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Full text for Articles for Today, Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 20 Articles


Friess, Costello spar on term limits
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   By James Moss - Monroe County Republic Times
Candidates--Legislative (11) , Term Limits Costello II, Jerry--State House, 116 , Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
The Republican candidate for 116th District State Representative signed “The People’s Pledge” last week and asked his Democratic opponent to do the same.

The People’s Pledge is a campaign launched by the House Republican Organization that was announced by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday. 

The pledge calls for candidates for public office to promise to vote to impose term limits on elected officials and oppose Democrat Mike Madigan when it is time to elect the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. 

“Politicians like Mike Madigan run for office year after year, accumulating more power and personally enriching themselves off public service,” David Friess of Red Bud said. “Madigan himself has been in power since 1971. That’s 47 years in office and that’s wrong.”

Rauner also expressed support for the pledge.

“The people of Illinois are sick and tired of destructively high taxes and corruption,” he said. “By signing The People’s Pledge, candidates for the State House of Representatives are demonstrating their commitment to cleaning up state government through term limits and replacing Mike Madigan as Speaker.” 

Rep. Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton) said he does not plan to sign the pledge.

“I do not sign pledges of any sort,” he said. “I believe this whole pledge gimmick is designed to distract from the record.

A family registered to vote at a vacant lot in Brooklyn. Now they’re convicted felons
Belleville News Democrat
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   By Beth Hundsdorfer
Election Issues (not candidates) (39)
From the vacant lot in Brooklyn where a family of four registered to vote in the 2017 municipal election, the Pink Slip and the Bottoms Up strip clubs can be seen.

On Tuesday, Calvin Borders Jr., 59, of St. Louis ; his daughter, Candice Borders, 36; his son Calvin Borders III, 35, both of Madison; and Borders III’s girlfriend, Janie B. Walker, 40, of Missouri; pleaded guilty to vote fraud charges.

Calvin Borders Jr. and Calvin Borders III pleaded guilty to perjury in the election code. The two men said they were eligible to vote in the April 4, 2017, election from the address of 407 Jefferson St. in Brooklyn.

All of the charges were a class 3 felonies. The Borderses were all sentenced to probation with special conditions. Walker is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 14.

Calvin Borders Jr. is a former village trustee for Brooklyn.

The case was investigated by the Public Corruption Task Force and prosecuted by St. Clair County Assistant State’s Attorney Areda A. Johnson.

State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly called for additional manpower for the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Unit three years ago. With these three guilty pleas, 11 defendants have pleaded guilty to felonies in vote-fraud cases in St. Clair County since 2010.

“This is another case where the public integrity unit and the public corruption task force made a difference,” Kelly said.

Right to work is wrong for Missouri, but right on for Illinois
Belleville News Democrat
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Editorial  |   By the BND Editorial Board
Economy (34) , Labor (55) , Right to work , Unions, labor (55)
On Aug. 7 our union friends in Missouri go to the polls to try to roll back their state’s right-to-work law, pushing for “No on Prop A.”

We here in Illinois hope they succeed.

If you are pro-union, you hope your fellow workers in Missouri get the wage protections they claim are central to the labor movement.

Illinois is surrounded by right-to-work states, which are a lot more attractive to employers than a state with the highest tax rates in the nation. The Land of Lincoln still lags in recession recovery and is losing its working-age population, taking their taxpaying abilities with them and leaving an ever-increasing burden behind.

The problem is acute here where the Gateway Arch casts its evening shadow. St. Clair County lost nearly 8,000 working residents from 2010 to 2017. Madison County lost nearly 4,000.

All those ads saturating St. Louis media are because millions are being funneled into Missouri from across the nation. Organized labor is treating this as its final, desperate battle.

Unions are reeling from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which said public employees cannot be forced to pay union dues. The decision was essentially a backlash to unions’ political activities being out of step with workers’ beliefs.

Janus originated here in Illinois, where we are oh-so-blue and union dollars have fueled the Madigan Dynasty. In turn, state Democrats have rewarded Illinois’ AFSCME state workers with the highest wages in the nation, double what we average Illinoisans make.

Janus was a potential lifeline for Illinois. Making Missouri’s job market less attractive by killing Prop A might be a lifeline for those of us still here in southwestern Illinois.


$5 billion Lincoln Yards development could bring 5,000 homes and 23,000 jobs to North Side
Chicago Tribune
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   Ryan Ori
Business (10) , Chicago (16) , Employment, Jobs (40)

Skyscrapers as tall as 70 stories are part of a developer’s ambitious plan to bring 23,000 jobs and 5,000 homes to the Chicago River on the city’s North Side.

Those are among new details that Chicago developer Sterling Bay unveiled Wednesday night during the long-anticipated first public meeting for its planned Lincoln Yards project, a more-than-$5 billion development planned for at least 70 acres along the river between Lincoln Park and Bucktown, on parcels once occupied by the A. Finkl & Sons steel plant and other industrial businesses.

Sterling Bay’s plan has the potential to transform a swath of old manufacturing properties into a town center of sorts, with offices, hotels, apartments, condominiums, shops, restaurants, sports, entertainment and outdoor activities.

Yet the plan also presents enormous challenges — particularly traffic congestion, concerns about straining resources such as nearby schools, and providing adequate park space.

“Lincoln Yards is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform a former industrial site into a vibrant community that will finally connect Bucktown and Wicker Park to Lincoln Park and activate our extraordinary riverfront,” Sterling Bay managing principal Andy Gloor said ahead of the meeting.

Organizers of Wednesday night’s meeting, at Near North Montessori School, had to turn away community members after the space exceeded the capacity of 400 people. Dozens remained outside.

Lincoln Yards is made up of long stretches of land along the east and west sides of the river between North and Webster avenues. The development’s name is a nod to the site’s industrial past and Chicago’s history as a rail hub, Gloor said.

Sterling Bay’s preliminary plan is to build about 12 million square feet of buildings, not including parking. It would be divided roughly in half between commercial and residential space, according to Gloor and Erin Lavin Cabonargi, the firm’s director of development services.

The plan includes about 5,000 residential units and 400 to 500 hotel rooms.

READ MORE: Former John Hancock Center is getting a new owner: Sterling Bay »

Sterling Bay is seeking zoning approval to build towers as tall as 700 to 800 feet, the firm said. That would equate to somewhere in the range of 70 stories, a height typically seen in and immediately around the Loop.

The city last year opened the way for new types of buildings in a 3.7-mile corridor along the river, such as residential towers, which means other developers are likely to propose skyscrapers north of downtown.

