As one not ashamed or apologetic about my life-long ties to the Republican Party, and as a proud conservative, I was delighted that Senate candidate Patrick Hughes recently took the time to grant me a private interview.

Patrick Hughes is one of several Republican candidates running for the Burris’ senate seat formerly held by Barack Obama.  Hughes is a family man who lives in Hinsdale with his wife and three young children.  He earned a BA from Marguette University and a law degree from De Paul University College of Law.

Before continuing on with a summation of my Hughes’ interview, I would like to bring to the public’s attention a happening that could affect the candidacy of Patrick Hughes and other Republican candidates.  State GOP Chair Pat Brady recently issued a dire warning to Republican candidates running in contested February 2010 primaries that the State Party would “clamp down” on any campaign commercials that “cross the line.”  Brady also cautioned  candidates to “stay on fiscal issues”

Shouldn’t rank and file Republican make the decisions as to whether candidates go overboard in their ads?  Negative ads, after all, are in the eyes of the beholder.  It should not be the business of Chairman Pat Brady or the Republican State Central Committee to arbitrate primary ad content.  As such the Brady mandates are suspect and reek of protectionism as he has openly endorsed Mark Kirk for senate.

If Republicans candidates in the February 2010 primaries are not allowed to duke it out, they won’t be ready for the November General Elections when they will have to face big money and people who know how to play hardball.  And this includes Mark Kirk, who espouses views that many Republican do and would find unacceptable and even radical.  For Democrats live for big government and will do whatever is necessary to keep the Burris senate seat and state and federal positions in Democrat hands.

With the above in mind, Patrick Hughes told of growing up on the northwest side of Chicago.  He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth and times were not always rosy financially.  Hughes told of a remark made by his father which has guided him throughout his life:  “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.”

Having found success in his life as a corporate lawyer, to a real estate developer, to a builder of homes, upon reaching 40 earlier in the year Hughes decided it was time to get involved in something better than self.  Hughes’ first foray into politics was as chairman of STOP-IT, a taxpayer advocacy group that played a major role in stopping the Quinn income tax increase — a $2.2 billion tax increase for Illinoisans.

After 10th District congressman Mark Kirk announced his senate candidacy several months ago, Hughes felt that the race needed a Reagan conservative to go up against Kirk.  Being a Reagan conservative, Hughes was assured by others that there was a place for him in the race.

As a Reagan conservative Hughes believes in limited government, that taxes are too high, that the stimulus was wrong from the beginning, he opposes Obamacare and feels that Cap and Trade would devastate the IL economy, supports drilling for oil, believes in the Constitution, is against legislating from the bench, supported the surge in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, and is for traditional family values (pro-life, pro-Second amendment, and for marriage between a man and a woman).

Hughes related two decisions made by Congressman Kirk which remain of concern to him:

  1. Kirk’s “yes” vote on cap and trade as one of only eight House Republicans to do so,which, if passed, would amount to the largest tax increase ever in history. With this vote Hughes questioned Kirk’s credentials as a fiscal conservative, especially as his 10th District was not in favor of cap and trade.
  2. Kirk’s opposition to the Iraq war surge.  Hughes questioned whether Kirk can be trusted on national security decisions.  The tide was running against the war at the time.  As such Kirk, thinking ahead to his re-election race, wanted to be on the winning side.

Patrick Hughes understands the economic responsibilities that come with the office he seeks.  He believes that when government grows our freedoms contract and we lose those things that make us who we are — the American spirit.  If elected Hughes would be beholden to his family, to the people of Illinois, and to God.

What is Hughes path to victory in the next 75 to 85 days before the Feb. 2010 primary elections?  He plans to build a grass roots network by traveling throughout the state of Illinois.  It was surprising for me to learn that Mark Kirk is not well known south of I-80.

Hughes is confident that he will have a base, win or lose, energized and ready to go on primary election day.

