IL-14: Leftists Plan to Protest Marco Rubio at Jim Oberweis Fundraiser on Friday

Jim Oberweis

Tweets and Facebook posts Tuesday night are alerting Chicagoland residents including local media of Senator Marco Rubio’s (R, FL) appearance in Oak Brook on Friday in order to protest during 14th district candidate Jim Oberweis’ luncheon fundraiser.

Per the protest invitation:

“Marco Rubio will be at Maggiano’s in Oak Brook at 12pm on Friday, Oct. 25 headlining a fundraiser for right-wing Republican, IL14 candidate, and sour milk magnate, Jim Oberweis. Join us to demand Rubio call for an impeachment of Donald Trump! Make creative signs and see the comments for a post on where to stand.”

Joint Event Announcement by Leftist Groups Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th and Indivisible Hinsdale Facebook Event
.

Information began flowing in social media Tuesday night, including the following alert on Twitter including tags to local media:

The above tweet includes an aerial shot of the Oak Brook shopping center and the area where the protesters will assemble.

Since a U.S. Senator, in the event the House of Representatives passes Articles of Impeachment against President Trump, will be a jurist in the Senate trial, Rubio will be casting a vote to remove or not remove President Trump from office after the House Impeachment Managers and the defense present their cases.

It takes 67 affirmative votes to remove a President of the United States, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court would preside over a trial in the Senate.

The composition of the Senate’s 100 members are:

  • 53 Republicans
  • 45 Democrats
  • 2 independents

Additionally, left-wing activist Reid McCollum posted additional information on his Facebook page:

Marco Rubio will be at Maggiano's in Oak Brook at 12pm on Friday, Oct. 25 headlining a fundraiser for right-wing…

Posted by Reid McCollum on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

According to the above Facebook meter, over 30 people have expressed interest to attend the protest.

No word from the Jim 2020 congressional campaign on extra security or other precautions to be implemented.

McHenry County Blog will be monitoring this story throughout the week.

Kendall County Times Link: https://kendallcountytimes.com/stories/515105515-florida-sen-rubio-coming-to-illinois-friday-for-oberweis-congressional-fundraiser

IL-14: Catalina Lauf Visits Northern Illinois Recovery Center, Paying Attention to the Third Millenial and Video from The Chad Prather Show

Catalina Lauf

Tuesday was a busy day for McHenry County’s Catalina Lauf for her campaign in the 14th district.

This morning, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21) announced Lauf, along with Sue Rezin, were among the Republican women on the Elevate PAC’s “Women to Watch” list.

Additionally, Lauf visited the Northern Illinois Recovery Center in Crystal Lake, which is in-district. The Center’s Chris Reed accompanied Lauf on the tour, and her campaign posted the following from Instagram including her description of the tour:

From Catalina Lauf Instagram Page

No Longer the Newest Candidate in IL-14

With yesterday’s announcement of Jerry Evans’ entry into the 14th congressional district race, Lauf is no longer the newest candidate in the now 8-person Republican primary field.

But as noted in our “First Impressions of...” article yesterday, if imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery, Evans’ campaign launch imitated Lauf’s launch most of all, but did a couple of improvements of their own.

But Lauf’s campaign quickly took notice of the new entrant to the field, the 3rd millenial running for the 14th. Her campaign’s press person was the 3rd follower of Evans’ campaign in Twitter, right after McHenry County Blog followed Evans’ campaign Twitter account.

Lauf’s campaign takes no one lightly.

Video of Lauf’s Appearance on The Chad Prather Show

In case you missed it, two weeks ago, Lauf travelled to the Deep South and did interviews on the two different podcasts on BlazeTV.

Previously, McHenry County Blog live streamed Dear America with Graham Allen, which was broadcast last week.

Last week, The Chad Prather Show interview was broadcast. Here is the video, and the interview with Lauf begins at the 10:15 mark and the interview is a little over a 1/2 hour:

It should be noted, this video has had over 14,500 views since it was published last Tuesday.

Lauf opens up on her time with the Trump Administration and touches upon issues including Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s legislation H.R. 3525 and the out-of-control partisan politics.

DeWitte Part of Capital Program Rollout

From State Senator Dan DeWitte:

Sen. DeWitte helps to announce multi-year road, bridge plan 

33rd Senate District to see $103 million in road, bridge projects

Springfield, IL… Touting Illinois’ new and historic infrastructure plan as “a very important milestone,” State Senator Don DeWitte (R-St. Charles) joined members of the General Assembly, officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and Governor J. B. Pritzker for a press conference in Springfield Oct. 21 to announce the multi-year road and bridge plan.

“For years, Illinois has allowed its critical infrastructure to crumble,” said Sen. DeWitte during the press conference.

“This spring, instead of continuing the status quo, leaders from both sides of the aisle and the Governor came together to provide real solutions to the challenges that communities all over the state of Illinois face.”

The plan includes $23.5 billion in spending for roads and bridges over the course of six years.

The spending will allow IDOT to build, improve, maintain, construct, and rehabilitate over 4,200 miles of roads and nearly 700 bridges.

“In the 33rd Senate District, residents will see local projects totaling over $103 million,” said Sen. DeWitte.

“One project that I pushed extremely hard for was the widening and resurfacing of McClean Boulevard in South Elgin.

“For years, this road has been neglected and has continued to degrade causing a safety risk for its travelers.

“From conversations that I’ve had with my constituents over the past year, I believe area residents will be thrilled that this project made the list.”