“We want Lincoln Yards to be a place where Chicago connects and, as such, we are scaling the neighborhood to have lower density near the surrounding neighborhoods and the river, and building density towards the expressway,” Gloor said.

The project will create about 2,500 construction jobs over the 10-year development period, Sterling Bay said.

The initial public meeting outlined a master plan for 53 acres of contiguous land already owned by Sterling Bay. But if the firm acquires more land, the development could encompass 100 acres or more.

Of the first 53 acres, Sterling Bay plans to set aside about 13.4 acres for parks, plazas and riverwalk space. The firm also said it will hand over to the city the right of way to 3.6 acres of combined land that will be used to create or extend public roads through the site.

Master plans presented in the meeting, designed by architecture firms CBT and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, are conceptual. Specific designs could change based on input from the public or the preferences of potential tenants.

The Tribune has previously reported on major aspects of the plan, including the developer’s pitch to land Amazon’s planned second headquarters and deals to bring a 20,000-seat soccer stadium and multiple music and entertainment venues.

But Wednesday’s meeting, hosted by 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins, was the first time Sterling Bay has unveiled the full scope of its vision. One of the most ambitious projects ever envisioned on the North Side, it is broken into two separate zoning plans. One is for 29 acres to the north, which will be developed with investment partner Lone Star Funds. The other will cover almost 24 acres to the south, backed by a J.P. Morgan Asset Management real estate fund.

The developer said it plans to formally introduce the planned developments to the City Council at next Wednesday’s meeting. Sterling Bay needs the signoff of Hopkins, and eventually the full City Council, before it can begin work on the project.

Infrastructure improvements are likely to cost hundreds of millions or dollars, or even $1 billion, Sterling Bay estimates. The developer said federal and local funds will be sought to offset much of the cost.

The city’s plan to create a transit route through Goose Island, likely for buses, would include a route through or alongside Lincoln Yards, the developer said. The Tribune previously reported that options for light rail trains also were being considered for the route.

Sterling Bay said it plans to extend The 606 elevated trail east of the Kennedy Expressway and onto its site, connecting to a new Metra train station, the transit route and water taxis. Under a recently revised plan, The 606 extension would be built over Ashland Avenue but below the expressway. The drab underpass would be refurbished to include a skate park, climbing walls and food truck stations.

The developer also hopes to create a new north-south bridge over the river on Dominick Street and an east-west bridge extending Armitage Avenue over a site where Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete is located along the west edge of the river. Ozinga would need to be relocated, likely to a riverside site to the south.

Sterling Bay also hopes to widen the east-west Cortland Street artery by potentially adding a second bridge over the river there, and looks to create a pedestrian bridge at an extended Concord Place near the south end of the development.

Sterling Bay is conducting traffic studies to reconfigure the intersection of Armitage, Elston and Ashland avenues near the expressway and the current Metra station. The company wants to get rid of some streets and add on to others, including extending Kingsbury Street after General Iron Industries closes its scrapyard near Lincoln Yards.

Other efforts to control traffic could include shuttle buses from Lincoln Yards to CTA and Metra stations.

Sterling Bay supports a plan proposed by three North Side aldermen to create a 24-acre public park on the General Iron site and other properties, but it does not plan to buy the land from General Iron or to fund the potentially $200 million project, Gloor said. The aldermen, including Hopkins, are pushing the city to find a way to fund the park.

Sterling Bay executives said it’s too early to specify how many of the residential units will be considered affordable housing. The developer said its homes would add 300 to 375 school-aged students to the area. Even the most conservative estimate could create demand for new schools.

Sterling Bay’s plan would contribute almost $89 million in zoning fees to the city, the firm said.

Lincoln Yards was one of five Chicago sites visited by Amazon in March, as the e-commerce giant evaluates potential cities for its planned HQ2, where it plans to hire as many as 50,000 office workers.

Sterling Bay is also in talks with other potential office tenants, the firm said.

The sports stadium will be used for a United Soccer League franchise owned by a venture including Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and Sterling Bay, and the entertainment venues will be for concerts and other events put on by Live Nation Entertainment.


Twitter @Ryan_Ori

Morning Spin
Chicago Tribune
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Editorial  |   Editorial Board

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley’s push to get the federal government to send states more money for election security put him briefly in agreement, he says, with President Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Sanders was asked Wednesday about Trump and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. She listed off some things she said the White House is doing to deal with it.

“In March 2018, Congress provided the Election Assistance Commission with $380 million in funding for election assistance grants to states. These are steps that we've taken to prevent it from happening,” Sanders said. “These are steps that we have taken because we see there is a threat there.”

That money was approved back in March, and Quigley has been pushing Republicans to approve the grants for the next fiscal year, too.

“I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I encourage Republicans to listen to Sarah Huckabee Sanders,” Quigley said in a statement. “Even she has acknowledged the common-sense fact that funding for election security grants, which allow states to update and upgrade their outdated election infrastructure, is a positive step forward in preventing foreign meddling.”

The Illinois State Board of Elections was hit by Russian hackers last year, resulting in the names, addresses, dates of birth and partial Social Security numbers of about 76,000 voters being compromised. That hack was "very likely" part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of Russian officers with interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign, state election officials said Friday.

What’s on tap

*Mayor Rahm Emanuel will make a business announcement in the morning, then later have an event with JPMorgan Chase and speak to the Economic Club of Chicago.

*Gov. Bruce Rauner will be in Washington to get an award from the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

*The City Council Transportation Committee is set to consider an ordinance to rename Congress Parkway downtown to honor African-American journalist and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

*Vice President Mike Pence will be in Downstate O’Fallon at an event for Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro.

What we’re writing

*“Prison is not where women need to be”: All-female task force wants to cut Illinois’ female prison population in half.

*Two Cook County courthouses to close, employees spared layoffs under budget settlement.

*As unrest follows latest Chicago police shooting, neighbors and activists plot ways to unify their community.

*Lawsuit: Chicago's “minor” traffic tickets shouldn't carry big fines.

*Plan to legalize spray paint sales in Chicago resurfaces.

*Emanuel announces pharmacy benefits through municipal ID.

*Rev. Jesse Jackson planning weeklong peace mission to Korean Peninsula.

*A future Lake Shore Drive could be wider, and have bus lanes.

*Metra struggling with overcrowding, air conditioning breakdowns on its BNSF Line.

What we’re reading

*Trump misses property tax deadline on Chicago tower, four other properties.

*In denying Yu Darvish tall fence around his home, Evanston official says celebrities shouldn't get special treatment.

