One of the goals I had when I created McHenry County Blog almost sixteen years ago was to allow candidates and public officials to speak directly to constituents and potential constituents.
When I first for office in 1966, newspapers would pretty much print any press release a candidate sent in.
The same was the case when I ran for State Rep. in 1972.
Now, a candidate is lucky to get an article he or she announces for office, one about the contest with maybe a sentence or two for each candidate and the answer to a questionnaire.
As readers know, I’m willing to publish any press release a candidate or public official submits.
Send me some opposition research on an opponent and I’ll reply asking whether the sender is willing to take responsibility for its content.
In any event, there is precious little coverage of local officials and state legislators.
Chicago Magazine has an article about the anonymous nature of current state legislators from the Chicago area.
Outside of the metropolitan area, legislators get television coverage.
They are a big deal.
Locally, not so much.
In fact, until a local legislator gets Chicago coverage he or she is pretty much unknown except at election time and, then, it is because of direct mail or radio ads, not local newspapers.
“Out of sight and out of mind” is pretty an accurate description offered in the article about most metropolitan legislators.
Chicago Magazine also cites an academic study about corruption and the distance of a state’s populstion center to the state capitol:
The study, “Isolated Capital Cities, Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from U.S. States,” found that “states with more isolated capitals are indeed found to display higher levels of corruption,” that “newspapers do tend to give state politics greater coverage when their audience is more concentrated around the capital” and that “individuals who are farther from the state capital are substantially less likely to be informed about state politics.”