A full list of projects expected in the 33rd Senate District can be found here

Illinois Abortion Until Birth Bill Challenged for Lack of Religious Insurance Exemption

From the Thomas More Sociey:

Pritzker’s Radical Abortion Policy Violates Federal Law

Thomas More Society Files Civil Rights Complaint Against Illinois Reproductive Health Act

(October 22, 2019 – Chicago) On October 21, 2019 the Thomas More Society filed a complaint against Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.

The new Illinois law requires health insurance policies to cover elective chemical and surgical abortions.

According to the complaint, this mandate — which compels businesses and individuals to pay for even late term abortion coverage and offers no religious exemptions — violates the federal Weldon Amendment and Affordable Care Act 

“This abortion-coverage mandate is a blatant violation of the religious and conscience rights of many who live or work in Illinois,” explained Thomas More Society attorney Michael McHale.

“While the secular forces behind this mandate often erroneously object to any influence of religion on the state, here they had no hesitation in wielding state power against our sincerely held, common-sense religious beliefs to avoid paying for health insurance coverage of abortion.

The law, now known as Illinois Public Act 101-13,  mandates every health insurance policy in Illinois that provides pregnancy-related benefits to provide coverage of elective abortions, and to do so without cost-sharing beyond that required for pregnancy-related benefits. 

It does not include any exemptions for religious individuals, religious organizations, or even churches.

The Thomas More Society, a national nonprofit public interest law firm and major force in the Constitutional defense of religious liberty, filed the complaint on its own behalf and on behalf of  Flossmoor dentist, Dr. Richard Mantoan and his dental practice, Southland Smiles, Ltd.

Both companies sponsor small group health insurance plans for their employees and offer a number of policy options purchased through BlueCross Blue Shield of Illinois.

The new mandate requires both businesses to purchase health insurance policies that cover abortions.

The complaint details how the Illinois abortion-coverage mandate violates the federal Weldon Amendment, putting Illinois in jeopardy of losing billions of dollars of federal funding.

The Weldon Amendment ensures that federal appropriations to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education may not be issued to any government that discriminates against a “health care entity,” including an insurance plan sponsor, on the basis that it does not provide health insurance coverage of abortion. 

“This is exactly what the Weldon Amendment prohibits,” McHale said.

“Illinois cannot force those of us who do not believe in paying for abortions to either pay for abortion coverage or drop our insurance.

“Doing so will require Illinois to forfeit federal funding for essential programs such as Medicaid.”

“Additional provisions of this radical abortion policy will force Illinois taxpayers to foot the bill,” added McHale, referring to the federal Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring a separation of abortion costs from other health care expenses.

“It’s a direct violation of federal law. We should expect better from our lawmakers.”

“We are confident that the Office for Civil Rights will take our complaint seriously,” declared McHale.

“Federal law clearly prohibits this brazen attempt to encroach upon our rights conscience.

“We urge immediate intervention to halt this illegal mandate.”

Read the complaint filed October 21, 2019, by the Thomas More Society and Dr. Richard Mantoan, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights,  here [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/HHS-OCR-Complaint-Letter-with-Exhibit-Thomas-More-Society-10-21-19-FINAL.pdf].

About the Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago and Omaha, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit thomasmoresociety.org.

Murdered Woodstock Woman’s Body Identified, Found in 2017, Missing Since 2010

Here is what the Illinois State Police wrote about missing person Benedetta L Bentley, known as Beth, missing since May 23, 2010:

Beth was last seen in the area of the Centralia, Illinois Amtrak train station on May 23, 2010. Amtrak records show she did not get on a train and there has not been any contact since this date. The search is concentrating on the Mt. Vernon and Centralia, Illinois area.

Here is the State Polilce’s press release:

ISP MAKES POSITIVE INDENTIFICATION ON REMAINS OF BENEDETTA “BETH” BENTLEY

DuQuoin, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) officials announce the positive identification of the body of Benedetta “Beth” Bentley.

The human remains, located on December 4, 2017 in rural Jefferson County,
have been positively identified.

On May 23, 2010, a friend reportedly dropped off Beth Bentley at an Amtrak Station in Centralia, Illinois.

Bentley was reportedly taking a train back to her home located in Woodstock, Illinois. Bentley did not return home and was reported missing.

Information was developed which led the ISP to a rural location in Jefferson County where suspected human remains were recovered at the location.

The results of the joint investigation conducted by the ISP Zone 7 Investigations, ISP Zone 1 Investigations and Woodstock Police Department (WPD) have been forwarded to the Jefferson County State’s Attorney’s
office for review.

IL-14/IL-06: Sue Rezin and Catalina Lauf Added to “Women to Watch” List of Elevate PAC, Jeanne Ives Being Tracked

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik

The Elevate PAC (E-PAC) was founded after the 2018 midterm elections by 3-term Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21):

“It’s Quite stark and quite obvious as you look around the GOP conference that it’s not reflective of the American public.

“We need to do better.”

Elise Stefanik, commenting only 13 Republican women serving in the 116th Congress, down from 23 in the 115th, from E-PAC website
.

And of the 13 Republican women in the 116th Congress, 2 announced their retirement. The Republican conference currently has 197 members.

Today, E-PAC announced their first wave of endorsements for the 2020 elections, using a criteria:

“At least $250,000 raised in their first full quarter after announcing their candidacy, a built-out campaign team, and the ability to prove a path to victory.”

E-PAC Website
.

Since none of the three women running for Congress from either the 6th or 14th district started their candidacies in the 2nd quarter, none of them were endorsed.