About Brady’s proposed mandates, I was pleased to hear that Patrick Hughes will not be intimidated or silenced by Brady.  Patrick Hughes feels that there is not all that much difference between Kirk and the senate candidates running on the Democratic side.  As such Hughes plans to point out the differences between Kirk and himself without going negative, for Patrick Hughes respects Mark Kirk as a patriot and as a person.   Some of these differences include Kirk’s anti-gun stance (Second Amendment), and his radical pro-choice and gay rights positions.

LET THERE BE TRANSPARENCY AND OPENNESS, CHAIRMAN PAT BRADY!  Republicans of all stripes have the right to know what candidates stand for in selecting the ones best equipped to face Democrat Primary challengers in February of 2010.

If history is any guide, Illinois will continue to be the bluest of states after the November 2010 General Elections should Chairman Brady and the State Central Committee members be successful in foisting upon Republicans left-of-center candidates like Judy Barr Topinka and others who have direct ties with the State Republican Party.

I would urge all Republican campaign managers to stand their ground, remembering that the State Republican Party belongs to ALL Republicans.  Enlightened citizens WILL make better choices than entrenched politicians who are seeking power and control.

Hughes aces Champion News guest radio appearance

After calling Republican senate candidate Patrick Hughes “the real deal” on a prior posting at Champion News, my conviction was only strengthened after hearing Hughes as the featured guest on Champion News Talk Radio, AM 560 WIND, on Sunday, November 15.

Patrick Hughes exhibited a good grip on the issues of the day and was able to articulate them well.  As one involved in real estate and home building, Hughes has experienced personally the effects of excessive taxes and regulations in his business ventures.  With unemployment the highest since 1983 at 10.2%, Hughes views the announcement by President Obama of a job summit to get people back to work as unproductive.  Instead, the right approach is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent with tax breaks for businesses at both the state and national level.  Summits don’t create jobs, nor does government.

Regarding statements made about his main challenger, Mark Kirk, Hughes was careful to voice his respect for Kirk as a veteran.  Hugues did have the following to say about Mark Kirk:  That Kirk is first and foremost a politician.  That Kirk has lost touch with the people here in Illinois and as such is beholden more to special interest groups and Washington, D.C. insiders.  As to being a fiscal conservative, Hughes suggested that Mark Kirk’s “yes” vote, as one of only eight House members to vote for the largest tax increase in American, negates Kirk’s fiscal conservative claim.

It is interesting that at a recent event featuring all seven of the Republican candidates running for Mark Kirk’s 10th District congressional seat, there was unison agreement about Cap and Trade.  None would have voted for it.  Might they know something about the sentiments of 10th District constituents over Cap and Trade than were understood by Kirk in his almost 10 years in office?  Kirk “yes” vote has definitely upset the Republican base.

On issues of national security, Patrick Hughes passed the test with flying colors.  Concerning Gitmo, he questioned its closing; he is not in favor of bringing Gitmo enemy combatants to Illinois to be in a state prison facility; he is against Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to bring terrorist Khalid Shaikh Mohammed into a Manhattan Federal Court to be tried as a criminal; he is concerned about the indecisiveness of the President over troop levels in Afghanistan, feels McChrystal’s request for 40,000 additional troops should be granted as they were in the successful Iraq troop surge under General David Petraeus.

Although Kirk is generally viewed as having a firm commitment on issues of national security, Patrick Hughes expressed some doubt, noting that leadership and military experience are not the same.  Hughes based this remark on a little know fact.   Kirk made a speech on the House floor against the Iraq surge.  It were likely made because he had just come off a tough election with Democrat opponent Dan Seals and was looking at his political future above that of national security.

Hughes also questioned where Mark Kirk has been on health care during his nine plus years in Congress?  In all that time Kirk has not led on many issues.  Now Kirk is pushing health care reform in what seems a ploy to draw attention away from his unpopular Cap and Trade vote.

