2014.

State Rep. Mike Fortner, a West Chicago Republican, has begun circulating proposed rules for how a successor would be chosen.

Fortner isn’t proposing huge changes — a winner would need majority support of the 47 members — but he appears to be doing his due diligence, just in case.

The House already has rules to pick a leader at the beginning of the session. But this is a little different.

“We didn’t adopt rules thinking we’d need to make a change in the middle of a two-year cycle,” Fortner said.

Draft Oberweis for governor?

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 06/19/2013 - 18:19

A website has emerged called to apparently try to draft state Sen. Jim Oberweis, a Sugar Grove Republican, for a bid for governor.

Who is behind it?

"It is not I," Oberweis said.

Oberweis lost a primary bid for governor in 2006. He said the party already has some good candidates this time but isn't backing one in particular yet.

Would the dairy magnate be interested?

Oberweis said he'd think about it if there was a "really, really, really" big groundswell of support.

"But I don't see that at this time," he said.

Pension perspective...again

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 06/19/2013 - 10:36

Yeah, I did this last year. But so did they.

Anytime lawmakers come into special session in Springfield as they are today, there's plenty of outrage over the $111 per diem they get and reimbursed mileage, costing the taxpayers as much as $40,000 for a day likely not to yield many results.

But how does that $40,000 compare to the about $100 billion in pension debt Gov. Pat Quinn has tasked them with trying to solve today?

If lawmakers saved this $40,000 and put it toward the state's pension debt, they'd have to save for 2.5 million days to erase the pension debt. Written out, that's 250,000,000 days, or 6,849 years from now.

But lawmakers don't meet every day of the year. If they met 60 days per year, that'd be 41,666 years.

State moves to keep Office Max

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 17:39

As Office Max and Office Depot work on trying to merge, state lawmakers are looking at trying to get the Naperville-based Office Max to try to get the company to stay - and even expand - in Illinois and the suburbs.

Office Max CEO Ravi Saligram told Senate lawmakers Tuesday that the companies are just starting to review their options and state tax breaks would influence that discussion. Taxes would join transportation options and other factors, Saligram said, before saying words not often spoken by local business executives.

"Our experience in Illinois has been positive," Saligram said.

The Office Max headquarters are in Naperville, and it has a major warehouse in Itasca.

Sullivan expects primary, eyes leadership

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 06/11/2013 - 16:44

State Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Mundelein Republican, says he expects that his support for same-sex marriage this year means he'll face his first primary race in 2014 since he first ran in 2002.

He was not shy about how he thinks that'll go.

"You'd better be prepared for a battle," Sullivan said.

He's unsure who his opponent will be, and I've reached out to a couple possibilities to try to find out. Sullivan's support of same-sex marriage puts him at odds with most of his party and has drawn some high-profile criticism. He hasn't relented, though.

"If our party ever wants to get out of the 1950s, we need a bigger tent," Sullivan said.

"Teeni Weeni Bikini Martini" fundraiser

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 06/10/2013 - 16:20

Later this month, state Rep. Barbara Wheeler, a Crystal Lake Republican is planning what she's calling a "Teeni Weeni Bikini Martini" fundraiser.

The invite is posted at her campaign website,

Donors can give at different levels: $250 to be a "one piece" donor; $500 to be a "bikini" donor and $1,000 for "speedo."

Wheeler is a freshman Republican who will face her first re-election campaign next year. Fundraisers by lawmakers are common, of course, but this one is a little unique.

The bottom of the invite reads: "Families Welcome, Donations Appreciated, Bikinis Recommended!"

Wrapping up session

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 06/10/2013 - 13:22

I taped a local public TV show that aired over the weekend wrapping up what lawmakers did and didn't get done in their session that ended May 31.

It's a couple days old, but nothing has changed since we taped. Thanks to WSEC for having me on.

Yingling: Same-sex marriage scene was "surreal"

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 06/05/2013 - 15:16

State Rep. Sam Yingling, a Round Lake Beach Democrat and openly gay lawmaker, said watching advocates yell from the Illinois House galleries demanding a vote on same-sex marriage - and knowing one wasn't coming - was "surreal."

"It was a very surreal moment on the House floor," Yingling said. He said his freshman term was full of moments that maybe could be described in the same way.

"That one took the cake," he said.

Not getting same-sex marriage approved was a big disappointment for gay marriage advocates who saw Illinois Democrats' domination of Springfield as a good sign for their chances.

Likewise, the lack of a vote was a big win for opponents for the same reasons.

Dorgan wins GOP crown, but the runner up...

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 06/04/2013 - 14:50

When Illinois Republican leaders chose Rosemont village Trustee and lobbyist Jack Dorgan as their chairman Saturday, the vote wasn't unanimous.

The other vote-getter was runner-up Jim Nalepa, a longtime party activist and businessman from Hinsdale who won, by his count, about 40 percent of the state central committee's weighted vote.

Unlike former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh's a href=""> harsh words about Dorgan's lack of appeal to the GOP base, Nalepa says he's not a sore loser and Dorgan should get the "benefit of the doubt."

"You have my support until you you show me differently," Nalepa said.

Still, he said: "I think I was the far better choice for the base of the party."