State Rep. Turns a Good Phrase about Pritzker: Population Denier

From The Center Square:

Legislator calls Pritzker a ‘population denier’ after data show Chicago loses more

(The Center Square) – Annual Census estimates released Thursday show Illinois’ largest cities continuing to lose population. Gov. J.B. Pritzker again denied the federal data. 

When asked why he thinks the state’s major cities are losing population, Pritzker said the state gained population and the annual estimates calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau are wrong. 

“The post enumeration survey determined that Illinois got undercounted even though we try to count every single person, but sometimes people are homeless and don’t get counted or some people are just hidden and hard to get to and they didn’t get counted,” Pritzker said.

“So what did they determine from that?

“Illinois gained population. We have more than 13 million people in the state of Illinois.” [Emphjasis added.]

The Census page for Illinois shows the state’s population is 12.8 million, not “more than 13 million,” as Pritzker contents.

The 2020 post enumeration survey Pritzker mentioned did lead to the Census adding more people they missed in the original 2020 count. However, the Census reported Illinois lost 79,500, after approving the state’s request to include 46,400 Illinoisans. That still leaves a 2020 population loss of 33,100. 

“I think that it’s obvious we have been bleeding jobs, population and opportunity. I am shocked J.B. Pritzker is a population denier,” Miller told The Center Square. “How does he explain the fact that Illinois lost a Congressional seat? Does he think the federal government is lying to him?” 

Illinois lost a seat in the U.S. House after the last Census count in 2020. 

In a June 2021 news release, the governor’s office said Pritzker’s signing of new redistricting maps “also account for population changes in the state, particularly in the regions that saw the most population loss as recorded by U.S. Census’ American Community Survey.”

Comparsion of partisan makeup of 2012 and 2022 Illinois congressional maps.

Pritzker signed what he called “fair maps” based on data he now says is “wrong.” 

“It’s clear there’s something wrong with the ACS data. You should take what I am saying as truth, that actually when we count people … we’re gaining population,” Pritzker said Thursday. 

Following population drops of nearly 40,000 in 2021 and 31,000 in 2022, Chicago’s population declined 8,208 in 2023, according to newly released annual Census data. 

The U.S. Census Bureau in its “2023 City and Town Population Estimates” reports Chicago’s population loss of 8,208 was the nation’s third largest, behind New York and Philadelphia. 

Since the last Census in 2020, Chicago has lost nearly 3% of its population.

“Well then 2021 came and here comes another ACS [American Community Survey] survey and it showed another year of population loss reported by this survey that had been inaccurate for the 10 years earlier and that survey hasn’t changed,” said Pritzker. “We went to the Census Bureau and told them how inaccurate this clearly is and they believed us and they looked at the cities … and they upped the population numbers.”

Miller said one of the biggest drivers for people fleeing the state is over-taxation. 

“There’s a lot of easy answers to these problems, but the first thing you have to do is admit you have a problem. You have to admit your policies created this mess,” said Miller. 

The Illinois GOP said in a news release that Illinois has lost 263,780 residents since 2020 and noted Pritzker called the numbers “fake news,” casting doubt on President Joe Biden’s U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2016 two United Van Lines trucks were in Crystal Lake’s Main Beach parking lot.

“Illinois residents are fleeing the Prairie State as they run from Democrats socialistic policies, high taxes, a migrant crisis that continues to grow worse and high crime,” said ILGOP Chairman Don Tracy.

“Illinois leaders like Pritzker are putting their heads in the sand and refusing to see the effects of their agenda. As long as Democrats claim Illinois as a Democrat utopia, more residents will continue to flee.”

Union Moving into New Strike Territory for Political Reasons

A Friend of McHenry County Blog thinks he may have discovered the nose of a union camel edging under the edge of society’s tent.

UAW 4811 in California is now striking in support of students

The UAW’s decision is significant because labor usually only strikes for their own demands (job related like wages or insurance) but this is political.

These people are striking because of the police response to protesters or something like that.

Arguably this is really about Israel and Gaza though.

How likely is this to turn into a general strike?

Does anybody remember Paris in 1968?

Joseph of Ariamathea Thought To Be Great-Uncle of Jesus, Sailing with Him to Britain before His Role after the Crucifixion

Joseph of Arimathea via Wikepedia.

Joseph of Arimathea, the man who was allowed to retrieve the body of Jesus from the Cross was his Granduncle. (See BBC biography of Joseph of Arimathea.)

I found this fascinating.

Joseph of Arimathea was the brother of Anna, mother of Elizabeth, who bore John, the Baptist.

Anna was the maternal aunt of Mary, mother of Jesus

And Elizabeth was counsin to Mary, mother of Jesus.

That would make Joseph of Arimathea Jesus’ great-uncle.

Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus. From the YouTube below.

Noting that Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, does not appear after Jesus’ childhood, perhaps he died young, perhaps Joseph of Arimathea may have been his father figure.

Joseph of Arimathea was a shipping magnet, making his money in the metals trade.

More importantly, he was in charge of mining for the Roman Empire.

The international merchant seaman visited ports with his ships and some think Jesus may have accompanied him on some trips.

