During the 1970′s State Rep. Harold Washington managed to form a coalition with suburban Republicans like myself over the issue of how Chicago Park District money was spent.
He discovered that more was spent in white than in black areas and introduced legislation to equalize such expenditures.
He got the bill passed the House, but I don’t remember its outcome in the Senate. Probably it failed at least the first time, because I think I remember two House debates.
Now, suburban Republican state senators like Dan Duffy and Matt Murphy have formed a coalition with the Rev. and State Senator James Meeks on the issue of school vouchers.
It is a crime that with all the money taxpayers pour into Chicago schools that so few kids get educated.
After trying his best to raise the state income tax, Meeks decided that taking part of the State Aid to Education and giving it to parents in poorly performing schools might do the job.
The result was a joint effort that succeeded in the Senate, but got shot down in the Illinois House, thanks, in part, to McHenry County State Rep. Jack Franks. (That won’t lose him many votes here, but it will continue his relationship with the state’s teacher unions, who consistently support his candidacy.)
Too bad for poor minority kids in Chicago.
But, the suburban Republican-Chicago Black relationship has been forged at least in the State Senate.
Evidence of that is the YouTube you see here. It features State Senator Dan Duffy, who represents the central eastern part of McHenry County, speaking at the Rev. Meeks’ Chicago church.
Here is how Duffy explains what happened:
There has been a lot of negative talk about Springfield and the extreme partisan politics that is common in Illinois.
However there is also a behind the scenes story of a strong, bi-partisan relationship that is developing between some Republicans and Democrats.
Some Republicans visited Rev. Meeks church early last month in and effort to support his school voucher / opportunity scholarships bill.
Rev. Meeks also discussed red light cameras at the service. Even though the bills discussed have not passed yet…momentum is growing and support is building on both sides of the aisle. This is just the beginning of the debate for these issues.