But E-PAC did announce a “Women to Watch” list, and the two women running in the 14th, Sue Rezin and Catalina Lauf, made the list.

Upon seeing the lists, McHenry County Blog contacted E-PAC to find out why 6th district candidate Jeanne Ives was not included with Rezin and Lauf on the E-PAC “Women to Watch” list. Two emails with E-PAC’s communications director stated the following about the 6th district:

“E-PAC is tracking the IL-06 race and Jeanne Ives’ candidacy. This is just the first round, we anticipate making additional endorsements and additions to our ‘Women to Watch’ list throughout the cycle.”

E-PAC Communications Director via email to McHenry County Blog
.

In the meantime, the fundraising continues, as this tweet with pic from Sue Rezin’s campaign shows:

Link to E-PAC Lists: https://elevate-pac.com/2019/10/22/first-slate

Petition for Precinct Committeeperson

Looks as if the title for Precinct Committeeman has been changed to Precinct Committeeperson.

A former Chair of the McHenry County Democrsatic Party, Kathy Bergan Schmidt, told me the title should be “Citizen Representative.”

I suggested that since her party contolled everything in Springfield that they change the title.

Apparently, they did change the title, but to one more unweildy than “Citizen Representative.”

Regardless, several commenters have asked where they might find a petition of the party precinct office.

The place to look is here.

It’s a page on the State Board of Elections website.

Ten signatures are required, but I suggest getting twenty.

And when you file them, along with a Statement of Candidacy, be sure to staple them together and have your signature notarized in front of a notary public.

IL-14: Maybe the Newcomers Should Produce Copies of their Primary Voting Records

Distressed Republican Flag

Several comments have been posted wanting to know if the 14th district congressional candidates running for elective public office for the first time have ever voted in a Republican primary election.

Most recently, yesterday’s announcement by Warrenville resident Jerry Evans to run for Congress prompted those comments.

And by “primary election”, this means the biennial general primary election held in even-numbered years. Township Republican primaries and/or Republican caucus is not applicable to this discussion.

It’s not an unfair question, and the proactive candidate would initiate the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) form and have the election authority(ies) pull this information and post it on their campaign websites and/or Facebook pages.

There are 8 candidates who’ve announced they will run for Congress next year. Five of them have, to our knowledge, never run for elective public office. So let’s go through all 8 candidates, and short of a primary voting record, determine what they’ve done to-date for the GOP:

  • Jim Oberweis
    • On the Republican primary ballot 7 of the previous 9 election cycles going back to the turn-of-the-century
    • 2-term Republican state senator 25th legislative district
    • In 2010 when not on the ballot, was elected by precinct committeemen to the state central committeeman post for the 14th congressional district (2001 apportionment)
  • Sue Rezin
    • On the Republican primary ballot 4 of the past 5 election cycles for the Illinois General Assembly
    • Won Illinois House seat, 3 terms as state senator as a Republican
  • James Marter
    • On the Republican primary ballot in previous 2 election cycles in unsuccessful bids for U.S. Senator and Congress
    • Elected by precinct committeemen to be Kendall County Republican Party Chairman in 2016

Those were the easy ones. Now to the five newcomers in alphabetical order:

  • Anthony Catella
    • Elected Republican precinct committeeman in 2018 to St. Charles Township precinct in Kane County
    • Moved back to Fox Valley in 2015 after nearly 5 years as a priest in Louisiana
  • Jerry Evans
    • Voting record unknown
    • Resident of DuPage County, including attending college at Wheaton College for nearly 20 years
  • Ted Gradel
    • Gave $250 in 2014 to then Republican State Senator Michael Connelly
    • Currently resident of Will County
  • Catalina Lauf
    • Employed by Citizens for Rauner from late January to mid November 2018
    • Employed by the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Trump Administration from December of 2018 to mid 2019
    • Woodstock resident from late 2018, and after Washington employment in mid 2019
    • Lived in Chicago prior to fall of 2018, duration unknown
  • Danny Malouf
    • Grew up in Crystal Lake
    • Lives in Woodstock

Suffice it to say, the individual campaigns will likely have collected the primary voting histories already when they purchased voting data from either the 7 county clerks within the 14th, or from the State Board of Elections.

So in other words, your opponents already have this information, and if you lived outside of the 7 counties in the district, I’m sure someone has done a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on your record, too. And if they haven’t, someone soon will.

Now how far back in time do the newcomers need to go to answer questions? Some think past two election cycles. Others think history going back to 2008 cycle (though Catalina Lauf did not turn 18 until 2011) should be shared.

Let’s leave it up to the candidates to determine self-disclosure.

Everyone should remember Illinois is an open primary state, and voter registration is not done by political party. There is no such thing as a “registered Republican” in Illinois. Voters registered have the individual freedom of choice to choose which established primary to cast a ballot during the general primary election, or to cast a nonpartisan ballot.

So may the candidates be forthcoming about their voting history and voluntarily share it. Because if the candidate doesn’t, one of your opponents or their supporters will likely share it for you.

Com Ed Favors for Votes

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax has an article about Commonwealth Edison’s relationship with Illinois legislators.

In view of the recent subpoenas, he observes,

“But beyond whatever ComEd and Exelon may have done, what will be truly fascinating is if the feds ever publish a list of politicians who allegedly got sweet favors in return for their votes.

That could be a long one.

I’ve long heard that Chicago Democratic Party politicians have been able to get people hired by Com Ed, but could the Feds uncover other rewards for voting for Com Ed legislation?

Take a look at the campaign contributions Com Ed, southern Illinois counterpart Ameren and related companies, suppliers, etc., to legislators.