BBC puts it this way:

“One of the abiding legends of early English Christianity is that Joseph of Arimathea visited the West Country of England with the teenage Jesus.

“Both Somerset and Cornwall claim to have been visited by Joseph and Jesus.”

The 45-minute YouTube below explores the evidence:

Minister of Mining” was his title.

If Joseph of Arimathea were alive today, he would probably be a billionaire.

He provided the raw materials for the steel knives and swords that made the Roman army pretty much invicible.

Besides the possibility of Jesus’ having bonded with Joseph of Arimathea at sea, Jesus’ parents may have thought the relative was staying with was his granduncle when he was discovered not to have returned from the Passover celebration at age 12.

Joseph of Arimathea asked Pontius Pilate to allow him to take Jesus’ body off the cross after he died on the Friday before Passover.

As granduncle, he would fulfill the requirement that the oldest male guardian lay claim to the body, a kinsman redeemer.

However, Roman custom was to leave those crucified on their crosses until they were eaten by birds and/or rotted away. After that, the remains were disposed of, their identies erased forever.

So, why did Pontius Pilate allow Joseph of Arimathea to break Roman tradition?

Being rich and influential, Joseph of Arimathea had access to the ruler (much like access to elected leaders is obtained today).

There is also the possibility Joseph of Arimathea knew of Pilate’s involvement in a plot to kill Caesar, which could have been used as blackmail.

Afrer Jesus’s ressurection, Joseph of Arimathea met with him and became a believer. (My thought is that he may have been the only one who thought Jesus would arise from the dead, considering his not preparing his body in Jewish tradition prior to burial with hours after Jesus’s quick death.)

In any event, Joseph of Arimathea is crediting with starting the Christian movement in England.

IL-11/GA-06/TX-24: Congressional Republicans Behaving Badly — McCormick-Van Duyne Affair

From left Dr. Rich McCormick and Beth Van Duyne

“His [Congressman Rich McCormick] marriage has been over for quite some time as I understand it, he’s filed for divorce. I’m single. We’re both parents of adult children and empty nesters. We are happily engaged in a relationship…” — Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne confirming her relationship, May 17, 2024, Daily Mail

From the desk of John Lopez: For those not completely distracted by a New York state trial of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, in the past week, the extramarital affair of Congressman Rich McCormick (R, GA-06) and Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (R, TX-24) became completely public and was confirmed to have happened Friday by Congresswoman Van Duyne herself.

During the 11th Congressional District Republican primary, in an article published on McHenry County Blog back on January 30, a “Friend of the Blog” commenter impressed with failed candidate Susan Hathaway-Altman (R, unincorporated Geneva) compared her with another member of Congress from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R, GA-14).

Here’s the exchange in comments for reference, in the context of the 11th Congressional District Republican candidate’s forum hosted by McHenry County GoPAC on February 24, 2024:

“During the debate, I was very impressed with her [Susan Hathaway-Altman] experience, her travel, her modest upbringing, her faith, her commitment to American ideals, her career position, and most of all fortitude. She reminded me of a Midwest version of [Congresswoman] Marjorie Taylor Greene [(R, GA-14)].

“She is the perfect underdog candidate to stand up to Foster. She knows how to cut through his elitist Democratic spew. When she said she was the “clear leader on the stage” I believed her, and I believe she would pour her entire being into turning this nation around. I can tell you, being in sales myself (as she is), salesman can do amazing things, reaching deep into a knowledge few people have access to. I’ve changed my Primary vote to Susan Hathaway Altman. Thank you.

John Lopez response: Thank you for your insight…I’m not sure the reference to Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (MTG) is a good one, especially given how MTG’s marriage ended in 2022, and MTG was also kicked out of the House Freedom Caucus.”

Winner of McHenry GOPAC Candidates Forum was Congressman Bill Foster“, January 30, 2024


Beth Van Duyne

Recalling that exchange with the commenter in late January, the comparison to MTG was not the comparison I would have thought of with Hathaway-Altman. The member I first thought of was the woman on camera in the video in that article sitting behind Congressman Kevin Kiley (R, CA-03) during his floor speech — Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne.

Van Duyne, like Hathaway-Altman, was divorced for 12+ years. MTG’s 27-year marriage ended when her husband filed for divorce in September 2022 from her after MTG was unfaithful to him and became involved with an RSBN news executive. Coincidentally, MTG’s new man was also Texas-based (Dallas suburb of Plano) and he had to file for divorce from his wife in 2022. Both Georgia and Texas are community property states, so divorce decrees do not take the time to complete as they do in Illinois (MTG’s divorce was finalized in 3 months).

So another Georgia-Texas relationship has ended McCormick’s marriage.

Van Duyne had been divorced for 12 years and a woman divorced for that long was not likely going to remarry. Though Hathaway-Altman was never an elected official, Van Duyne was both a city councilmember (2, 3-year terms) and mayor (2 terms) of the Dallas suburb of Irving, and after serving in the Trump administration for two years as the regional administrator for Housing and Urban Development, an elevation to an open, and hotly contested TX-24 congressional seat in 2020 was a next logical career step.