*PETA lawsuit alleges “cover-up” in death of 54 stingrays at Brookfield Zoo.

Follow the money

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.

Beyond Chicago

*White House tries to explain Trump comment on Russia again.

*Russian suspect traded sex for access, according to prosecutors.

*Michelle Obama starts voter registration campaign.

*EU fines Google.

Bill taking Illinois out of voter registration system vetoed
Effingham Daily News
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |  
Election Issues (not candidates) (39)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed a bill that would end the state's participation in a multistate voter registration system critics say is inaccurate and vulnerable to hackers.

The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is run through the Kansas secretary of state's office and is aimed at flagging duplicate voter registrations across state lines. The Illinois Legislature voted to withdraw from the system after the Board of Elections rejected a similar effort on a 4-4 partisan vote, with Republicans against leaving and Democrats in favor.

In his veto message Tuesday, Rauner said one way Illinois combats fraudulent voting is through participation in programs that allow cross-referencing voter information from various states. He said the legislation would hinder that effort.

The legislation's sponsor, Chicago Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul, has said President Trump's unwillingness to safeguard voter privacy "makes the state duty bound to protect our own voters and their data."

Decatur authorities prepare for new state gun law
Effingham Daily News
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |  
Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46) , Police (28) , Rauner, Bruce

DECATUR – Macon County judges and law enforcement are preparing to implement a new state law that allows police and family members to ask a court to take guns from people who pose a threat to themselves or others.

"There was a lot of emailing going on yesterday between judges, between the administrative office (of the courts) and others about what the law is, what does it provide, is it HB SB what?" said Macon County Presiding Judge A.G. Webber IV.

"I can say it was not on the radar screen of the courts before the governor signed it yesterday, because it's impossible to keep track of every bill in the General Assembly, and we don't know until the very end on what becomes law and what doesn't."

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday signed the so-called "red flag" legislation, which creates a legal process for police and family members to petition the court if they fear that a person with access to guns could hurt himself or others.

"It's rigorous. There has to be a judge. There has to be real proof of the issue, it can't just be some accusation," Rauner said. " ... We want to protect individuals' rights to gun ownership but, for those who are deemed to be dangerous, not let them have guns."

The law, which passed with bipartisan support, takes effect Jan. 1. Opponents had said the legislation was not needed and infringed on gun owners' rights, but Rauner and supporters said it could save lives.

Judges can order the removal of weapons for a six-month period, but family members and police can seek an extension if they think the danger is continued.

Webber said Tuesday morning that he had not yet read the legislation but expected to learn more about it in the coming months. The process seems similar to the one already used by the court to issue orders of protection, which have been available for years, he said.

Decatur police Chief Jim Getz said he also planned to dig more into the details of the new law and make sure officers were aware of it as well.

"I think it's a good measure," he said. "You not only have the police officers or family members identifying (that someone poses a danger), but it's still got to go past a judge."

When someone is involuntarily admitted to a hospital for mental health treatment, Getz said police do take their guns for safety reasons. "But the minute they get released from the hospital and still have their (Firearm Owner Identification card), we give them the firearms back," he said.

Officers use their judgment and experience, as well as any available evidence, to determine whether someone poses a danger to themselves or others, Getz said. The department has received training from Heritage Behavioral Health Center on how to evaluate and respond to mental health issues, he said.

The legislation does identify some criteria for judges to use when evaluating whether to issue a restraining order. These include:

* History of using physical force against others or threatening to do so;

* Prior arrests for a felony offense;

* Evidence of drug abuse;

* Unlawful or reckless use, display or brandishing of a firearm;

* Recent threats of violence against themselves or others, or a pattern of violent acts or threats;

* Violation of an emergency order of protection.

The person seeking the restraining order has the burden of proof, the law says. If a judge finds "clear and convincing evidence," he or she will issue a warrant allowing law enforcement to search the person's home and other places to find and take the firearms. FOID cards and concealed-carry permits also would be turned over to police.

Records of firearm restraining orders will be sealed three years after they expire under the law. If a judge denies a request to issue an order, records of the case will be expunged immediately.

Violating a firearm restraining order is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail, up to two years probation and a fine of up to $2,500.

Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett declined a request for comment about the new legislation.

Rauner on Monday also signed a law extending the waiting period for all guns to 72 hours. Previously, the time limit had only applied to handguns.

Both measures come as nearly 30 counties across Illinois have enacted "gun sanctuary" measures to show their opposition to further gun restrictions. Mostly symbolic in nature, the resolutions were targeted to send a message to lawmakers and show support for the Second Amendment.

The legislation is House Bill 2354 and Senate Bill 3256.

Rauner signs laws to speed up Quincy vets' home construction
Effingham Daily News
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |  
Rauner, Bruce , Veterans (95)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law Tuesday to speed up reconstruction of the troubled state-run veterans' home in Quincy.

The Republican governor approved the legislation to consolidate the design and building processes under state law to save time in overhauling the western Illinois campus where 13 people have died since 2015 because of Legionnaires' disease, although groundbreaking is a year away.

"It's an important step forward to serve our veterans, to keep our veterans safe and healthy," Rauner said.

His administration has outlined a $230 million plan to start over at the 130-year-old campus, first replacing ancient, corroded plumbing that provides a breeding ground for legionella bacteria that can sicken when it's inhaled in water vapor. Lawmakers approved $53 million for the first of what officials expect to be a five-year plan, said Michael Hoffman, Rauner's senior adviser on the Quincy response.

Buffeted by criticism for months, Rauner basked in the bipartisan mood of the bill-signing ceremony of his state Capitol office. It included one of his harshest critics, Aurora Democratic Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, who blamed Rauner for what detractors say was a slow response to the outbreak of the pneumonia-like malady.

While noting that Rauner's Democratic opponent in the November election, J.B. Pritzker, also has a plan for rebuilding Quincy, LaVia, chairwoman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, said, "It should have never happened and we shouldn't have waited so long to act."

Her counterpart on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Tom Cullerton, wasn't so charitable. The Villa Park Democrat said in a text message that the General Assembly was forced to do the work and "Gov. Rauner does not deserve a pat on the back to attempting to govern in the 11th hour."

Rauner has repeatedly noted that upon the first outbreak in 2015, his administration called in federal health experts and followed their advice.

One law Rauner signed allows officials to hire one company for both architectural plans and construction , saving the time it takes to design and then seek bids for a builder.

"We hire one developer and they are responsible for making sure we meet budget, we meet timeline, and that the building they end up building ends up being a building that's easy, safe and efficient to operate and maintain," Hoffman said.