From McHenry County Blog’s October 28, 2011, article:

Below you see the contributions from 2011 for the 39 State senators who voted to override Governor Pat Quinn’s veto of Senate Bill 1652:

  • Senate Democratic Victory Fund – $89,250
  • Republican State Campaign Committee – $42,650

The Democratic Party Senate campaign fund is controlled by Senate President John Cullerton.

The Republican Party Senate campaign fund is run by Minority Leader Christine Radogno.

In descending order, here’s what each of the 39 State Senators who voted to raise your electric rates got in contributions from Commonwealth Edison, Ameren, plus other companies and executives thereof which the Committee on Political Reform believes had an interest in the bill’s passage:

  • Christine Radogno – $38,000
  • Kirk Dillard – $19,000
  • Mike Jacobs – $16,750
  • Dale Richter – $13,930
  • Antonio Munoz – $13,850
  • Don Harmon – $11,500
  • Toi Hutchinson – $11,000
  • James Meeks – $11,000
  • Bill Brady – $9,500
  • Annezette Collins – $8,250
  • A. J. Wilhemi – $7,700
  • Mattie Hunter – $7,000
  • Carole Pankau – $6,350
  • John Millner – $6,050
  • Donne Trotter – $6,000
  • John Jones – $5,750
  • Kimberly Lightford – $5,500
  • William Haine – $5.450
  • Terry Link – $5,000GOP Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno
  • Michael Noland – $4,750
  • Matt Murphy – $4,250
  • Pam Althoff – $4,000
  • David Leuchtefeld – $3,358
  • Kwame Raoul – $2,500
  • Sue Rezen – $2,000
  • Maggie Crotty – $1,500
  • John Cullerton – $1,500
  • Linda Holmes – $1,250
  • Iris Martinez – $1,250
  • Emil Jones, III – $1,000
  • William Delgado – $1,000
  • David Koehler – $750
  • Martin Sandoval – $500
  • Thomas Johnson – 0
  • Steven Landek – 0
  • Ron Sandack – 0

After voting against the bill the first time around, State Rep. Jack Franks flipped and voted for what TV reorted Mike Flannery charaxcterized as a “stealth” veto override.

Governor Pat Quinn made his views explicity:

The veto override vote:

The fall veto override of the Com Ed bill Governor Pat Quinn vetoed.

A March 4, 2012, article “Jack Franks Shows Tree Killer Side” began,

“After his last minute ‘conversion’ to the electric rate hike side of the bill promoted by Com Ed and Ameren, it appears that Democrat Jack Franks is now playing water boy for the not-so-regulated-as-before utilities.”

House Bill 3884 would allow Com Ed to remove all the trees on the south side of Lake Avenue, if they are withint 20 feet of the power lines. Northern Illinois electric service would be safe from most falling trees, but denuded of nearby trees.

Another favor Franks did for Com Ed was to introduce legislation allowing Com Ed to cut any trees within twenty feet of a power line, even if located on a resident’s property.

“Chainsaw Jack” Franks’ introduction of legislation to allow Com Ed to chop down any tree within 20 feet of a power line inspired this satirical movie poster.

The anti-conservation bill earned him the nickname “Chainsaw Jack.”

The bill was so bad that the Chicago Tribune ran its lead Sunday editorial in opposition.

The Chicago Triubne’s featured editorial on Sunday, March 11, 2012, was about “Chainsaw Jack” Franks’ bill to allow Com Ed and Ameren to level every tree withint 20 feet of a power line.

After the subpoenas started flying in Commonwealth Edison’s direction, looked for contributions from Exelon President CEO Anne Pramaggiore, who hurriedly resigned.

She used to be head of Com Ed’s Springfield lobbying effort.

Guess waht?

Even when it was clear that Franks would not be in the Illinois House because he was running for McHenry County Board Chairman, rather that for re-election, Pramaggiore still gave Franks the maximum allowed by law–$5,600.

McHenry County College Board Set to Levy to the Max Thursday Ending Six-Years of Keeping Tax Extraction Constant

With a largely newly-consituted Board of Trustees, the question taxpayers in which taxpayers should be interested is whether the McHenry County College property tax levy will remain constant next year.

Ever since Tom Wilbeck, Karen Tirio and Chris Jenner won election six years ago, no additional money has been extracted from real estate taxpayers each year.

The College bragged about the accomplishment in a press release last year.

This sentence was in the press release:

“Based on the overall average cost per parcel of $186.04, based on 2017 McHenry County data, this $22.20 savings per parcel represents a cut in taxes of about 11.9 percent.”

But because new growth expanded the tax base, the tax cut is even better than that.

“When factoring in the new property growth savings the total actual average savings jumps to $28.39 or a 15.3 percent tax savings. [emphasis added]”

The three out-front tax fighters joined incumbent Ron Parrish and newcomer Molly Walsh to form a bloc dedicated to protecting taxpayers.

Largely the same coalition, then led by Jenner, found a way to force students, instead of taxpayers, to finance the new science building.

Looking at Report 19-138 (a bit more than halfway down the agenda), it is clear the spenders are back in control of the Board.

The maximum an Illinois tax district can take this year because of the Tax Cap (called PTELL) by the technocrats, is 1.9%.

That’s the increase in the Consumer Price Indexfor last year.

The resolution on the Board agenda, is entitled,

“RESOLUTION REGARDING ESTIMATED AMOUNTS NECESSARY TO BE LEVIED FOR THE YEAR 2019: [emphasis added].”