I even remember commenter “D J”, who lives in the TX-24 telling us in comments back in 2020 Van Duyne is the “real deal”.

Van Duyne is in her 2nd term representing TX-24 and is cruising to reelection in November.

On May 3, 2024, Congressman McCormick quietly filed for divorce from his wife of 12 years, oncologist Dr. Debra Miller in Gwinett County, GA. The story became very public when on Mother’s Day, McCormick, from his congressional social media account, posted this Mother’s Day well wish without his wife in the picture:

Then during this week, this explosion of articles unleashed in multiple publications including Daily Mail:

By Thursday, the proverbial excrement had hit the fan for McCormick, as this exchange on social media is an example of how tainted McCormick is now:

Some are labeling Van Duyne now as a “homewrecker”. In my honest opinion, that’s too harsh and while Van Duyne is not absolved of responsibility, the man, McCormick, is mostly responsible for allowing his marriage to fall apart, or pursuing a relationship with another woman without first divorcing his wife.

McCormick first ran for Congress in 2020 in the old GA-07 for an open seat and after winning the primary without a primary runoff, lost to Carolyn Bourdeaux in November of 2020 in the Democratic-leaning 7th District.

After the Republicans in control of the legislature and governor’s mansion redrew the boundaries in 2022, a more Republican-friendly 6th Congressional District was open and McCormick defeated Trump-endorsed 20-something Republican Jake Evans, whom Trump backed because Evans’ father was a Trump donor and Trump’s ambassador to Luxembourg.

Throughout his runs for Congress, McCormick positioned himself as a Christian and with a wife and kids to back up his claim. McCormick’s Christian faith, combined with his service in both the Navy and Marines, plus his being a hospital emergency room surgeon, he emerged in 2020 as a real alpha male, battle tested Veteran and patriot.

I do remember McCormick sharing in multiple podcasts how he was praying for fellow Navy Veteran Mike Garcia (R, CA-27) four years ago while Garcia was pursuing an open congressional seat in a special election where Garcia won and flipped in May of 2020.

Hopefully, some of McCormick’s Christian man-friends who were likely seeing McCormick straying into a relationship he should not be talked with him privately, and reminded him of Biblical teachings, especially sexual sins including adultery.

McCormick’s reputation is by-the-boards by his own choices and actions, and while he’s running unopposed in the GA-06 congressional primary next month in the safe Republican seat, look for a primary challenge to him in 2026 unless he leaves Congress, first.

No one is beyond redemption, and it’s hoped both McCormick and Van Duyne will see the errors of their ways, in spite of the wordly argument both are consenting adults well into their 50s and they’re free to date. When one applies the Christian label to themselves, they must live by the Scriptures’ teachings in everything, including martial fidelity and overcome tempations of adultery or any other sins.

While no one is perfect, I really hope the best for them as lives must be rebuilt.


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Fees Charged Fox River Grove by Red Light Camera Vendor

The Illinois Policy Institute researched revenue from red light cameras in the Chicago metropolitan area and discovered Fox River Grove placed 10th.

Largest producers of fine revenue from red light cameras as found by the Illinois Policyh Institute.

I asked the Village for fine receipts and got the following:

Since the fines did not equal the figure provided by the Illinois Policy Institute, I next requested how much was paid trhe vendor.

Those figure follow:

LaHood on Biden Tariff Announcement

From Congressman Darin LaHood:

LaHood Statement on the Biden Administration’s Tariff Announcement

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-16), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, released the following statement after the Biden Administration published its Section 301 four-year review and announcement of new tariffs on China: 

“The Trump Administration’s approach to China was effective in bringing them to the table to achieve the Phase One agreement.

It’s long overdue that the Biden Administration complete this review, yet they remain far behind in outlining any substantive trade policy to strengthen our economic competitiveness and address China’s malign activity.

McHenry County soybean field.

At the same time, costs from tariffs will undoubtedly be passed down to American consumers and this puts U.S. agriculture squarely in the crosshairs of any retaliation, which Congress must be prepared to address.

As Congress conducts necessary work to strengthen our competitive posture towards China and protect our national security interests, the Biden Administration’s failure to advance any meaningful trade agenda, especially in the Indo-Pacific, threatens farmers, producers, workers, and our economy.”

Politically Homeless Texan Kinzinger Voting for Biden

My reaction when a Friend of McHenry County Blog sent me the story below was “No surprise.”

Kinzinger makes the news again

Headlines from today display Adam Kinzinger’s face. The article is about “prominent Republicans backing Biden” for the general election. It was published by The Hill.

But just a few months ago, Kinzinger claimed to be politically “homeless.”

Now Kinzinger says he would vote for Biden “in a heartbeat” because although he doesn’t agree with Biden on all policies (his voting record was similar to that of his Republican colleagues, not Democrats) at least Biden “does not hate democracy” – whatever that means.

Kinzinger, now a resident of Texas, may not be familiar with the new law that Illinois Democrats just passed. That bill could be characterized as undemocratic since it takes choice away from voters. Most districts will now only have one person on the ballot.  Kinzinger also overlooks the fact that Democrats tried removing Trump from the ballot and if it were not for the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump would have been off the ballot in several states including Illinois.