Also questioned by Hughes was Kirk’s vote for the House health care bill, despite language added that forbids the use of federal monies for abortion. Kirks vote was definitely contrary to his Planned Parenthood vote to fund abortion.  Why the 180 degree turn?  Like Mark Kirk’s renegade vote on Cap and Trade, might he have assumed that both bills would never become law so his votes would be safe?

Mark Kirk is the polar opposite of Patrick Hughes on social issue and is out-of-step with mainstream Republicans.

Unlike Kirk, Patrick Hughes believes in the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman and is also supportive of a marriage amendment that defines marriage.  Inexcusable is the hate crimes legislation Mark Kirk’s tacked on as an amendment to Nancy Pelosi’s military defense bill which represents a decisive Democrat tool to protect gays.  While Hughes believes that gun bans are unconstitutional, Kirk received the lowest grade possible from the NRA, an F-.  And on the all important issue of abortion, Hughes is pro-life, while Kirk support not only abortion, but the hideous procedure of partial birth abortion, a position so radical that few Democrats support it.  Kirk further opposes parental notification.

Patrick Hughes indicated that he would be traveling to Washington, D.C. to speak with the RNC and groups like the Club for Growth for campaign endorsements.  But will this be enough to get his name out to Illinoisans?

Mark Kirk is awash in special interest money.  He has a big war chest and is receiving additional financial support from those who believe that any kind of Republican is better than a Democrat.  It would seem that a tsunami of money is attempting to buy the Illinois senate seat for Mark Kirk.  Although Republican Chairman Pat Brady has endorsed Mark Kirk, Hughes did insist that Brady has been fair to him when meeting at campaign events.

Kirk’s campaign strategy so far has been to run a controlled TV ad war that buries his radical and left-of-center positions on social and other core value issues meaningful to Illinois base Republican voters.

Patrick Hughes has a big job ahead of him to educate voters across the state.  It does seem like Hughes is beginning to make inroads with a large donor base, having only announced his candidacy in August.  Hughes seems confident that he will be able to peal voters away from Kirk once they learn what he is all about.

I had a chance to hear Patrick Hughes speak several hours after his 11/15 guest appearance on Champion News.  It was in front of 40 disaffected Kirk constituents at a private, invitation only venue in Lake Forest.  Hughes received a phenomenal reception with overwhelming support.  There is now an active grassroots campaign to get the Hughes message out to Lake Foresters and others in nearby communities.  I will be taking an active part in this grassroots effort.

There is a clear choice between the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan and that of Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter.  Vote for Kirk if you favor the latter.

Voters need not fear Patrick Hughes because he is pro-life.  Hughes will not make his pro-life stance the centerpiece of his campaign, nor should it be in any campaign.  Hughes’ pro-life stance, however, is a guide to his moral compass.  What many Republican do not realize is that the 2008 Platform of the Illinois Republican Party is fairly conservative and has as one of its commitments (htt://www.championnews.net/files/ILGOP2008platform.pdf):  “To protect the fundamental rights to life and dignity of every human life.”

The Republican Party in Illinois is broken.  The state is bankrupt and jobs are fleeing the state. The General Assembly and state offices are all in the hands of the Democrats.

Patrick Hughes is counting on Republicans state-wide, dissatisfied with the status quo, to support a candidate(s) who can be a true standard bearers for the Republican Party.  Mark Kirk in his senate bid is out-of-step with at least half of the commitments outlined in the 2008 Illinois Republican Platform.

Patrick Hughes believes that as a Reagan conservative, he can engender the 21st century version of the Reagan Revolution here in Illinois.  Like Reagan, Hughes is a common sense candidate who can inspire, lead and be counted upon to do the right thing.  And what was Ronald Reagan’s Way?