MCC is back to the matra uttered by its Chief Financial Officer Robert Tenuta in 2013.

Six years ago, Tenuta argued that the college should grab every dime it was allowed by law.

To be specific, he said, “If we don’t capture growth as it comes in we lose it forever.” 

That is the line that most educational institutions take and, by doing so, they guarantee that people’s taxes cannot go down. 

For the entire fall of 2013, Tenuta talked gloom and doom

I observed last year, “It is wonderful that he (Tenuta) has finally gotten in touch with the taxpayer-sensitive MCC Trustees.”

Well, new Trustees are in charge now, headed by Lakewood’s President Mike Smith, and the “tax the maximum or lose it forever” argument has apparently resonated favorably.

Gone are the days of “don’t tax the max and the taxpayers save it forever.”

The tax take last year was $27,966,936.

For next year, it could increase 2.4% to $28,697,502, assuming the resolution is passed, and growth is as high as college administrstors project.

An accompanying memo estimates the average homeowner will only see a 43 cent a month tax increase or $5.15 for the year.

The tax hike justification memo was signed by President Clifford Gabbard.

Contact information for Trustees:

Questions/comments for the Board of Trustees can be sent to mcctrustees@mchenry.edu

Contact an individual trustee:

To send an email to the full Board or an individual trustee, select a specific email address above. If this does not work on your device, please copy the email address and paste it in the “to” field of your email message.

When calling an individual trustee, dial (815) 455-3700 and enter the extension of the board member you wish to contact.

Jeanne Ives Voted Against Com Ed Legislation Feds Exploring

From congressional hopeful Jeanne Ivs:

Madigan, ComEd and Illinois’ Bi-Partisan Combine Under Fire

Ives: “I spoke against it. I voted against it. I don’t shy away from standing up to the special interests and the big government politicians in either party.”

October 21, 2019 – The Chicago Tribune is reporting that federal investigators are seeking information about Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan in a subpoena and search warrant served on the City Club of Chicago as part of a probe into ComEd’s lobbying practices, and as part of a larger investigation into public corruption in Illinois.

According to WBEZ,

Federal investigators are looking into allegations that Commonwealth Edison hired multiple politically connected employees and consultants in exchange for favorable government actions, including electricity rate increases…

ComEd’s PAC has given a total of $253,000 in campaign contributions to the Democratic Party of Illinois and the Friends of Michael J. Madigan political committee in the last 15 years, records show.

Over the past 11 years, individuals listing ComEd or Exelon as their employers have reported contributing more than $85,000 to those same two Madigan-controlled campaign funds. 

Jeanne Ives

Jeanne Ives, a Republican reform candidate for Congress and former state legislator, issued the following statement in response,

“Remember the Exelon bailout bill that gave them a $2.4 billion subsidy in 2016?

The lobbyists were thick as thieves in Springfield trying to pass it.

Rauner signed it.

Bruce Rauner

Republican leaders pushed it, and all the weak-kneed legislators fell in with the program.

This was the bi-partisan combine at work in Illinois. 

“The deal was a disgusting 450 pages of pandering hand-outs.

There was a lot of pressure to vote for that bill.

Exelon had worked the bill for over a year and as the bill developed it became a jobs program for special interests, a hand-out for renewable energy companies, and I wouldn’t doubt, possibly led to pay-offs to the connected.

This bill was a hot mess with the 10th amendment coming the morning of the final votes.

I don’t shy away from standing up to the special interests and the big government politicians in either party.

I spoke against it.

I voted against it.

I wrote an op-ed that NONE of the Chicago media picked up.  

“And now we have the Feds snooping around. I bet it is related to the passage of that bill. ” 

The Exelon bailout was one of the vignettes in an ad Ives’ ran in the 2018 primary decried by the establishment Republicans and Democrats alike along with Illinois political press corps types who do their bidding. 

Ives defended the ad at the time, “It was an illustration of policies put in place by Governor Rauner–along with political ruling class Republicans and Democrats–policies that Illinois families, particularly the suburban families I represented, needed to understand.”  

Ives lamented that it takes federal prosecutors to police politicians in both parties in Illinois because of their unwillingness to police themselves.

Pritzker Appoints New Public Administrators/ Guardians

From Governor JB Pritzker:

Greg Barry will serve as Public Administrator and Public Guardian of McHenry County. 

Barry is an attorney with Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle in Crystal Lake, specializing in estate planning and administration, guardianships, elder law and real estate.

He serves on the Board of Senior Services Associates, the McHenry County Task Force on Aging, and volunteers with other McHenry County nonprofits.

Barry earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and Juris Doctor from the University of Texas Law School.

Michelle Coady-Carter will serve as Public Administrator and Public Guardian of McHenry County. 

Coady-Carter has owned her current practice for 17 years and specializes in estate planning, guardianship, adoption, juvenile and family law.

She also serves as a court-appointed mediator and guardian ad litem.

In addition to her admission to practice in state court, Coady-Carter is also authorized to practice in federal jurisdictions including the Illinois Northern, Central and Southern District Courts.

She obtained her undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Colombia School of Law.

= = = = =

Scott Summers served in that position under Governors Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner.

IL-14: James Marter Issues Position Paper on Veterans Affairs, but Not Sure He Knows It

James Marter

Late Sunday night, 14th district candidate James Marter did something I’ve been pleading for candidates to do for quite some time — he issued a detailed policy/position paper in a Facebook meme.

The issue he wrote about was Veterans issues, and was doing it primarily in response to Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s legislation, H.R. 3525 being passed in the House back on the 26th of September.