Or maybe Kinzinger is familiar with these undemocratic actions taken by Democrats but he directs most of his outrage about people “hating democracy” to Trump since he has built his reputation these past few years on being the Republican who hates Trump. Another Republican who has built his reputation these past few years on hating Trump is Joe Walsh. Let’s see what he’s up to.

Commentary on Low Voter Turnout

From former State Rep. Jim Nowlan, who ran as Governor Richard B. Ogilvie’s Lt. Governor and headed various state departments between being a political science professor:

Voters apparently turned out in record low numbers at the recent primary election in Illinois, with less than 1 in 5 of those registered to vote in Chicago doing so, according to unofficial tabulations. This is worrisome for a democracy that depends upon citizen participation as an investment in our system of governing.

March 19, 2024, turnout in McHenry County.

I contend the abysmal turnout this year resulted from the interplay of incumbency, gerrymandering, lack of choices, political polarization, aversion to candidacy, big money and the segregation of society into geographic areas dominated by one party.

According to the nonprofit States Democracy Center, turnout in Illinois primaries since 2000 has typically been in the range of 25-30% of registered voters (which obviously doesn’t reflect the many who don’t even register). When there were hot presidential primary races, as in 2008 (Obama-Clinton) and 2016 (Trump and others), turnout in Illinois reached more than 40%. This year the presidential nominations were already sewn up by our primary, and there were no statewide candidates on the ballot.

Nor were there many meaningful contests further on down the ballot.

In my downstate home county of Stark, there was only one contest on the lengthy GOP primary ballot, and none on the Democratic side, other than for the presidential nominations. For the upcoming general election, there will (as of now) be no contests on the ballot other than for the presidency. I am told this is not unusual downstate.

If a prospective candidate feels they has little or no chance of winning, why go to the trouble of running? This is where the interplay of the forces noted above occurs, as follows:

Most sitting members of the state legislature are running for reelection (112 of 118 House members, and 20 of 22 senators). These incumbents benefit from some name recognition, and their legislative leaders spend to protect them from challenges. Further, many of the districts were gerrymandered in 2020 to suit these incumbents.

Gerrymandering benefits the party drawing the lines, and its candidates; each party practices it where dominant, and allowed to do so, as in Illinois. In the primary, the respective polar wings of the two parties tend to be dominant, so moderates need not apply. Add to this the benefit of incumbency, and thus there are often no contests in the primary.

Further, in many downstate counties it is hard to recruit candidates for county board and other local government positions. Often, lines on the ballot go begging, to be filled by appointment later. Lack of competition could mean that voters are satisfied with the state of affairs. But with strong majorities consistently saying that both the nation and Illinois are on the wrong track, I don’t think so.

Yet, if no meaningful choices are to be made, then the rational voter stays home.

What to do? Several things. Obviously, eliminate gerrymandering, which would result in districts that are more competitive in both primary and general elections. Second, public financing of campaigns might encourage those without big money from party leaders or wealthy self-funders to enter races. Experience elsewhere shows that public financing increases small donations and boosts individual participation in the election process.

Third, reduce the number of local governments, of which Illinois has more than any state in the nation. My home county encompasses all or parts of 40 taxing districts. At a population of just 5,000, that is about one elected official for every 25 citizens.

Finally, ranked choice voting should be evaluated for possible adoption. This procedure allows voters to rank the candidates, rather than vote for just one. If no candidate wins a majority initially, votes cast for other candidates come into play. This also tends to moderate the campaigns of candidates, as they may feel a need to appeal to voters who might not rank them first.

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In 2028, Illinois voters will be asked if they want a new state constitutional convention. If they do, election options that stimulate healthy participation can be assessed.

Elections are about choices. Illinois needs a political system that encourages, rather than discourages, choices on the ballot. Then, voters might feel their democracy is worth a greater effort to go to the polls.

Jim Nowlan is a former state government executive and professor. His latest book is “Politics—The Starter Kit: How to Succeed in Politics and Government.”

Reick Reports on Budget

From State Rep. Steve Reick:

A Warning on the State’s Overspending

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability is a bipartisan legislative commission intended to give nonpartisan analysis on the State of Illinois’ economic outlook, spending and revenue.

CGFA recently released a report that confirms what I have been warning about for years and that most Illinoisans know – Illinois government has a spending problem. 

In its report, CGFA lays out certain opportunities for growth and potential challenges Illinois will face over the coming few years.

Included in the list of challenges was a potentially slowing economy, employment numbers that lag the rest of the Midwest, outmigration, and the history of Illinois’ spending.

The report lays out three possible future spending scenarios, showing that the current spending trajectory is unsustainable.

After years of spending growth and bailouts from the federal government, we must get our spending in check, or our financial picture is going to get worse.

In the third scenario offered by CGFA, (which is the worst case and probably the most likely), if Illinois continues to grow state spending at the same pace as it has for the last 20 years, the annual deficit will reach over $6.5 billion by fiscal year 2027. This is wildly unsustainable. 