“A political party cannot be all things to all people.  It must represent certain fundamental beliefs, which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell numbers. . . and if these are those that cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition Chicago Chapter, headed by Dr. Michael Menis, presented an Illinois 10th Congressional District Candidates Forum on Sunday, November 15th, at the Renaissance North Shore Hotel in Northbrook.  The event was attended by 125 people.10th District Congressman Mark Kirk was given a chance to speak prior to the forum, at which time he strongly opposed the proposal to bring enemy combatant terrorists — Al-Qaeda leaders — to the Thompson prison in Illinois. Their incarceration would represent the largest concentration of terrorists in the U.S. Chilling is that each of the up to 100 – 150 al-Qaeda terrorists would have the right to see up to ten followers or family members.

All seven of the Republican candidates seeking to fill Congressman Mark Kirk’s House seat, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, attended the forum to explain why each would be best for the job.  They were:  William Cadigan of Winnetka; state Rep. Elizabeth Coulson, R-17th, of Glenview; Northfield businessman Robert Dold of Kennilworth; businessman Dick Green of Winnetka; electric engineer Paul Hamann of Lake Forest; business owner Patricia Bird of Mount Prospect; and Lincolnshire pediatrician Arie Friedman of Highland Park.

The moderator of the forum was Richard Baer, an esteemed member of the RJC.  A spirit of unity was prevalent among candidates.  All were pro-choice, pro-Israel, never would have voted for “Cap and Trade” legislation, were against Obamacare, called for a balanced budget, opposed deficit spending, were for free market principles, and saw the development of nuclear energy as vital to meeting future energy needs.  All but candidate Paul Hamann, who favors pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, stood firm on the issue of national security and thought that the 40,000 troop request for Afghanistan by General McCrystal should be heeded.

Because of the forum’s format where only two of the seven candidates were given a chance to address each question, it was difficult to compare one candidate with another as to how they differed even on issues where they seemed to be in agreement.

On issues of concern to me — illegal immigration, gay marriage, gays in the military, gun control, and hate crimes legislation — they were not addressed or were only briefly touched upon.

I came away from the RJC forum without enough information to choose one of the seven candidates over another.  I do plan to attend other events featuring all seven of the 10th district congressional candidates in an attempt to find out how each candidate stands on social issues which are of importance to me.

 

The day could not have been more perfect for the City of Lake Forest to host a day long celebration for the re-opening of Western Avenue between Westminister and Woodland Roads.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the intersection of Western and Westminister at 10. a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Adding spirit, color and sparkle to the ceremony were members of the Lake Forest High School cheerleading squad in their perky uniform.

Fourth Ward Alderman, John Looby III, addressed the gathering, while First Ward Alderman Ken Novit looked on.  Lobby thanked the residents and businesses for their patience — the project began in March of 2009 — which is envisioned to improve the safety of downtown Lake Forest, add to its beauty, and attract shoppers.  Because of weekend and rainy day work, John Looby related how the project was finished on time and under budget.

The ceremony ended with the cutting of a ribbon stretched across Western Avenue.   As John Looby informed those gathered, he would use a real scissor to cut the ribbon.  He did, and the ribbon was cut without a hitch.

The American people are increasingly viewing the crusade against marijuana as ill-conceived, believing that gangs will go away if the ban on pot is ended.

At the same time, states in these hard economic times are seeking new sources of tax revenue. The illicit profits earned by those dealing in drugs are seen by states as billions of dollars of additional tax revenue should marijuana be classified as a controlled substance.

The following information will come as a surprise to many readers. Chicago was classified in 2009 as a high intensity drug trafficking area by the Office of National Drug control Policy in Washington, D.C. As such, Chicago serves as the major transportation hub and distribution center for the retail sale of cocaine, heroin and marijuana throughout the Midwest and ranks second only to Los Angeles County in California, a state that has legalized the use of marijuana as medicine and where marijuana use has greatly increased since its legalization.

While street gang distribution operations are concentrated in urban areas of Chicago, suburban law enforcement agencies are reporting an increasing presence of Chicago gang members distributing drugs in their jurisdictions.