I’m not sure he knows what he did, but I encourage Marter to do more of it.

Modesty prevents me from taking credit for this apparent course-correction for his campaign, given this was stated in the rankings McHenry County Blog published recently.

So here is what Marter says on his issues page on his campaign’s website under “Veterans Admin (VA)”:

“I support our Veterans. Within VA hospitals & centers, investigate & solve the crisis of incompetency and corruption. Help our veterans!”

Source: Marter For Congress website
.

So that brief statement is Marter’s abstract. Here is the entire meme from his campaign Facebook page, and please click “See more” to view the entire article:

I will put the Health care needs of America's veterans and Americans first! My mother was a medical technologist, she…

Posted by Marter for Congress on Sunday, October 20, 2019
Source: Marter for Congress Facebook Page

The video link at the end of Marter’s Facebook post is from late September and recaps the issues brought up in the meme.

The position paper needs refinement. It’s reads a little rough, and in addition to his growing up watching his mother work at the Peoria VA facility, he goes on to discuss H.R. 3525 in some detail, including what happened on the House floor in late September.

Additionally, there are other veterans issues in addition to H.R. 3525 which Underwood is working through the House Veterans Affairs Committee, where she is a member. Recently, her and Senator Tammy Duckworth introduced legislation (H.R. 3932) and last month, additional veterans legislation were introduced. Links to these bills at the end of the article.

Marter, and other candidates, are encouraged to use the July 17 House Homeland Security Committee video below, to collect specifics about H.R. 3525 when it was reviewed in committee, including the Republicans’ concerns about the legislation.

Starting at the 1:40:12 point on the video, when Chairman Bennie Thompson (D, MS) calls up H.R. 3525, and Underwood speaks to her legislation and amendments.

Congressman Clay Higgins (R, LA), who was sitting-in for Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R, AL) as the acting ranking member, expressed strong objection to the “within 12-hours” direction of the Underwood legislation for treating migrants at the border, noting Americans, particularly veterans at VA facilities, do not have such protections. 

Congressman Higgins’ response to Underwood begins at 1:45:44 emphasizing VA facilities.

After Higgins’ discussion of his objections, and a procedural amendment-to-an-amendment on the electronic health records component and after Chairman Thompson weighs-in his support, 2 voice votes took place on the amendments, and a final voice vote to advance Underwood’s bill to the House. 

All candidates, take advantage of the resources, including here on McHenry County Blog to refine positions on all of the major issues as you refine your respective positions.

And speaking of immigration, the first 1 hour and 40 minutes of the committee video from July 17 was spent on debate for one of the Democrats’ main immigration bills–H.R. 2203. This bill, which Underwood supported in late September on passage, is the core legislation for improving conditions at the southern border.

The House Democrats rushed to pass H.R. 2203 prior to the August recess in late July, failed to do so due to differences among the Democrats. Those were resolved in September and the bill passed.

Links:

Tribune Reports DCFS Inspector General Recommends Carlos Acosta’s, Two Others’ Firing

Carlos Acosta

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Inspector General of the Department of Children and Family Services “Inspector General Meryl Paniak recommended in the report that the three workers be terminated.”

The best known is Case Worker Carlos Acosta.

The report “found DCFS employees ‘failed to see the totality’ of the family’s troubled history and missed chances ‘to slow down or stop the steady deterioration of the Freund family.'”

“It was because of the indifference and incompetence of the department’s child protection investigators and supervisor that the opportunity to alter this family’s disastrous course was missed,” the Trib reports.

The Tribune explains, there were “multitude of opportunities to intercede on the boy’s behalf.”

There were ten hotline calls about AJ.

Half were not investigated.

Besides Acosta, who was elected to the McHenry County Board as a Democrat in the 2018, his supervisor Andrew Polovin, both of whom have been on desk duty, a third case worker’s name surfaced in the Tribune article.

She is investigator Kathleen Gold.

She is now on desk duty.

The story outlines her role in AJ’s life.

IL-14: First Impressions of Newly Minted Republican Candidate Jerry Evans

Jerry Evans

Waking up this Monday morning on the 21st of October and seeing the announcement of a new 14th district Republican candidate was definitely not expected.

Unlike other recent candidate entries, you generally hear rumor, or hear about them announcing their decision at a Republican organization meeting.

Not Warrenville resident Jerry Evans, who announced his primary campaign bid to challenge Congresswoman Lauren Underwood.

Evans is the first DuPage County resident to enter the race, and McHenry County Blog has put him on the map:

Locations of Congressional Candidates’ Home Residences Approximate
Compiled by McHenry County Blog

Given Evans’ late entry into the campaign, he had the opportunity to adapt his campaign launch and message to what he had seen the other 7 candidates do. Here’s an outline of what we observed Evans doing and which campaign he likely adapted:

  • Highly professional introductory video
    • Ted Gradel “Underdog”
    • Catalina Lauf “Heartland”
  • Social Media presence on all platforms including Instagram
    • Catalina Lauf
  • Using WinRed to raise online donations
    • Catalina Lauf
  • Substantial & Relevant Content on the Issues
    • [Nobody]

While Evans’ video lacked star-power of Gradel’s “Underdog” of former Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz or Lauf’s complementary feature in the New York Post, we are impressed by the depth his video contained about the issues, and about Lauren Underwood’s stances on some issues.

In Gradel’s video, he did not speak once, Holtz did all the talking. While Lauf showed an Underwood quote from early August article, she did not show positions on issues. Evans briefly did.