The other law includes as part of the Quincy campus the nearby former nursing home the state bought for extra space. It likely will be used to house veterans during construction on the main campus and might be used for specialty nursing skills in the future.

Renovation on the home has begun, Hoffman said. Drawing a master plan is underway. It and engineering plans for replacing plumbing, which will begin this summer, should be done by year's end. Architectural plans should be finished by next summer, he said.

Rauner touts gun laws during stop
Effingham Daily News
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |  
Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46) , Rauner, Bruce

EFFINGHAM – Gov. Bruce Rauner made a sudden stop in Effingham County on Tuesday to speak about political change as he runs for re-election.

On Monday, Rauner had signed a law extending the waiting period in Illinois for all firearms to 72 hours. Previously, the limit was 72 hours for handguns and 24 hours for other firearms. Rauner called it a common-sense reform that respects the Second Amendment and improves public safety.

It runs directly counter to the Effingham County firearms sanctuary resolution.

“I respect the passion that those who defend the Second Amendment have,” Rauner said. “And I support the Second Amendment as well. I’m not familiar with all the resolutions that have been passed at the county level. I believe that, as a state, we should protect and defend the Constitution and the Second Amendment, while also finding thoughtful ways to help increase public safety.”

“I will not sign bills that infringe on the Second Amendment, but I will sign bills, as I did yesterday, that can help reduce suicides and help increase public safety in thoughtful balanced ways and be passed on a bipartisan basis,” he said.

Rauner said the extension of the waiting period addresses mental and public health concerns.

“Having a short waiting period can sometimes mean the difference between that person staying alive or that person committing suicide,” he said.

Effingham County Republican Chairman Rob Arnold was present at the stop. As an Effingham County Board member, he voted in favor of the sanctuary resolution. Arnold said it’s clear Rauner agrees with the county’s way of thinking, but differs in specifics.

Rauner also requested a bill that would allow school districts to use County School Facilities Sales Tax to pay for mental health professionals or school resource officers. However, this potential law would not add any more funding to the local districts. Most are owed years of payments from the state. Rauner said that’s a result of the legislature not preparing realistic budgets. He pointed to his proposed budget in February 2017 that he estimated would included a $1.5 billion surplus.

“We’ve been running deficits for 35 years pretty much,” he said, adding that the way to fix the problem is to change the culture in Springfield.

Rauner was campaigning for the “People’s Pledge,” which supports a referendum limiting elected officials to eight years in office. It also asks elected officials to elect anyone besides Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, to the position of Speaker of the House, a position he’s held almost uninterrupted since 1983.

During the Effingham event, Darren Bailey, Blaine Wilhour and Chris Miller, Republican candidates for state House seats, signed the pledge with Rauner.

Harold: Next AG must attack corruption
Freeport Journal Standard
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Commentary  |   Chuck Sweeny
Attorney General (6) , Candidates--Statewide (12) Raoul, Kwame--State Senate, 13
I talked with Erika Harold, the Republican nominee for Illinois attorney general, on Tuesday at the District in downtown Rockford. She visited Freeport on Wednesday. Harold, 38, is likely the only candidate for office anywhere in the U.S. who is both a Harvard Law School graduate and a former Miss America. She graduated from Urbana High School in 1997 and the University of Illinois in 2001. She applied to Harvard Law School, her first choice, and was accepted. However, Harold never thought she could afford to go there because neither she or her parents could afford the $175,000 cost. Harold entered the Miss America pageant and won for the year 2003. She used prize money to pay for Harvard, from which she graduated in 2007. She practices law in Champaign at the Meyer Capel law firm. “I practice complex commercial law and civil litigation, large wills, estates and trusts litigation and large construction litigation,” she said. This is the first time Illinois has had a real contest for attorney general in 16 years, and there’s only a battle now because Lisa Madigan, the incumbent Democrat, decided in 2017 not to seek a fifth term. The last Republican attorney general was Jim Ryan, who held the job from 1995 to 2003. Harold thinks the time is right to turn the page and put a Republican in the AG’s office. She faces Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago in the Nov. 6 election. “I do believe the attorney general should be a watchdog to hold both political parties accountable and be more active in the area of public corruption,” she said. “That’s a topic that is brought up again and again by people throughout the state. There’s a sense that this has not been addressed under Lisa Madigan.” The General Assembly should beef up the attorney general’s power to fight corruption, Harold said. “Legislators should empower the attorney general to impanel a statewide grand jury. The attorney general needs greater investigatory tools so we have more power to fight corruption. People want someone who will use the office in a less partisan way, a less political way, which requires a greater level of independence,” she said. “The priorities I’ve outlined in my campaign are not partisan. They focus on improving the business environment, protecting consumers, and providing leadership on issues that affect people across the board, whether it is criminal justice reform or the opioid epidemic — both issues that are nonpartisan.” Harold is on the board of Prison Fellowship, an international Christian prison ministry. “Through my work in prison ministry, I’ve advocated for bipartisan criminal justice system reform. I’d like to see greater use of special courts for problem-solving like drug courts, mental health courts and veterans courts. We should empower judges with greater discretion to give people rehabilitation and diversion opportunities if those would be appropriate,” she said. Harold also wants to develop a solution to the opioid overdose crisis. “We should only be giving people enough of the drug to handle the pain,” she said. “If someone needs 10 pills there’s no reason they should be given 90. By bringing doctors, pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies together, let’s see beyond who is to be held liable and develop new protocols for pain treatment.” Sexual and racial harassment is something Harold knows about personally. She was sexually and racially harassed in high school and had to change high schools as a result. “My experience affected me profoundly and made me want to become an attorney so I could stand up for others and be their advocate,” she said. Harold, who is African American, believes the Illinois House has failed to adequately address sexual harassment complaints. Speaker Michael Madigan’s No. 2 man, Tim Mapes, resigned in the spring by women went public with charges that he had belittled their complaints of sexual harassment. “The small reforms that have been made to the legislative inspector general process are wholly insufficient to address the problems in Springfield,” she said. “I’ve set forth a series of reforms to create an independent investigatory process. Without that independence you will not give victims the assurance that their concerns are properly investigated and that they won’t face retaliation if they choose to report,” Harold said.