Regarding marijuana, despite the limited growing season here in Illinois, its fertile soil and large, sparsely populated rural areas are attracting cannabis growers. One of this nation’s largest ever marijuana-growing operations was discovered back in summer 2007, not in a rural area of Chicago, but in a Cook County forest preserve, Crabtree Nature Preserve near northwest suburban Barrington.  A more recent marijuana-growing operation valued at $3.5 million was uncovered in yet another Cook County forest preserve, Sneed Forest Preserve in Palos Township, in August of this year.

How is Illinois dealing with the marijuana issue?  Last May, the Illinois Senate narrowly passed SB1381 to legalize marijuana as medicine.  Should the House follow through it would make Illinois the 14th state to allow the medical use of marijuana. Recently the U.S. Justice Department gave marijuana a nod of approval by announcing that it would ease up on prosecutions for medical marijuana

But does the legalization of marijuana as medicine really make sense?  There is already a synthetic drug on the market called Maritol which contains all the active ingredients in marijuana to target pain without smoking the marijuana weed.

Dispensaries in states which distribute marijuana are magnets for crime and violence.  And where are the safeguards to protect patients from drug abuse absent recommended prescribed dosage levels for illnesses or symptom.  Lastly, shouldn’t medical doctors and scientists, not legislators, decide if marijuana is medicine?

Critical to the discussion of marijuana is that marijuana is the entry level of choice for many young people, which often leads to drugs with a bigger bang for the buck.  Research shows that the earlier children start using marijuana, the more likely they will go on to experiment with cocaine and heroin.

Short-term effects on teens who smoke marijuana include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor coordination and an increased heart rate.  As adults, teens who smoke marijuana risk possible cancer, a potential to develop breathing problems and lung infections, and the possible impairment of their immune systems.

Thousands in the military risk their lives to stop drug lords and eradicate drugs in South America, and the Middle east.  As long as the drug lords are allowed to roam at will here in Illinois and across the nation, people will continue to die every hour of every day from drug lords, to the growers, to the shippers, to the pushers on corners, to the users.

(http://www.pioneerlocal.com/lakeforest/news/forum/1870050,lake-forest-guestessay-111209-s1.article)

November 12, 2009

By NANCY J. THORNER Contributor

A recent article published in the Lake Forester highlighted a CROYA event which featured the brother of Chris Farley discussing the dangers of substance abuse. Reading the story by Dani Schweigert motivated me to delve further into the widespread use of marijuana among local high school students.

Recently Lake County Sheriff, Mark Curran alerted me to a potentially dangerous move here in Illinois. In May of this year the Illinois Senate narrowly passed a bill to legalize marijuana as medicine. I was pleased to hear that our own state senator, Susan Garrett, voted against the bill. Should the House follow with its own version of the bill (a House committee did pass a similar medical marijuana measure in March), it would make Illinois the 14th state to allow the medical use of cannabis.

I believe this legalization would result in unintended consequences. For starters, marijuana dispensaries are magnets for crime and violence, there are no safeguards to protect patients from abuse absent recommended prescribed dosage levels for illnesses or symptom, and shouldn’t medical doctors and scientists, not legislators, decide if marijuana is medicine?

Marijuana users range from upper middle school to high school age students, through to senior citizens. The short-term effects on teens include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor coordination, and an increased heart rate. Teens who smoke marijuana risk possible cancer as adults, as marijuana has the same cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke. There is also the potential to develop breathing problems and lung infections later on and the possible impairment of the immune system to fight off some infections.

Two groups

Parents and students living in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Knollwood are fortunate to have the services of two organizations to turn to help reduce the odds of abuse becoming a problem: CROYA, a core city service of Lake Forest which guides young adults to make good choices, and LEAD, a community-based, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to promoting healthy family relationships and preventing substance abuse and other risky behavior by youth.

In visiting the CROYA (Committee Representing Our Young Adults) headquarters at 400 Hastings Road in Lake Forest, I was impressed with its staff and its facilities where young people in grades seventh to 12th can hang out together in a drug and alcohol-free environment to enjoy wholesome activities. Chris Torrance, High School Youth Worker at CROYA, gave me information about CROYA’S noteworthy 10-week voluntary Peer Training program that meets during lunch periods at Lake Forest High School and Woodlands Academy. Students signing on to the program are given the resources needed to recognize when their friends are in trouble and how to be effective in dealing with the situation as friend-to-friend.