The full report is here

Reick Reports

From State Rep. Steve Reick:

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen

For those of you who subscribe to this newsletter and wonder where I’ve been, I wish to apologize for not having written to you since late February.

I know it’s not a good excuse, but my other job is preparing income tax returns, and I became buried in paperwork during March and April.

With filing season at an end, let’s look toward the end of session.

This Week’s Hot Topic: It’s the Beginning of the End 

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen – we’re beginning the wild ride toward the end of the legislative session.

By now, we’re all used to the drill:

  • the mad rush at the end of May,
  • the cobbled-together, out-of-balance budgets, and
  • the midnight surprises.

But this year has a different feel to it.

A lot of it has to do with this being an election year, where the Speaker puts a lid on any bills coming out of the majority caucus which might be so embarrassing as to end up on a campaign mailer, such as a bill (H.B. 4876) from a DuPage County representative that defines “abused child” as a child whose parent, immediate family member, or any person responsible for the child’s welfare denies the child access to, among other things, gender-affirming care.

In other words, if you deny puberty blockers to your minor child, you might be visited by DCFS.

I spoke yesterday with a member from the other side of the aisle who told me that when the Democrats meet for caucus these days, it’s usually for the purpose of telling their more radical members (which becomes a bigger number after every election) why they can’t have all the shiny things they’ve been asking for in their bills.

This is from a member who is way out on the left end of the political spectrum but is being treated in her own caucus like she’s a Republican.

That’s not to say that we haven’t seen legislation that is nothing short of a naked exercise of raw political power.

Let me tell you the story of Senate Bill 2412.

It started life as a “shell bill” that allows for rapid amendment and transfer to the other chamber. S.B. 2412 passed out of the Senate a year ago and went straight to the House Executive Committee, where it sat until May 1st of this year.

On that date it was amended and sent to the House floor for an immediate vote.

It passed the House without a single Republican vote and was sent to the Senate the next day for concurrence.

It passed the Senate on May 2nd and was signed into law by the Governor on the 3rd.

All of this happened within 36 hours.

You might wonder “What was so urgent about this bill that it had to move so rapidly through both houses and to the Governor’s desk?

“Is there another pandemic?

“Have we declared war on Iowa?”

No, this bill does away with the “slating” option, which allows candidates to pass petitions and be added to the ballot after the primary election if no one from a major party ran in the primary.

It applies only to races in the General Assembly.

So why are they doing this?

They did it to avoid challenges and to give voters fewer options. 

This was a favored tactic of former Speaker Mike Madigan.

Without the slating process, all candidates for the House and Senate would have to make their intentions to run for office clear a year before the General Election.

This is a free pass for incumbents, because if no one runs in the primary, they’re free to vote in Springfield however they want without being held accountable.

With slating, if they vote out of step with their district, a challenger can take them on after they see the bad votes they have taken.

They can be held accountable. 

It’s not that the bill only applies to future elections, it prohibits slating of candidates for this election, meaning they’re changing the rules in the middle of the game. [Emphasis added.]

It was passed primarily to help one incumbent in the Metro East area and has been dubbed the “Katie Stewart Incumbent Protection Act.”

Unfortunately for Katie, a Republican filed his petitions mere minutes before the Governor signed the bill into law.

Several other Republican candidates filed shortly after the bill was signed and weren’t so lucky.

Litigation is forthcoming.

McConchie Opposes Pritzker Illinois Commerce Commission Appointments

From State Senator Dan McConchie, published first in the Chicago Tribune on April 16t, 2024:

Illinois Senate should reject Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s ICC appointments

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker makes hundreds of appointments to positions of authority throughout state government. Some of these positions are innocuous, while others make decisions that can and sometimes do have life-or-death consequences.

This reality was on display last month when the members of the state’s Prisoner Review Board, appointed by Pritzker, released Crosetti Brand from prison. This was the second time in just a few months Brand was in prison. This time he was released despite the fact that he had made threats to kill his former girlfriend, Laterria Smith. Less than 24 hours after his release, Brand was back in custody, Smith was in the hospital with multiple stab wounds, and her 11-year-old son, Jayden Perkins, was dead.

While investigations continue into how the Prisoner Review Board could possibly make such a reckless decision to release Brand, there is another potentially avoidable tragedy brewing at the hands of a different Pritzker-appointed agency, the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Among the ICC’s various duties is the responsibility to regulate utility providers in Illinois, including the provision of electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, water and sewer services to customers across the state. Yet, the ICC is failing its residents in multiple ways. One area of grave concern in Chicago has to do with ensuring the safe distribution of natural gas across the city.

Peoples Gas maintains nearly 4,520 miles of gas pipelines in Chicago. In this massive network, 1,340 miles, or nearly one-third of it, are aging cast and ductile iron pipes. A 2020 engineering study of the system performed by Kiefner & Associates found that 83% of this cast iron pipe network had an average remaining life span of less than 15 years — and that was four years ago.

As the Chicago Tribune reported in December 2020, the Peoples Gas’ Safety Modernization Program was started in response to calls from the Obama administration for a modernization of aging pipeline systems following the 2010 explosion in San Bruno, California, that killed eight people, injured 58 and destroyed 38 homes. The goal was clearly to avoid further tragedies in other locales, including right here.