Additionally, Evans’ press release included the following quote:

“As a businessman, I measure success based on tangible results and that’s why I am releasing a slate of detailed policy positions at the same time I announce my candidacy. While career politicians may think that vague political buzzwords are sufficient platforms to run on, I want everyone to know exactly where I stand from day one of this race.”

Jerry Evans
.

Definitely, he touches on the issues in the video. On his campaign website, Evans gives a good top-level introduction to what should be a well-researched policy/position statement paper, far beyond the abstract bromides of some of his competitors. Evans is applauded for providing more depth than the other Republican candidates on the issues in his campaign launch.

While Evans’ details are a start, it is not the finished product, and he needs to refine each of his issues, with specifics of where Underwood stands and has voted in her first 9 1/2 months in Congress.

Then voters can gauge if he is ready to stand-up to Underwood if he is the nominee, especially when she claims, as an example, she sponsored and supported significant immigration reform to address the crisis at the southern border.

Evans and all the other Republicans need to know what those bills are, what’s right and what’s wrong with them, and what they would do different.

Overall, it’s a good start, and most in-depth on the issues campaign launch seen to date in the 14th. Evans has room for improvement, and he’s expected to do that to quickly be seen as viable to Republican primary voters.

In case you missed it, here is Evans’ video introduction:

Source: Jerry Evans for Congress YouTube Channel

What IDOT Plans for McHenry County for the Next Five Years, Only Bridge Constuction on Route 47 over Kishwaukee River This Coming Year

A press release from the Illinois Department of Transportation:

Gov. Pritzker, IDOT Announce Rebuild Illinois Road and Bridge Projects

New Multi-Year Plan Lays Out $23.5 Billion in Maintenance, Preservation and Expansion Projects Across the State

Springfield, Ill. — Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation released the department’s annual Multi-Year Plan of road and bridge projects across the state, which is the first to capture the historic impact of the Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

Using rigorous and objective criteria, IDOT evaluated the condition, frequency of use, and crash and fatalities across the state’s transportation system in planning the historic improvements. Over the next six years, $23.5 billion will be invested in maintaining, preserving and expanding 4,212 miles of roadway and 9.2 million square feet of bridge deck statewide.

A full list of road and bridge projects coming across the state can be found here.

“All together, these road and bridge projects will create and support hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next five years for hardworking Illinoisans in every part of our state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois has some of the most important roads in America – let’s make them outlast and outperform those across the nation.”

“In my nearly 30 years at this agency, today might be the most important day in our history,” said Omer Osman, Acting Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation“This Multi-Year Plan gets us on the path to fixing our roads and bridges, putting policies into action that ensure our transportation system in Illinois is reliable, safe and provides economic opportunity for generations to come. It is the blueprint for how we Rebuild Illinois.”

This new Multi-Year Plan represents a shift in Illinois’ approach to its roadways and bridges. Previously, the state waited to rebuild until projects had deteriorated so much that they presented safety hazards; under guidance from the Federal Highway Administration, Illinois will now prioritize maintaining its system over time, which is also a more cost-effective way to manage long-term capital needs.

To achieve that, this plan dedicates more than 75% of the funds to reconstructing and preserving roadways and bridges, 16% to strategically expanding the system in areas where data have shown the investment will be highly effective and the remainder for necessary traffic and safety improvements.

Of the major categories of state investments in the plan,

  • $7.58 billion will go toward roadway reconstruction and preservation,
  • $4.99 billion for bridge replacements and repairs,
  • $1.59 billion for safety and system modernizations like interchange reconstructions,
  • $3.08 billion for strategic expansion of the system and
  • $2.11 billion for system support like engineering and land acquisition.

    The additional state investment in Rebuild Illinois has also allowed the department to maximize federal dollars, bringing in tens of millions annually that would have otherwise been left on the table each year.

    The FY20-25 Multi-Year Plan serves as a baseline plan in the Rebuild Illinois capital program. Updated plans, based on revenue and evaluation metrics, will be released each year and adjustments to projects will be made on an annual basis through the MYP.

Here is what the Illinois Department of Transportation’s most recent five-year plan proposes:

  • Route 31 – widening and re-furbishing of 6.3 miles from Ruute 176 to Route 120, $113.2 million starting in 2021. Only planning before then.
  • Widening Route 47 through Woodstock for 2 miles. Only land acquisition until 2021. $58.6 million project.
  • Route 47 intrsection reconstruction in Lakewood between the north and south junctions with Route 176. Only land acquistion and engineering until 2021. $44.5 million porject.
  • $8 million bridge replacement over Kishwaukee River. Most spent in the coming year.

In other roads used by McHenry County folks:

  • Widening Barrington Road from Route 62 to the current four-lane road north of the Tollway.

Ugaste Reports

From State Rep. Dan Ugaste:

Dan Ugaste

In this newsletter, I have included updates on issues happening across our state.  With the continuing legislative and fiscal challenges in Illinois, I want to keep you up to date on the most recent news facing the Illinois General Assembly.

NEW LEGISLATION

I recently filed a bill to repeal the automatic legislator pay hike.

In the 1980s, the General Assembly enacted a law to sweeten its pay with annual cost-of-living adjustments. 

Although many Illinois workers do not get annual COLA increases in their own pay, they are required to support these annual legislator pay hikes with their tax dollars.  To prevent that, I recently filed HB 3910, which would phase out and end General Assembly cost-of-living pay adjustments on or after July 1, 2020.  Enacting this bill would also reduce the future cost of General Assembly legislative pension benefits, which are tied to lawmakers’ pay.