The LEAD (Linking Efforts Against Drugs) headquarters is located on the 2nd floor of Gorton Community Center at 400 E. Illinois Avenue. It is a 501c3 non-profit organization serving Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Knollwood and the surrounding communities. LEAD’S work is focused on helping parents keep their children alcohol and drug free, but its resources are also very helpful to those parents who find their children are using alcohol other drugs. Among the information received from staff members, I latched on to a brochure which is a valuable tool for all parents to have, Let Conversations Begin? In the brochure (available at www.leadweb.org) are tips on how and what to communicate with your children.

Local drug use

LEAD Executive Director Betty Frank-Bailey emphasized that while alcohol is the drug of choice in our local community, marijuana use is prevalent among our teens. Based on the 2008 Illinois Youth Survey administered to youth attending participating schools throughout Illinois, the percentage of teens who reported using marijuana in the past 30 days at the local, county and state level are:

Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood: sixth – 0; eighth – 4%; 10th – 20%; 12th – 32%.

Lake County: sixth – 1%; eighth – 7%; 10th – 15%; 12th – 26%.

Throughout Illinois: sixth – 1%; eighth – 8%; 10th – 16%; 12th – 21%

In speaking with Chief Gallagher of the Lake Bluff Police Department and Deputy Police Chief Glenn Burmeister of Lake Forest, both spoke about programs for students which emphasize the adverse effects of alcohol and other drug use. In Lake Bluff Officer Thomas presents regular talks to middle school students. Officer Jeff Sulkin is the School Resource Officer in Lake Forest. He teaches a 10-week LEADERS (Law Enforcement Against Drugs Encouraging Responsible Students) to all health classes in the fifth and seventh grades.

Upon inquiring about drug arrests here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, I was informed that the number of arrests in both communities have been steady over the years, even though drug use across the nation tends to be cyclical in nature. There are times when the use of cocaine and heroin must be addressed and dealt with.

Public outrage?

Students in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff are being targeted and tempted by alcohol and drugs. It is up to parents to recognize risky and dangerous behavior in their children and to seek help before alcohol and drug use impairs or damages the lives of their children.

The drug problem is certainly a timely one. As reported in the Lake Forester on Oct. 29, six Lake Forest High School students were arrested when entering the school high on marijuana.

Thousands in the military risk their lives to stop drug lords and eradicate drugs in South America, the Middle East and in other locations round the world. How is it that the drug lords behind the marijuana-growing operations so prevalent throughout this nation and even here in Illinois remain free to move their operations from location to location? Worrisome is that Chicago is a mecca for the transport and wholesale distribution of cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

As long as the kingpins are allowed to roam at will here in Illinois and across the nation, people, including our children, will die every hour of every day from drug lords.

Nancy J. Thorner is a resident of Lake Bluff

 

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Facts are stubborn things

November 11, 2009

 

On Nov. 5, 2009, I posted on my blog, “Conservative Kelly wins hands down for IL comptroller,” after consideration of the three Republican candidate vying for the IL comptroller position: Judy Barr Topinka, Jim Dodge and William J. Kelly.   Since then I have come to realize that my decision was not well thought out and was based on faulty information.
After being confronted by statements made on my Nov. 5th blog posting about candidate Jim Dodge, which was picked up at www.gopillinois.com on the same day, the only ethical thing for me to do was to speak directly with Mr. Dodge.  Reputation is an important thing to me, and it had been called into question.I was assured by Jim Dodge that he is not supporting a Democrat for county commissioner over that of fellow Republican Liz Gorman, a past GOP Cook County chairman.  In fact, Liz Gorman is a former neighbor of Jim Dodge and a good friend; she appointed him to the Metra Board, he is endorsed by Liz Gorman and the Orland Township Republican organization.  Additionally, Jim endorsed Liz for both Committeeman and Commissioner.  There is no strain in their relationship.