State program can help save for retirement
Freeport Journal Standard
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Editorial  |   Editor
Retirement (70) , Treasurer (92)
Americans are terrible at saving their own money and need all the help they can get to retire with dignity. Here comes the state of Illinois to the rescue. What? Illinois? The state that has the nation’s worst credit rating and the nation’s worst pension debt? The state that seems to have a budget crisis more often than not? That Illinois? Yes, that Illinois. It’s a program called Secure Choice and it’s not managed by the state, thank goodness. Instead, the state is merely facilitating a way for the 1.2 million Illinoisans who don’t have an employer-offered retirement savings program to get into a savings plan of their own. The program is administered by Ascensus, a Pennsylvania company. Secure Choice was signed into law in 2015 by then-Gov. Pat Quinn. It mandates that Illinois businesses automatically enroll their employees in Secure Choice if they have at least 25 employees, have been in business for at least two years, and do not provide a qualified savings plan of their own. It’s a win for employers because a) it doesn’t cost them anything, b) there’s no liability if a retirement plan goes bad, and c) it makes their employees happy. It’s a win for employees because it’s easy and the contributions are deducted automatically so you don’t really miss the money that’s being saved. The default savings rate for the program is 5 percent of your pay, but you can go down to 1 percent or contributed a fixed amount. The bottom line is that you’ll be saving your own money and it will be there for you once you retire. You can opt out of the program at any time. Americans don’t save on their own so they need encouragement. About 21 percent of the workforce does not have access to an employer-sponsored 401(k). Nearly half of families have no retirement savings at all, according to the Economic Policy Institute. No IRAs, no 401(k)s, nothing. According to a 2016 GOBankingRates survey, 35 percent of all adults in the U.S. have only several hundred dollars in their savings accounts and 34 percent have zero savings. And, for those who want to rely on Social Security, remember that Social Security is designed to replace about 40 percent of the typical worker’s pre-retirement income. It would be difficult to survive after a 60 percent pay cut. Clearly there’s a need. In a perfect world, the private sector would step up and offer a plan to small employers, but it hasn’t because there’s not enough money to be made to make it worth the effort. That’s why Illinois is stepping up and stepping in. The program, championed by Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs, is modeled after the state of Oregon’s OregonSaves, which has been in effect for about a year. California and Connecticut also are setting up savings programs. OregonSaves has enrolled more than 32,000 private-sector employees who previously didn’t have access to a retirement savings option at work. They’ve set aside a combined $4.6 million of their own money through automatic payroll deductions, with an average withholding of 5.14 percent of salary. Participants’ average gross annual pay is about $25,000 and they save $100 a month. That’s not a lot, but if a person sticks with it, over the years that person will have a modest nest egg. Illinois plans a gradual rollout of the Secure Choice program. It begins this year with eight employers and will expand in the next three years. Implementing the program in phases allows the treasurer’s office to fix flaws and make tweaks to improve the program. That’s the right approach. Oregon followed a similar strategy and employees are sticking with OregonSaves: 72.5 percent of employees have stayed in the program after being automatically signed up. Frerichs hopes a higher percentage of Illinoisans stay with the program. Why should we care? From a humanitarian standpoint, we want our fellow human beings to be able to enjoy retirement. From a fiscal standpoint, if people have enough saved for their golden years, there will be less of a drain on government — in other words, your tax dollars — services. If you don’t have a retirement plan and can’t save money on your own, Secure Choice is the smart choice.

Despite politics surrounding voter verification program, Illinois doesn't actually use it
Illinois Watchdog.Org
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   By Benjamin Yount
Election Issues (not candidates) (39)
The Illinois State Board of Elections said Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of the plan to remove Illinois from the Interstate Voter Crosscheck Program won't change much because Illinois isn't using Crosscheck right now. 

Matt Dietrich, a spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections, said the state of Illinois hasn't sent any voter data to the Crosscheck program in over a year, and hasn't used any information from Crosscheck in two years. 

Dietrich said Crosscheck has been, essentially, dormant.

"Back in January, Crosscheck told us they were waiting on an assessment from the Department of Homeland Security on their security and data handling," Dietrich said. "They said they would get back to us, and would not ask for any data or accept any data until they had a clean bill of health from DHS."

That was six months ago. 

Dietrich said Illinois still uses the other national voter database program, ERIC. 

Membership in Crosscheck is free. Dietrich said Illinois paid $25,000 to join ERIC two years ago. This year, he said, the dues will hit $55,000. 

Dietrich said the state board looked at dropping Crosscheck earlier this year, but the board couldn't agree on whether it was a good idea or not. 

"The real question now, for us, is what is the status of Crosscheck itself," Dietrich said. "The ball is in their court now. They told us that when DHS says they're good to go that we will hear from them. We never heard anything from them." 

On Tuesday, Rauner vetoed a plan to remove the state from the programs. He said said there's no need to take a tool away from local election managers to make sure their voter rolls are correct.

E-Commerce boom drives expansion of Rockford International Airport
Illinois Watchdog.Org
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   By Scot Bertram
Airports (4) , Economic Stimulus , Economy (34)

Officials recently broke ground on a 120,000-square-foot expansion of an existing terminal. Zach Oakley, deputy director of Operations and Planning for the airport, said the extra space is needed.

“We’ve been UPS’s second-largest hub for a very long time, but they’ve significantly increased their operations out of here from both the size of aircraft and frequency,” Oakley said. “With the Atlas, ABX, and ATI contracts, they’re servicing a large e-commerce company. And e-commerce is just booming.”

ABX and Atlas both provide cargo services for Amazon. The expansion plans will allow them to route more of the company’s packages through Rockford. The amount of overall cargo handled by the airport is on pace to double in just the past two years.

“Last year we had 50-percent year-over-year growth,” Oakley said. “Right now we’re actually trending higher than 80 percent. The [UPS] Des Moines operation was relocated here last year. That’s an additional 15 flights per week. They’ve also grown the night operation from 14-to-16 aircraft a night, now up to about 25 each night.”

In 2016, RFD handled 992 million pounds of cargo throughout the year. That increased to 1.38 billion pounds in 2017 and this year sits at 995 million pounds through the end of June.

“These numbers that we’re seeing so far are just amazing,” Oakley said. “We start looking at where we’re going in the future and it’s higher than we’ve ever seen in the past. It’s new territory for us, but it’s something we are fully ready to accept and keep pushing forward.”

According to the most recent figures from the Federal Aviation Administration, Rockford was the 31st-busiest cargo airport in the nation in terms of landed weight. Oakley said RFD could one day sit near the top ten.

“We fully expect to climb that list and there’s no indication we’re going to stop in the near future,” Oakley said. “The potential is there. In terms of developable land, we have more than enough room to grow and meet that need and continue to grow our cargo operation. I don’t see e-commerce slowing down for quite a while, as long as we keep this economy going.”

The increased cargo traffic also means more opportunities for employment at RFD.

