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Showing posts from July, 2017

Illinois a State Divided; Its Residents the Solution for Unity

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by Shawn P. Healy, PhD, Democracy Program Director
Despite the recent thaw in the Springfield Stalemate, Illinois government still has significant challenges in earning the confidence of its constituents. That was my major take-away after attending a program last week sponsored by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) titled “Illinois: A State Divided?

ICPR assembled an impressive panel representing Illinois’ demographic diversity, academia, business interests, and the media. This included:
Tom Bevan, co-founder and publisher of Real Clear PoliticsKaren Ford, author at the South Side WeeklyDr. John Jackson, visiting professor at the Paul Simon InstituteKerry Lester, senior writer and columnist at the Daily HeraldTodd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of CommerceCelina Villanueva, civic and youth engagement manager at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee RightsAmanda Vinicky, correspondent for WTTW’s Chicago Tonight


Dr. Jackson led off with a …

Thaw in Springfield Stalemate Welcome, but Illinois Remains in State of Financial Crisis

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by Shawn P. Healy, PhD, Democracy Program Director
Illinois’ long-simmering budget impasse ended rather abruptly last week when both bodies of the Illinois General Assembly overrode Governor Rauner’s veto. The compromise agreement contained a mix of painful medicine in the form of budget cuts and tax increases.

These doses were delivered by a bi-partisan supermajority, where one Republican Senator and ten Representatives (originally fifteen) broke with the Governor and “voted their district.” It was no coincidence that many of these individuals hail from districts that house state universities, institutions that have suffered alongside social service agencies for too long.

The human carnage of the past two years is real, and last week’s mutiny triggered changes at the top of the Republican Party, beginning with the resignation of respected Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, followed by a request for House Republican Floor Leader Steve Andersson to step aside in light of his…