 

Also questioned on my blog was Jim Dodge’s relationship with Democrat Dan McLaughlin, Mayor of Orland Park. There was assumed guilt by association that Dodge was double dealing with Democrats because of Mayor McLaughlin’s ties to the Dan Hynes family, a Democrat nominee for governor.

As Jim Dodge explained to me, Orland Township is one of only three townships in suburban Cook County that went for John McCain.  While Dodge is serving his sixth term on the Orland Park Board of Trustees as a Republican, Orland Park did elect a Democrat for mayor.  In his role as a trustee, Jim Dodge has no choice but to work with Mayor McLaughlin, despite McLaughlin’s Democrat label.

Jim Dodge related how he worked with Mayor McLaughlin to eliminate the Orland Township Treasurer of Schools, thereby enabling 1/2 million dollars per year to remain in the schools for education in Orland Township.  According to Mr. Dodge, Mayor McLaughin is really quite conservative.

In revisiting Jim Dodge’s website, it would be impossible not to review as favorable his accomplishment.  Dodge has been successful in business and is currently a Vice-President at the Nielsen Company, a provider of technology consulting services, doing business in over 100 countries with 34,000 employees.  He is also a veteran, having served in the Illinois Army National Guard from 1988 to 1996.  Most importantly, Hughes has a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and an MBA from the University of Chicago, with concentrations in Finance and Economics, which should serve him well as IL comptroller.

As far as the brand of Republicanism Dodge practices, he informed me that he is a fiscal conservative, pro-life, pro 2nd amendment, and who strongly believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.  He’s been a Republican since graduating from DePaul in 1984 and volunteered in ’84  for the Reagan-Bush campaign.

Keeping all of the above in mind, William J. Kelly, although he means well and paints himself as a conservative, he is not in the same league as Jim Dodge.  Of the two, only Dodge has won elections and held positions of public responsibility, key facts that can help him beat Topinka.

Jim Dodge is the Republican comptroller candidate who must be supported.  If not, Judy Topinka will surely garner the majority of votes needed to propel her to victory in the Feb. 2010 primaries.  Judy Topinka was aroused from retirement as a retread candidate, while Jim Dodge is a fresh, new and principled Republican.

Already the recipient of two pensions, Judy Topinka doesn’t know when to give up.  She makes more retired (nearly $12,00 per month) then she did as Treasurer.  Plus she gets $25,000 as an RTA Director.  As a former IL Chairman of the Republican Party,Topinka paved the way for Barack Obama to become a U.S. senator and now president.  She remains a member of the IL liberal Republican network and is pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-gay.  These positions did not propel Judy Topinka to victory when she lost the IL governor race in a big way to Rod Blagjevich in 2006.    .

Going up against the liberal Republican machine that is supporting Topinka’s candidacy, will be difficult for Jim Dodge.  Recently GOP Chairman Pat Brady issued a warning to candidates running in contested primaries that the state party would clamp down on any commercials that “cross the line.”  Personal attacks should have no place in campaigns, but informing voters about positions on issues and drawing comparisons between the candidates is essential in any campaign.

May Jim Dodge have the spine to stand up to Chairman Pat Brady in his campaign for IL Comptroller.  Political speech must not stifled.  Dodge must be able to present the differences between himself and Topinka.

If history is any guide, Illinois will remain the bluest of states after the National Elections in 2010 should left-of-the-center retreads like Judy Barr Topinka, with ties to the Old Republican Guard, be the one chosen to go up against her Democrat challenger for comptroller.  It is up to Jim Dodge, and other primary contenders, not to follow the playbook of defeat being mandated by GOP Chairman Pat Brady, who seeks to retain his control and power over the IL Republican Party.

As illustrated in John Higgins’ cartoon opinion of Friday, November 6, the year-long honeymoon for Obama is over.