“There was a point last year that there were roughly 2,500 jobs available on this airport,” Oakley said. “Some of that was related to seasonal, but those busy periods are even longer now, which means those seasonal jobs tend to lag on further or part-time jobs get expanded.”

In addition to the terminal expansion, the airport also is constructing a new cargo aircraft parking ramp. The ramp project should be complete by October, while the terminal is scheduled to be done by July 2019.

Months before Election Day, some voters get a new state rep
Illinois Watchdog.Org
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   By Scot Bertram
Candidates--Legislative (11) Pritchard, Robert--State House, 70
Some northern Illinois residents have new representation in Springfield.

Republican Jeff Keicher has been sworn in to finish the term of former state Rep. Bob Pritchard in the 70th House district. Pritchard already had announced his retirement, set for the end of the current term, but left his seat early to join the Northern Illinois University board.

Keicher is a lifelong Illinois resident and a small business owner in DeKalb County. Originally from St. Charles, he lives with his wife and three children in Sycamore.

Keicher will appear on the ballot in November, running for a full term in office. He’s already heard plenty from voters, who he says are frustrated by the tax and regulatory environment in the state. Keicher first took interest in seeking office when he noticed a number of his customers moving out of Illinois.

“The No. 1 issue that folks are mentioning is the tax burden in Illinois,” Keicher said. “Property taxes, the income tax hike we recently took, increased fees on a number of things … taxes is by far the No. 1 issue out there.”

While taking time to praise Pritchard for his service to the community, Keicher said there are issues where the two men disagree, most prominently on last year’s vote to raise the state’s income tax rate, which Pritchard supported. Keicher said he would not have voted for the hike.

“I can’t see ever voting for a tax increase as a state representative,” Keicher said. “As I talk to groups of people, I ask ‘Who here feels Illinois efficiently and effectively spends your tax dollars?’ And I never see a hand go up. That’s one of the basic challenges.”

Keicher speaks of an Illinois government more accountable to the people. He has a desire to develop metrics to determine which departments are succeeding and achieving stated goals and which aren’t.

“Get rid of some of these dinosaur programs and ideas that are just a chain around our neck,” Keicher said. “We need to be able to confront reality. That’s something we’ve deferred far too long in this state.”

The city of DeKalb and Northern Illinois University is situated inside the 70th district. Keicher says the school appears to be recovering from the well-publicized resignation of its president last year, when Doug Baker stepped down following a state report that alleged improper spending during his tenure.

“It really has been heartening to see the folks in leadership now making all attempts to clear away past misdeeds and to do things with clarity of purpose, focus, and really making sure they’re looking with an eye on sustainability and turning that enrollment trend around,” Keicher said.

Mirroring many other state schools, NIU has seen its enrollment plummet in recent years, from more than 25,000 students in 2006 to about 17,000 in 2017. Keicher said finding a way to convince graduating high school student to stay inside the state is a key to turn the numbers in the other direction.

“There are really some hallmark departments and programs at NIU that make it an attractive place,” Keicher said. “It’s going to be [a process] of right-sizing the facilities and faculty to the demand of the students and making sure it’s economically feasible.”

While in Springfield, Keicher said he’ll be refusing pension and health insurance benefits from the state.

“Just because I stood up to say, ‘I want to help the people of Illinois,’ does not mean I should be taking a state taxpayer funded pension,” Keicher said. “In my opinion that’s not a good or effective use of taxpayer resources.”

The 70th House District covers parts of DeKalb, Boone, and Kane counties. Keicher is hopeful voters in the area will send him back for a full term in office in November.

“Illinois is in my veins,” Keicher said. “I am so optimistic about the future that Illinois has because of the opportunities we find around every corner. But, we need to address the issues. The optimism comes with a sense of realism that we need to focus and do our work and make sure the Illinois taxpayer is able to hold Illinois state government accountable for what we do.”

Gov. Rauner signs gun order of protection, waiting period laws
Joliet Herald News
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |  
Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46) , Rauner, Bruce

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a law allowing courts to take weapons away from people who pose a threat of violence to themselves or others.

The Republican's action Monday allows police or family members prove in court that a person with guns is suffering from mental health or other problems and threatening harm. Weapons could be surrendered for up to six months.

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Willis of Addison says her bill answers incidents such as the February Parkland, Florida shooting after which people declare there were warning signs that were not heeded.

Rauner also signed a law Monday extending a 72-hour waiting period for all guns, not just handguns. He says plans to veto a gun-dealer licensing bill that he says is burdened by red tape.

The bills are HB2354 , SB3256 , and SB337 .

Lyondell Basell breaks ground on operations center
Joliet Herald News
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |  
Economic Development (35) Rezin, Sue--State Senate 38

MORRIS – Every big project starts with a small step.

Lyondell Basell took the first step Tuesday toward its $55 million, 89,000 square-foot centralized operations center, as it held a groundbreaking ceremony for the facility. State senator Sue Rezin and state representative David Welter were on hand for the event, as well as Morris mayor Richard Kopczick, Minooka village president Pat Brennan and Channahon villiage president Missey Schumacher.

The new facility will feature a a state-of-the art control room, maintenance shops, offices and testing laboratory, and is scheduled to be completed in August of 2019.

The ceremony began with plant manager Tim Carnell welcoming the crowd. He then spoke of Lyondell's committment to safety and pointed out that this new building will be able to house employees that are in the plant now, but do not necessarily have to be there at all times. This will keep them out of harm's way as much as possible.

Senator Rezin spoke next, and she thanked Lyondell Basell for its investment in Grundy County.

"Lyondell has facilities all around the world," Rezin said. "When they go to make investments, they are pitching why their investment at their plant is most important around the world. Competition for money for these plants is something that the plant manger has to go and explain why it is important in Grundy County. I appreciate the willingness from Tim and his staff to say that Grundy County is where we want to invest. I thank Lyondell's headquarters for investing. They have invested almost a billion dollars in the Grundy County area.

"We are creating jobs in this area, it's a great investment and this story. We have this chemical corridor in this area because we have a skilled workforce. It's a very unique workforce that understands it. We also have first respodners that understand it, too. Dealing with a chemical and energy corridor is different, and I know that we have the best that there are in the community."

Representative Welter echoed Rezin's statements and also pointed out that the project will put many trades in Grundy County to work.

"The community partners we have, like Pat in Minooka, Dick in Morris, Missey in Channahon, they make sure everything is taken care of so we can compete," Welter said. "People are looking at this region and what we are doing and they are saying that this is the right place to invest. The trades that you are putting to work is great for this area."

