Update from D.C. Trip

On June 14, 2010, in General, by edwardpan

I just landed in New York City to begin a short visit out east to meet some natives of the Quad Cities and other parts of Illinois who have invited me out to offer their support and encouragement.  I’m going down to Washington DC Tuesday–to meet with more Quad Cities and Illinois people, the Illinois Republican Delegation, and a host of people in our nation’s capitol who have been so encouraging in our race thus far.

When our group got together–at a nice hamburger joint near Grand Central Station– the small talk was exactly what it would be if we were back in Illinois–excitement about the Blackhawks, frustration with the Cubs, as well as some speculation about the upcoming football season in the Western Big Six.  In one sense it was very gratifying: here are a group of people from our communities who are quite successful in very competitive fields who still feel a close attachment to our state. It just goes to show that we do have a great community that evokes a sense of pride–even amongst those who live hundreds of miles away.

What a shame that they don’t still live in our state. These people left their towns for greater opportunities than we could offer them, and it is our loss. We can’t continue to export the majority of our most talented young people if we want our economy to keep pace and create jobs. Every Congressional district but the 17th increased in population in the last 10 years–actually out of 435 districts, the 17th ranks 25th for exodus.

Communities all over the United States want to be the next Silicon Valley or Biotech Corridor for whatever the next new thing is–whether it be alternative energy or transport or something we’ve not yet thought about. I’d like for our area to be the next hot area for great jobs too–but I know enough to say that I cannot predict what that will be and that merely by throwing a few subsidies around we’re not going to create it. But if we can work to keep our best students from leaving the state–and make our district a place where smart, ambitious young men and women want to live–we’re going to have an economy that creates jobs for everyone.

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Illinois Fair Map Amendment

On February 13, 2010, in General, by edwardpan

I recently came across this great article in the Chicago Tribune’s Trib Local, in which Joanzie discusses the reason why incumbents  win over 98% of the time in Illinois races. Its because of one single party rule over the land (literally), deciding where districts are located, and selecting the voters, instead of the voter selecting the candidate!

WHY ARE ILLINOIS INCUMBENTS REELECTED 98% OF
THE TIME?

By: Joanzie
02/08/10 10:36 PM
The answer: because Illinois legislators have created districts that ensure their re-election by drawing their own maps behind closed doors. Since the last map was drawn in 2001, there have been 630 general election contests for the Illinois House and Senate. There were no challengers in almost 45% of these races. In 547 of them, incumbents seeking reelection won 536 times, or 98%. Thus, the competition is snuffed out, and power is concentrated in the few who are in control.

A fair map is the first step in taking Illinois back from the politicians. If you are unsatisfied with Illinois government, join The League of Women Voters of Glenview on Saturday, February 20th from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Community Room of the Glenview Police Station (Northwest Corner of East Lake and Shermer in Glenview) to kick-off a petition drive for a fair and transparent redistricting process.

Illinois voters remain skeptical that the era of wheeling, dealing, backroom politics is over. Why? This is the only state in the nation with a history of legislators creating their own voting districts by drawing a name—Republican or Democrat—out of a hat. The winners get to decide the re-mapping boundaries, drawing district lines to protect themselves and their friends while punishing their enemies.

With no transparency or oversight, this practice continues and can result in some gerrymandered districts resembling pretzels. The legislature could change this process – but they haven’t – and they won’t. It is up to us, the people. We need your help to change this process and take it from the legislators and put it in the hands of an independent commission in order to make redistricting more transparent, fair, and accessible to the public.

The League of Women Voters, in concert with other concerned groups, is now working to try to insure a new process. An Illinois Fair Map Amendment, based on an Illinois Reform Commission Proposal, should be placed on the November, 2010 ballot. This Amendment will be on the ballot only if we get 500,000 registered voters to sign a petition demanding it.

The Illinois Fair Map Amendment:
• Places map-drawing duties in the hands of an independent commission;
• Allows de-nesting: Representative districts need not be contained within a single Senate district;
• Requires a 2/3 majority vote of the General Assembly to approve maps put forth by the independent commission, and does not allow the General Assembly to draw maps on its own;
• Removes the Governor from the approval process;
• Increases public transparency by requiring public hearings, public display of proposed maps and allowing submission of maps by the general public;
• Requires the commission to use neutral criteria that will specifically protect minority voting rights and eliminate unduly favoring a political party;
• Removes the current tie-breaker provision and replaces it with fair resolution of map-making process. If the commission fails to produce an approved map, the Illinois Supreme Court would choose a “Special Master” to review all maps and data and draw the district boundaries.

To learn more about the Illinois Fair Map Amendment visit www.ilfairmap.com ; for more information on the League of Women Voters of Glenview visit www.glenview.il.lwvnet.org.

If you want to see why we need this Fair Map Amendment, look no further than the IL 17th District…

More disappointing news is tricking in as Illinois struggles to compete for jobs.  The Illinois Statehouse wrote that December’s unemployment went from 10.9% in November to 11.1% in December. Its continuing to be very difficult to see the miserable unemployment numbers, and watch our government take no action in creating jobs in the district.

Part of the situation has to do with the ongoing state budget issues:

State Rep. Don Moffit, R-Gilson, said unemployment tied in directly to the state’s massive budget problem.

“When people are working you’re generating state income tax and state sales tax,”he said. “So continued efforts at creating jobs, lowering unemployment, need to be at the top of the agenda for the legislature and the administration [of Gov. Pat Quinn].”

However, where is the stimulus, one of the largest beneficiary out of the 50 states in the US according to recovery.gov. Is the government creating a climate of job opportunity and growth, or are they trying to spend more of our taxpayer money to make jobs?

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Economy Still Bleeding Jobs

On January 9, 2010, in General, by edwardpan

The latest national unemployment numbers came out yesterday, and the news isn’t looking good. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that employers cut 85,000 jobs in December,  keeping the unemployment rate above 10%. Keep in mind that those numbers don’t reflect the number of unemployed who have stopped attempting to find work, which is estimated to be around 18%.

Illinois is ranked a dismal 48th out of 50th in job creation, beating out Ohio and Michigan.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Illinois won’t compete for jobs until it has politicians willing to make this state friendlier to employers.

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