With the state of the economy and job losses front and center in the minds of the American people, many are finally realizing that promises made by Obama were just promises without substance.

President Obama sold his $787 billion stimulus by promising that unemployment would never rise above 7.8%, yet the economy shed another 190,000 jobs in October, bringing the number of jobs lost since Obama was sworn in to 3.8 million.  Unemployment now stands at 10.2%, the highest in 26 years.

For once the press exhibited skepticism when the Obama administration recently issued a report claiming that the $787 billion stimulus bill had saved or created 640,329 jobs.  Even discounting the fuzzy math, 640,329 jobs saved or created pales to the 3.8 million lost since Obama became president.

At a time when Congress and the Obama administration should be zeroing in on job creation, it is instead frittering away its time and efforts on a health care plan containing employer mandates that would put 5.1 low wage workers at risk of unemployment and a “Cap and Trade” bill that would kill millions of jobs.

How long will it take for the Obama administration to realize that its policies are job killing initiatives while millions of Americans remain jobless.?

Illinoisans do have a chance on Tuesday, Feb. 2nd to put their state on a path that will bring economic discipline, openness, and honesty to government.  The same is true for people across this nation on Tuesday, November 2nd.

The ballot box is a powerful tool, but voters must provide it with the data necessary to bring about the type of change that will produce positive results for the American people.

It was reported by Tribune Reporter Azam Ahmed on Thursday, November 5 that the Chicago Public Schools is seeking board of education approval of six new charter schools, one to be located near the Altgeld Gardens housing complex (“Chicago may open a charter school near Altgeld Gardens”).

Recently, the Illinois Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization located in Chicago, released an eye-opening documentary, Charter Schools: Changing Lives. Through film interviews and testimonials from students attending Urban Prep Academy for Young Men, Chicago International Charter School‘s Ralph Ellison campus, and Pritzker College Prep, the story emerges how charter schools are succeeding in terms of student performance, often changing the lives of their students in positive ways. With one out of two Chicago public high school students failing to graduate each year, it is obvious that its schools are failing, and the consequences are dire. Dropouts are more likely to serve time in prison than earn $30,000 a year.

A new Illinois state law has increased the number of charter schools in Chicago from 30 to 75. Even so, there are 13,000 children on waiting lists to get into one of the city’s charter schools run by independent non-profit and community groups which allow for innovation and parental choice. In comparison to Chicago’s traditional public school graduation rate of 50 percent, charter school graduation rates average 75 percent. The Chicago International Charter School, with a graduation rate of 90.4 percent, even tops the 83 percent graduation rate for students in the suburbs and downstate Illinois. Such successes are often achieved with less public funding than traditional public schools

It is a good thing that Chicago Public Schools wishes to add six new charter schools, but shouldn’t all Illinois children have a chance at success?

If Illinois legislators really value children and their educational opportunities, they are obligated to lift the number of charter schools allowed in Chicago and statewide. Seventy five is not nearly enough to meet Chicago’s educational needs. Only then will children living in Chicago and in disadvantaged areas of the state with failing schools have a better chance to succeed in life. Don’t we owe this to our children?

The Worst Bill Ever!

November 6, 2009

Front and center in the news this week will be the push by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to fast track a vote on her health care legislation.  The Wall Street Journal has called the Pelosi bill “The Worst Bill Ever.”

Why the rush when any health care legislation passed will not go into effect until 2013?

At 1,900 pages long, the massive House bill uses all sorts of gimmicks to bring it under the spending limit ceiling set by President Obama of $900 billion.  Ms. Pelosi is claiming that the net cost of her House bill is $829 billion, despite the CBO estimate of $1.055 trillion over a decade.

Imagine a stack of $100 dollar bills pressed tightly together extending 1,000 miles high.  This equals one trillion dollars!

Do the American people really want the Democratic prescription for health care which  would offer less choice, lower the quality of health care, and add unsustainable trillion dollar deficits for years to come?