Lyondell's Morris Complex is one of the largest chemical plants in the Midwest. Local builder, Harbor Construction, based in Plainfield, will be the construction builder. With more than 400 employees and contractors onsite, the plant is a strong civic supporter investing time, energy and resources into the community.

Rauner visits Ottawa to raise support for term limits Asks public to vote for anyone other than Madigan
Ottawa Daily Times
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   Brent Bader

If Gov. Bruce Rauner wins re-election in the fall, it’ll likely be his last term.


Rauner stopped in Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon while on the campaign trail to sign the “People’s Pledge,” which asks those signing to enact legislation that will put an eight-year term limit for statewide elected officials and 10-year limit for lawmakers.


Rauner said there was no reason a statewide official should remain in office longer than two terms, including those serving as governor.


The pledge also asks those signing to vote for someone — anyone — other than Michael Madigan for Speaker of the House.


“We’ve been dominated by a political machine out of Chicago that is corrupt, that has caused us really high taxes, cronyism, patronage and a government that really hasn’t been working for you. It’s been working for the insiders inside the government,” Rauner said.


Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, and Jerry Long, R-Streator, signed the pledge alongside Rauner. Demmer noted Madigan was elected to office more a decade before he was born and Long noted he was age 9.


“Supporters might say that’s evidence he’s doing something right but I think far more people across the state of Illinois would say that’s evidence that there’s something very wrong with the system of government in Illinois,” Demmer said.


Rauner believes by encouraging other officials to sign the pledge in their own respective communities they can end Madigan’s term as Illinois’ longest running Speaker of the House and stop others from holding an office for that long.


He added he believed there are other Democrats who would better serve the office and bring fresh ideas if a voter preferred to stick to party lines.


Rauner previously worked with both parties to get term limits on a ballot by acquiring 600,000 signatures, but said Madigan filed a lawsuit and the courts decided the General Assembly is the only group that could put that item on the ballot.


Mike Barkau, of Ottawa, asked Long prior to the signing how he planned to “stop” Madigan and Rauner said the signing of the petition was the best way to do so.

Barkau explained to The Times after the meeting that he’s dealing with a “monster” property tax issue and voted for Long in 2016 because he wanted to tip the scales and see Madigan’s term in office end.


Barkau said he remains confident it can be done.


“I’m hoping we can keep chipping away at it,” Barkau said. “I’d like to see it move a little faster but as long as we keep chipping away.”


Rauner asked all those in attendance to help the cause by asking every official running for office if they’ve signed the pledge.


“It’s a simple question. ‘Yes or no, have you signed the pledge?’ And if they tell you no, then they’re working for Mike Madigan. They’re working for the Chicago machine,” he said. “The only answer is yes, and if they say yes, then they may very well deserve your vote.”


Rauner faces Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker in the November general election for the governor's seat. Long is being challenged by Lance Yednock in the 76th District state representative race.

Demmer joins Rauner to pledge support for term limits
Sauk Valley News
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   Brent Bader
Candidates--Statewide (12)

If Gov. Bruce Rauner wins re-election in the fall, it likely will be his last term.


Rauner, who is on the campaign trail, stopped in Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon to sign The People’s Pledge, which asks candidates to promise, if elected, to enact legislation that would limit terms to 8 years for statewide elected officials and to 10 years for lawmakers.


State Reps. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, and Jerry Long, R-Streator, signed the pledge alongside Rauner. Demmer is seeking his fourth 2-year term in November.

There’s no reason a statewide official, including the governor, should remain in office longer than two terms, the Republican governor said.


The pledge also asks House candidates to vote for someone – anyone – other than Michael Madigan for Speaker of the House.


“We’ve been dominated by a political machine out of Chicago that is corrupt, that has caused us really high taxes, cronyism, patronage and a government that really hasn’t been working for you. It’s been working for the insiders inside the government,” Rauner said.


Demmer pointed out that Madigan was elected to office more a decade before he was born. Long echoed Demmer’s point, noting that he was only 9 when Madigan was elected.


“Supporters might say that’s evidence he’s doing something right, but I think far more people across the state of Illinois would say that’s evidence that there’s something very wrong with the system of government in Illinois,” Demmer said.


By encouraging other officials to sign the pledge in their respective communities, they can end Madigan’s term as Illinois’ longest running Speaker of the House and stop others from holding office for that long, Rauner said.


There are other Democrats who would better serve the office and bring fresh ideas, if a voter prefers to stick to party lines, he added.


Rauner worked with both parties to get term limits on a ballot by acquiring 600,000 signatures, but Madigan sued and the courts decided only the General Assembly could put it on the ballot.


Rauner urged those attending to ask officials running for office to sign the pledge.


“It’s a simple question. ‘Yes or no, have you signed the pledge?’ And if they tell you no, then they’re working for Mike Madigan. They’re working for the Chicago machine,” he said.


“The only answer is yes, and if they say yes, then they may very well deserve your vote.”

Bourne, Clark clash over missed votes
State Journal Register
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   Bernard Schoenburg
Candidates--Statewide (12)

Democratic Illinois House candidate DILLON CLARK of Litchfield has rolled out an online campaign video that includes a scroll of more than 100 votes for which he says state Rep. AVERY BOURNE, R-Raymond, was absent or marked herself as “present.”


Bourne is fighting back, saying she has taken thousands of votes and missed only three of 234 session days — and had excused absences for those days — since taking office in early 2015. She said 28 of the bills were from two of those excused-absence days. She also says some of the votes Clark listed are amendments, so he actually is discussing fewer than 75 bills. She also said she had voted on some of the bills listed.


Her campaign said a dozen of the bills were sponsored by House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago, and were “never intended to pass,” and another dozen votes on amendments were part of a “tax freeze scam” sponsored by a Democrat. She also said she voted on later final action on some of the bills listed.


Bourne’s campaign also provided statistics about Clark’s two years on the Montgomery County Board, saying he had missed one of 19 full board meetings, and nine of 39 committee meetings.


Back in a 1982 race, a video list of missed votes worked well for Democrat MIKE CURRAN, who defeated Republican incumbent GOP state Rep. IRV SMITH of Springfield using such an ad. Clark said he wasn’t aware of that when he fashioned his own video.


“We need a representative that will do their job,” the narrator in Clark’s video about Bourne’s missed votes says, as viewers see a picture of Bourne with Gov. BRUCE RAUNER.


Bourne easily won her current two-year term in 2016, when her opponent then also made her voting record an issue.


“Instead of launching tired old campaign attacks, Dillon Clark should stop playing politics and actually show up at his only job,” she said.