With a clear urgency to replace these aging pipes, Peoples Gas had been diligently working to upgrade the system until November 2023, when the ICC ordered Peoples Gas to halt these ongoing pipe replacement projects so they could study the program. Despite the ICC’s written acknowledgment of the urgent need to replace the remaining pipes, commissioners gave themselves a year to render a decision on how Peoples Gas should proceed. In the meantime, everyone waits.

What started as a laudable program for the purposes of public safety and tragedy-avoidance has been carelessly disregarded by this new slate of commissioners recently appointed by Gov. Pritzker.

This reckless decision has been followed by other questionable decisions. Shortly after halting the replacement of deteriorating gas pipes with a questionable life span, Pritzker’s ICC rejected the statutorily required electrical grid upgrade plans put forth by both the state’s major electrical utilities, Ameren and Commonwealth Edison. This action further delays critical infrastructure investment in Illinois’ electrical grid, which is needed to help ensure reliable energy service to people across the state.

As the Pritzker administration continues to aggressively push electrification plans forward for automobiles and household appliances, the need for a reliable and robust electrical supply becomes even more important. But both Ameren and ComEd are essentially being blocked from performing the necessary upgrades to ensure the system keeps working well.

While some appointments made by the governor to state agencies do not have outside input, many require confirmation by the Illinois Senate, including the ICC. Since the confirmation process takes time, most appointees awaiting confirmation can begin serving immediately upon appointment.

The five-member ICC currently consists of three unconfirmed appointees who have been acting in their roles for nearly a year. This includes acting Chairman Doug Scott, under whose leadership the commission has begun acting with an apparent disregard for public safety and risking the future reliability of utility services.

As pending ICC appointees near the deadline for confirmation, members of the Illinois Senate must consider the potential impact of this commission’s actions to date — including decisions that pose real public safety risks. Fortunately, senators have a record of recent decisions by these board members to help inform their deliberations.

The members of the Senate, as well as the general public, deserve to know why Pritzker’s hand-picked ICC is making questionable decisions that increase public risk rather than prioritizing safety and reliability. We can’t expect our state to grow when we have outdated and potentially dangerous utility infrastructure.

We’ve already seen the devastating consequences of Pritzker’s dangerous appointments to the Prisoner Review Board. It’s not too late for the Senate to prevent a new tragedy, this time at the hands of the Illinois Commerce Commission. These board members should commit to a new path, or the Senate should reject them.

IL-11: Bill Foster Votes for Illegal Aliens Again

Congressman Bill Foster

From the Jerry Evans for Congress Campaign press release:

Bill Foster Votes Against Law Enforcement

WARRENVILLE, IL – Wednesday afternoon, the US House voted on H.R. 7343 the Detain and Deport Illegal Aliens Who Assault Cops Act. Congressman Bill Foster voted nay.

“Bill Foster is showing that he is against safety and law enforcement. On Wednesday he voted against the Detain and Deport Illegal Aliens Who Assault Cops Act. In Congress, I will fight for safe communities and support our law enforcement and their safety. Once again, Bill Foster is siding with the Far-Left progressives and against the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. We need strong leaders who will support law enforcement, the rule of law, and make our communities safer,” said Evans.

From California Target Book

The 11th Congressional District of Illinois is made up of McHenry and Kane Counties, parts of Boone, Lake, DeKalb, Dupage, Cook, and Will Counties. The district is currently represented by Democrat Bill Foster. Foster has represented Illinois’ 11th District since 2013.

Jerry Evans

Jerry Evans is a Christian, husband, father, and political outsider. As a small-business owner, Jerry knows what it means to sign the front of a paycheck, not just the back. As an educator of 20 years, he understands what it means to serve our community and invest in the next generation. Jerry first moved to the Chicago area to attend Wheaton College. After graduating, Jerry founded a school of music in the Chicago suburbs. In addition to serving in his local church, Jerry has spent considerable time mentoring young adults, training missionaries, and has made multiple mission trips to India, Mexico, and South Africa. Today, Jerry lives in Warrenville with his wife, Lisa, and sons, Michael & Levi, and daughter Eliza.

Legislation Addresses Union Information for High School Students

From The Center Square:

Opponents call measure ‘union propaganda’ that could be taught in Illinois schools

(The Center Square) – A measure seeking to allow high schools around Illinois to observe an annual “Workplace Readiness Week” is ready to be sent Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk. 

House Bill 4417 passed the state Senate along party lines. Opponents say it will provide a platform for union propaganda without allowing the same privilege for any other viewpoints. They say it does nothing to give students the skills they need to make them ready for the workplace.

State Sen. Craig Wilcox, R-McHenry, said high schools who decide to implement a Workplace Readiness Week will be indoctrinating students. 

Craign Wilcox speaking. Photo credit: The Center Square.

“The week should focus on the objective of educating about workplace rights and opportunities rather than becoming a platform for specific ideological or political viewpoints,” said Wilcox. 