JOBS

Illinois unemployment rate down. A net 4,800 new Illinois payroll jobs were created in September 2019.  The jobless rate fell from 4.0% in August to 3.9% in September, signaling so-called “full employment.”  These numbers are statewide numbers that do not take account of pockets of higher unemployment in specific regions within Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security report did not signal healthiness across all economic sectors within Illinois.  Job creation was concentrated in services.  There was a net loss of 1,000 manufacturing jobs within the month of September 2019, in parallel with a slowing industrial job economy throughout the Midwest.  New jobs were created in trade, transportation, utilities, professional services, and business services.  Many of the jobs in these sectors are created in good-paying places of employment, but with respect to Illinois these sectors tend to be concentrated in the greater Chicago metropolitan area.  Economic observers need to continue to monitor the status of job creation and job growth in Illinois’ Downstate communities.

TRANSPORTATION

Bill to abolish red light cameras filed in Illinois. The cameras, called “automated traffic law enforcement systems,” take pictures of vehicles and their license plates as they pass through intersections, school zones, and parks.  The cameras gather what are accepted by traffic courts as valid evidence that someone has committed a violation of traffic laws within a municipal jurisdiction.  After the license plate has been matched with the legal address of the principal driver of the vehicle, a violation notice is mailed to the address.  Violation notices mailed out in this way have resulted in payments of more than $1 billion from drivers in Illinois over the past 10 years.

Red Light Camera sign.

Red light cameras have many problems. 

The machines cannot tell who is actually driving the vehicle, and so the violator is deemed to be the person to whom the vehicle has been licensed.   Even more concerning, to many, is the commingling of public interest and private interest in law enforcement.  In a typical red-light-camera system, a private-sector contractor that collects a piece of the moneys received from alleged violators operates the system.  Current criminal investigations, within some local governments in Illinois, indicate some of the things that red-light-camera firms can do, and allegedly have done in some parts of Illinois, in order to get lucrative red-light-camera contracts with municipalities.

The legislation filed, HB 3909, would repeal red-light-camera enforcement in Illinois.  Nothing in HB 3909 would stand in the way of police officers observing traffic, making traffic stops, and issuing written citations based on their own personal witness.

BUDGET

General Assembly publishes FY20 Budget Summary. The document, from the General Assembly’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), serves as a preliminary fiscal annual report to Illinois’ appropriations and financial commitments in fiscal year 2020 (FY20), the spending period that began on July 1, 2019.  The report includes narrative summaries of fiscal challenges facing Illinois, including Medicaid and employee health care costs.  Bills the General Assembly enacted that will have a fiscal impact are summarized.  The volume concludes with a description of the State’s current debt status, including bonded debt and unfunded pension liabilities. 

ENERGY

Major Illinois coal mine to shut down. Millions of tons of coal have come out of the Arclar Complex in eastern Saline County, near Harrisburg, since production began in 1997.  The Peabody Energy mine and preparation plant employ about 225 men and women in southern Illinois.  However, owners announced this week that the Wildcat Hills Mine and the associated Arclar Complex are shutting down in mid-December.  Changes in the U.S. energy industry, particularly in the generation of electrical power, are leading to permanent shifts in demand for coal. 

Exceptionally productive, the Wildcat Hills miners had a thick vein of Pennsylvanian-strata coal to work with.  The miners dug 1.4 million tons of coal in 2018.  Near the mine and surface complex is Southeastern Illinois College, which offers retraining opportunities in nearly 80 certification and degree programs, and additional specialized training programs and opportunities, for persons who lives have been affected by this shutdown.

PENSIONS

Proposal could consolidate local police/fire pension funds. The 649 separate pension funds that underwrite the retirement benefits paid to police officers and firefighters throughout all of Illinois (other than Chicago) are the subject of a recent recommendation by the Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force. This panel has looked at all of these pension funds, which as a group have piled up unfunded liabilities of approximately $11.5 billion, and is recommending that all of them be consolidated into a single master statewide pension fund for these first-responder service officers.  Legislation to implement this consolidation will be presented to the General Assembly in the fall veto session, which will begin on October 28.

Proponents say that consolidating these pension funds will increase the professional money management of the funds involved, and will increase the scope of opportunities this sector will be able to target for investments.  Skeptics point out that the State has consolidated many of its pension systems already.  For example a single State fund and system, the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), handles all of the pension promises made to educators in the elementary and secondary sectors throughout Illinois (other than Chicago).  However, this consolidation did not lead to an improved fiscal outcome for Illinois teachers’ pension fund management and status.  At the end of fiscal year 2018, TRS had unfunded liabilities of $75.3 billion.  This unfunded-liability estimate was based on an assumption that the fund would be able to earn a future rate of return of 7.00% on its invested assets; based on current historically-low global interest rates, it may be necessary to make further cuts in this assumed future rate of return and accept an even higher figure in unfunded liabilities.  

VETERANS

Veterans to be offered opportunity to look at firefighter training. An event to be held at the State Fire Service Institute at Urbana-Champaign on Sunday, October 27, will present opportunities in firefighting to veterans of the United States armed services.  Men and women entering firefighting service in today’s Illinois are trained for a wide variety of first-response tasks, all of which welcome the skill sets of our veterans. 

This October 2019 event will repeat a presentation inaugurated by the Institute and offered to U.S. veterans in 2018.  The goal of the Fire Institute’s organizers is to bring experienced vets-to-firefighters service professionals into contact with potential trainees, so that questions can be asked and answered about firefighter training and careers.

As always, please reach out to my office should you have any questions about legislation or any other state concerns!