Clark says he was on his honeymoon when he missed the one full county board meeting, and he missed some committee meetings because of a full-time job. He did leave that job at a bank some months ago, and has been campaigning full time. At least a couple of missed committee meetings came after he left that job. He also said amendments can be critical to a bill and votes on them are important. And as for his own voting record, he said that if he misses committee votes, he can vote on the bills when they come to the full board.


And, Clark said via email, “I know Rep. Bourne hasn’t ever had a real job besides campaigning, so this might be hard for her to understand, but when you have a job that’s supporting your family you do everything you can to take care of them. ... If her boss was anyone but Bruce Rauner, she would be fired.”


Bourne said Clark had been caught “embellishing his record as a firefighter” and now “has the nerve” to criticize what she calculates as missing less than 1 percent of votes, while he missed nearly a quarter of his committee meetings.


Clark was called out for a previous campaign video talking about his work as a volunteer firefighter. While he used Litchfield equipment, including a truck, in the video, he told WCIA-TV he had served not there but in a Missouri town while he was in college. And while he initially said he did that for more than a year, it turned out his official role there lasted a matter of weeks. Clark then apologized for counting his “unofficial” time around the firehouse as part of his official time as a volunteer.


Bourne was a law student when she was named to her House seat from the 95th District in 2015.


Clarke and Bourne do have a few things in common: each is 26, married and has no children.



Sterling at GOP post


TRAVIS STERLING, 29, has been named the new executive director of the Republican Party of Illinois, replacing DREW COLLINS, who has gone to work for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which helps elect GOP U.S. House members nationwide.


Sterling, who is single, is a Salisbury, Maryland, native now living in Chicago.


“I am excited and proud to get to work and elect more Republicans to send to Springfield and Washington who can fight corruption, keep our state and nation safe, and bring tax relief to the hardworking families of Illinois,” Sterling said.


Sterling’s jobs since 2013 have included being a regional manager with Americans for Prosperity; chief of staff for state Rep. TOM DEMMER, R-Dixon; deputy campaign manager for former U.S. Rep. BOBBY SCHILLING’s 2014 campaign that fell short of getting him back to Congress; political director for then-U.S. Sen. MARK KIRK, R-Illinois; and campaign manager for Minnesota congressional candidate PETE STAUBER. He became deputy executive director of the Illinois GOP in February, and continued those duties while he also had a brief stint this year as state director of the Republican National Committee.


Collins, a St. Charles native, got the state party executive director position last year after having jobs that included being campaign manager for U.S. Rep. RODNEY DAVIS, R-Taylorville.


Meanwhile, AARON DeGROOT, who happens to be husband of Rep. Bourne, has moved from communications director of the state GOP to a similar role for Republican attorney general candidate ERIKA HAROLD of Urbana. A replacement at the party should be named soon.

Incumbents hold big fundraising leads in central Illinois legislative races
State Journal Register
Thursday, July 19, 2018  |   Article  |   Doug Fink
Candidates--Statewide (12)

With one exception, Springfield area legislative races are not proving to be hotbeds of fundraising activity as the 2018 campaigns head into the final months before the election.


The exception is in the 45th Senate District where Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, reported raising over $304,000 from April 1 through June 30. It dwarfed the $12,700 raised by his Republican opponent, Seth McMillan of Taylorville.

In fact, it dwarfed the total money raised by all of the other candidates in contested races in the Springfield area. Those seven candidates (including McMillan) raised a total of $55,028 in the last three months.


“There’s not a lot of activity,” said Kent Redfield, a retired political science professor at the University of Illinois Springfield and an expert in campaign finances. “The serious money is going to come in races that one side or both sides think are competitive. It doesn’t look like there’s going to be much action in central Illinois.”


Redfield said central Illinois has pretty much “settled in” where districts aren’t likely to switch between parties.


“Right now it looks like a status quo election,” he said.


That doesn’t mean Manar is taking anything for granted. In the last three months, he raised over $304,000 while spending more than $424,000, much of it on advertising. That still left Manar with more than $361,000 on hand at the end of June.


Since June, he’s received nearly $444,000 from the Illinois Democratic Heartland fund, a campaign committee formed last year to elect Democrats to the state Senate. Much of the committee’s money has come from Democrat J.B. Pritzker. Manar is by far the committee’s main beneficiary so far. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Scott Bennett of Champaign, could not be reached for comment.


During that same period, McMillan raised about $12,700 and spent just over $10,000. He had about $7,000 left on hand at the end of June.


McMillan got about $4,000 from county Republican organizations in the district. He reported spending more than $3,300 on radio advertising.


McMillan issued a statement this week accusing Manar of getting most of his campaign contributions from outside of the Senate district.


“Andy Manar has failed the 48th District,” McMillan said. “He has lost their confidence and has turned to his Chicago sugar daddies like J.B. Pritzker to bankroll his campaign.”


“He has a knack of lying and this is a continuation of the behavior he’s displayed so far in this campaign,” Manar said. “I would say his press release is intended to mask another incredibly poor fundraising quarter for his campaign.”


Although McMillan hasn’t raised much money yet, Manar isn’t taking any chances.


“I’ve had two other races in my short time in the Senate and I’ve always been targeted by the Republicans, specifically Gov. Rauner,” he said. “My opponent is Gov. Rauner’s handpicked candidate to run against me. I would assume that at some point in time, Bruce Rauner’s going to shower millions of dollars on Seth McMillan.”


Outside of Manar, the area candidate who raised the most in the last quarter was Democrat Dillon Clark of Litchfield. He raised just under $20,000 and also took out a $4,000 loan. After expenses, he still had just under $20,000 left to spend. Since the quarterly reports were filed, Clark got another $5,000 from county Democratic organizations in the district.


Clark, though, still trails incumbent Rep. Avery Bourne of Raymond. Although Bourne only raised $1,600 in the last three months, she still had more than $72,000 on hand at the end of June.


Incumbent Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, also holds a substantial fundraising lead over Republican challenger Herman Senor of Springfield. While only raising $2,250 in the last three months, Scherer ended June with $117,458 in her fund.


Senor, a Springfield alderman, raised just over $5,000 during the quarter and spent about as much. He ended June with $8,112 in his campaign account.


Only one area race does not have an incumbent. Republican Mike Murphy of Springfield is running against Democrat Marc Bell of Springfield to replace Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, R-Leland Grove. Jimenez opted not to run for reelection.


Murphy ends June with over $32,000 in his fund after raising $11,629 and spending just over $4,000.


Bell raised $2,780 during the quarter, but spent less than $400, leaving him with just over $9,000 left in the account.