State Sen. Michael Halpin, D-Rock Island, said the bill was labor-supported. 

“This bill just sets a minimum requirement for the curriculum. Any school [that opts in to include a Workplace Readiness Week] can add on any other information they want to add when it comes to workforce training or business development,” said Halpin. “I encourage Senators that have a school district interested in teaching this information to work with them to develop that additional curriculum.” 

Haplin, according to Reform for Illinois, had about $124,000 cash on hand as of March 2024. His top campaign contributors include multiple unions, including Illinois Laborers Legislative Committee, which donated over $220,000 to his campaign; North Ctrl IL Laborers Dist Council PAC, which donated over $220,000 to his campaign; Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE, which donated $170,000; and AFSCME IL Council 31 PAC, which donated over $150,000. 

House Democrats amended the measure to leave it up to Illinois high schools if they want to include a “Workplace Readiness Week” as part of their curriculum. However, the bill now says if schools opt-in they have to include a certain curriculum. 

Halpin said it will require schools to initiate curriculum that discusses state and federal labor laws, apprenticeship programs and opportunities in the labor workforce. 

“It’s not a mandate unless the school recognizes this week officially,” said Halpin. 

State Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, voted “no” on the bill. 

Dan McConchie speaking. Photo credit: The Center Square.

“While it is optional … where a school can decide whether or not to cover it, if a school chooses to cover it, it actually limits the breadth of the speech that can be presented as a part of this,” said McConchie. 

The bill passed both the House and Senate and can now be sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for further action. 

Keicher Bill on Roadside Trash Passes

From State Rep. Jeff Keicher:

Roadside Trash Problem Headed for the Dump as Keicher, Harriss Bill Heads to Gov’s Desk

SPRINGFIELD – The sight of trash blowing off waste-hauling trucks headed to landfills has become an all-too-common sight. Besides the unsightly nature of blowing trash, it has raised safety and environmental concerns for many communities, as well as caused damage to farmers’ operations and their fields. 

State Representative Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) and State Senator Erica Harriss (R-Glen Carbon) have joined forces and worked with local leaders in their respective districts to develop legislation to curb the problem.

Today, House Bill 4848 sailed through the Illinois State Senate unanimously, having previously advanced unanimously through the Illinois House, and is now ready for the Governor’s signature into law.  

Keicher stressed the frustration he and community members have had with this issue, “For years, I’ve been frustrated with the trash that’s been windblown from waste haulers going from transfer stations to landfills through our communities.

Besides the litter problem, trash blowing off waste trucks is a safety hazard, and it is damaging local farmers’ fields and equipment.

“House Bill 4848 will help us curb the problem by strengthening the current requirement for how waste hauling trucks must cover their loads, as well as holding the companies accountable through an updated violation and fine process.”

Current law places nominal fines on the truck driver for not having their load properly secured and debris flying off. Through Keicher and Harriss’ legislation, the truck driver is now liable for a $150 fine per violation and it adds fines of $150 per violation for the trucking company that owns the trailer, and it also creates a process for the fines collected to be distributed to local governments to pay for clean-up when necessary.

“Trash flying out the back of a truck not only creates a serious safety concern for those traveling up and down our roads, but it also creates an environmental concern,” said Senator Harriss.

“My hope is through this legislation, we can cleanup our roadways by eliminating potential hazards and holding bad actors accountable for not following the law. This bill is another step in the right direction to cleaning up roads in Madison County and across our state.” 

Now that HB 4848 has unanimously passed both houses of the General Assembly, Keicher and Harriss look forward to it being signed into law by the Governor.

Rep. Keicher serves the 70th District, which includes portions of DeKalb, Kane, and McHenry Counties. For more information about HB 4848 or Rep. Keicher, visit

Senator Harriss serves the 56th District, which includes portions of Madison and St. Clair counties. For more information or to contact Sen. Harriss’ office, visit

SEIU Pizzagate, Opt-Out Link

From the Illinois Policy Institute:

SEIU HCII spends money in other questionable ways

SEIU HCII spent over $1.1 million on airlines, car rentals, other transportation, hotels, catering and restaurants in 2023.

Just under $311,000 of that spending was itemized for purposes such as “conference travel” or “special event.”

And even then, there is no concrete indication what the “special events” were.

The remaining – more than $800,000 – was for generic purposes such as “airlines” or “lodging” – or for no specified purpose at all.

Union members can only guess how or why the union spent more than three-quarters of that money.

Connie’s Deep Dish Pizza.

Examples of the unspecified spending include the following:

  • Nearly $290,000 on restaurants and catering, including over $30,000 to “Connie’s Pizza”
  • Nearly $214,000 on hotels
  • Over $147,000 to airlines

SEIU HCII members unhappy with the union can opt out of membership and stop paying dues

State and local government workers may not agree with the union’s spending practices, or they may feel the union doesn’t represent them well. Whatever the reason, they don’t have to be union members to keep their jobs.

As former SEIU HCII member Karena Cozad put it, “There’s no benefit to [being in the union.] As far as I’m concerned, union [leaders] seem to be out for themselves.”

