Author Archive

Michelle Obama in Champaign on Monday 7/30

Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois favorite son Barack Obama will be in Champaign on Monday July 30th for a fundraiser at the Great Impasta. The event starts at 9:00am. The minimum donation is $100, but you can get in for $50 if that is all you can afford. For more info please call Zach Koutsky at (312) 550-6758.

Early Voting

Early voting starts at the County Clerk’s office tommorow, Monday March 26th. You can vote early on weekdays from 8:00am to 4:30pm until April 12th. You can also vote on Saturday March 31st or Saturday April 7th from 9:00am to Noon. Click here to view your sample ballot. For information about those on the ballot, see our candidates page.

Frerichs Education Funding Summit

State Senator Mike Frerichs is hosting an Education Funding Reform Summit on March 26th (tommorow) to gather community members and constituents to discuss the various education funding proposals that have been introduced in the General Assembly, including Senator Frerichs’ SB508. All concerned citizens are invited.

Where: Room 404 Illinois Terminal Building, 45 E. University, Champaign

When: Monday March 26th, refreshments served at 5:30pm, event starts at 6:00pm

Why: Education funding reform is an issue vitally important to the future of East Central Illinois.

For more info, please contact Zach at zakouts@gmail.com or 355-5252

Watch the Governor’s Budget Address

I already mentioned this in comments on an earlier post, but if you are free around lunch time, you should head over to the new Alice Campbell Alumni Center (it’s a beautiful building near Lincoln & Oregon) for a televised viewing of Governor Blagojevich’s budget address. The speech is supposed to start at 11:30am. The Governor is expected to go into more detail about his new comprehensive health care plan and education spending (including higher ed). After the speech members of the Governor’s staff will be on hand to answer questions from the audience.

Libby Guilty as Charged

Scooter Libby

Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney was found guilty today on four of five counts, including perjury and obstruction of justice in relation to his role in the leak of classified information regarding covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. Read about it here. Libby’s attorney said he will appeal the conviction or ask for a new trial, but if the conviction is upheld Libby faces 1.5 to 3 years in the slammer.

After the verdict was announced, one of the jurors spoke to reporters and said that many of the jurors felt that Libby, although guilty, was just the scapegoat and was thrown under the bus by Karl Rove and Cheney. While it’s certainly satisfying to see a high ranking White House official held accountable for this mess, I’m not so sure it was worth all this time and money just to get Libby on obstruction of justice and perjury. What do you think?

Governor Blago’s New Health Care Plan

On Sunday Governor Blagojevich unveiled his new proposal to work towards universal health care in Illinois. The plan is called Illinois Covered, you can view the press release here and the informational website here. Also read coverage of the proposal from the Sun-Times.

What am I voting for in April?

You can’t view your sample ballot yet, but on the County Clerk’s website you can check out what offices and referenda will be on the ballot in the April 17th Consolidated Election.

I live in Urbana and after glancing over the candidates for various offices I realized that I only get to vote in one contested race (Urbana Park District Commissioner)! My school board member, Cope Cumpston, is not up for election and actually only District 7 has a contested race; incumbent John Dimit faces two challengers. Races for Parkland Community College Board and Champaign-Ford Regional Board of Trustees have the same number of candidates running as there are seats available.

Why don’t more candidates run for these offices? I think the main reason is that most people don’t even know that a lot of these elected positions even exist. Quick, name one member of the Urbana Park District Board……………couldn’t do it could you? Another reason is the length of some of these terms of service. Parkland Board and Urbana Park District members both serve 6 year terms; many qualified potential candidates aren’t willing to commit for that long.

There may not be any exciting races on the ballot (unless you live in Champaign, we’ll discuss that in another post), but I hope all of you still remember to vote on April 17th!

Primary Colors

Should Illinois move its primary up to February 5th in 2008? Illinois House Speaker (and Democratic Party Chair) Mike Madigan has introduced legislation to do just that, claiming that an earlier primary would boost the fledgling campaign of our very own favorite son, Sen. Barack Obama.

With Senate President Emil Jones and Governor Blagojevich both favorable to the idea, the earlier primary looks likely to happen, but I’m still not sure if I support this. I certainly favor giving Illinois voters (both Democratic & Republican) a say in who our next president is. I think it would have been smarter for Speaker Madigan to sell this as the reason for the date change, not helping Obama. Also as president of the College Democrats, I favor anything that gets our members hooked in and busy early; having to circulate ballot petitions as early as mid August would certainly do the trick.

What are some of the drawbacks of this plan? Well for starters, have you ever gone door to door in January and February? As someone who has, I can tell you it ain’t much fun. County Clerk Mark Shelden was correct (I can’t believe I said that) when he pointed out that if there had been a primary this year on Feb. 5th, voters would have had to battle a blizzard to get to the polls. Besides the obvious weather issues, I think a very early primary unfairly favors incumbents and wealthy self-funded candidates, who don’t have to rely on going to door to build name recognition as much as challengers and grassroots candidates.

What do you think?