By opting out of union membership, workers can stop paying dues to the union yet retain all benefits that are provided in the collective bargaining agreement with their government employer. That includes personal assistants and child care providers who are paid by the state.

For more information on how to opt out, visit

Zahorik Moves from County and State to National Level Using Affirmative Action

From a Friend of McHenry County Blog:

McHenry County’s own Kristina Zahorik Elected to the Democratic National Committee

Illinois has seven “base” DNC members. The Illinois Democratic Party state chair Lisa Hernandez pushed for state legislative leaders Don Harmon and Chris Welch to each automatically get a seat.

The State Central Committee voted by acclamation to allow Hernandez’s request.

Five more would have to be elected and this is the story of how Kristina Zahorik was “elected.”

Kristina Zahorik at AFSCME rally in 2015.

The five others who nabbed those positions were Robin Kelly (2nd district congresswoman and 2nd district State Central Committeewoman), John Cullerton (former legislative leader and 5th district State Central Committeeman), Dan Hynes (former comptroller), Delia Ramirez (3rd district congresswoman and 3rd district State Central Committeewoman), and Kristina Zahorik (11th district State Central Committeewoman).

Kelly is probably happy about getting the most votes – not just because that itself is impressive but also because JB Pritzker forced her out as chair of the Illinois Democratic Party two years ago when he pressured the SCC to dump her and choose Lisa Hernandez. The implication of not voting Pritzker’s way is that you don’t get money, and maybe Pritzker bankrolls someone to run against you. (Pritzker claimed the state party was doing a bad job at raising funds under Kelly’s leadership – a claim he did not prove.) 

Kelly won a tight race for chair of the Illinois Democratic Party two years prior to that in 2020 against JB Pritzker’s preferred candidate Michelle Harris, but Pritzker got his revenge and forced her out in 2022. Kelly had supported Daniel Biss for governor back in the 2018 Democratic primary which JB Pritzker ended up winning. 

In other words, there’s a history of Kelly and Pritzker feuding. It must be validating then for Kelly to not just win a DNC seat but also to finish first place.

Kristina Zahorik and Robin Kelly.

Whereas Kelly finished first, Zahorik finished in sixth place. Remember that five people were elected in addition to Harmon and Welch. So how did Zahorik get into the top five if she finished in sixth? 

The answer is she was a beneficiary of affirmative action.

More on that in a minute, but first a little background on Zahorik.

Zahorik is the former chair of the McHenry County Democratic Party. According to records from the Illinois State Board of Elections, she resigned on January 10, 2024. The committee ID is 1018. Her resignation didn’t get much attention from the media. 

During Zahorik’s tenure, the Democratic Party became a serious force in McHenry County politics – although it’s debatable how much of that was due to her as opposed to changing demographics and a general backlash against Trump from suburban women.

Patrick Murfin in 2011.

Regardless, I would say Zahorik was a more competent leader for the McHenry County Democrats than her predecessor Michael Bissett (husband of former county board member Paula Yensen).

She was far more effective than Patrick Murfin.

At one point, I remember Democrats having only one seat on the county board.

Then within a few years, 1/3 of the members were Democrats! (That number has gone down slightly in the past few years, but Democrats still have a much stronger voice on the county board than they did a decade ago.)

In addition to being chair of the McHenry County Democratic Party, Zahorik was also the chair of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association.

She resigned on January 5, 2024 according to records from the Illinois State Board of Elections. The committee ID is 393.

This too did not receive much attention from the media.

I do not know why she resigned or why this did not gain attention.

Zahorik’s predecessor on the IDCCA was Doug House, and when he resigned it made headlines.

House, like Zahorik, also resigned from his position as chair of his own county (Rock Island).

He cited family reasons. With Zahorik, it’s unclear why she resigned from her posts as chair of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association and McHenry County Democratic Party.

Maybe someone else knows and can share.

Zahorik has also been a delegate for Hillary Clinton and an alternate delegate for Joe Biden.

Before moving to McHenry County she worked for U.S. Senator Paul Simon and, after moving to Oakwood Hills, was elected a Trustee for several terms.

Her resume, as far as Democratic politics is concerned, is undeniably impressive.

13th congressional district.

However, she finished behind Bill “the hooligan” Houlihan who would have been the only downstater selected to be on the DNC.

Houlihan has worked as the State Director for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and is currently the State Central Committeeman in the 13th district (the worm shaped district that runs from the St. Louis metro area to Champaign).

But it was not to be for Houlihan, for he was born a male.

The party decided they wanted at least 3 of the 7 DNC members to be female. This was to ensure “gender balance.” 

Kelly and Ramirez were on, but the ladies were one seat short and the guys already had four seats (Harmon, Welch, Cullerton, and Hynes).

The final spot on the DNC would have to be another female which meant skipping over all male candidates and then finding the female with the next highest number of votes.

They didn’t have to go far down the list because Zahorik finished right behind Houlihan.

Top votes for Democratic National Committee seats.

Although Houlihan received more votes than Zahorik, Houlihan would be rejected and Zahorik would get the final seat.

That’s how affirmative action works.

Reporter Brenden Moore has a breakdown of the votes, which can be seen above.