UIUC College Dems

This blog is published by the UIUC College Democrats. We focus on state and local politics, but are willing to discuss pretty much anything.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Dump Winkel Part III

A guest post from Big Debbie:

PLUS ONE FOR THE GOOD GUYS:
PRO-STUDENT VOTING MEASURE PASSES G.A. DESPITE WINKEL’S OPPOSITION

The news-gazette reported a new bill passed the General Assembly last month that requires public universities to offer students a chance to register to vote during class registration. House Bill 715 requires universities to send voter registration information along with class registration mailings or to post voter registration information on the internet if a school does class registration on the web, like at the U of I.

This bill will go a long way in helping college students register on time and accurately so they will be given the opportunity to vote that too often eludes them. Since many college students will be voting for the first time in their lives, colleges and the state of Illinois needs to do everything they can to educate and encourage students to participate in the rewarding process of democracy. Many students don’t know how to register to vote, move every year and forget that they haven’t registered at their new address, or register to vote at their parent’s house even though they will be at school on Election Day. Last year, the college democrats registered over 10,000 new voters. This was done with a lot of effort and time on the part of volunteers, but it is almost assured that not every student who wanted to vote got the opportunity to register. This bill is a great first step in giving students a voice in our country.

However, not all of our local representatives in state government agree with this bill or the idea of helping college students get a chance to vote. State Senator Rick Winkel, R-Urbana, voted "present" on this bill. In the Illinois General Assembly all bills must pass with a majority of elected officials voting "yes." The magical number in the House is 60 and in the Senate 30. So basically, not voting, voting "no" and voting "present" all have the same negative effect on legislation. Winkel knows this, and knows that a "present" vote was in fact a vote in opposition to this bill. But why would the state senator who is elected to represent the U of I be opposed to helping students register to vote? Good question. Maybe it is because he is more worried about getting himself re-elected then representing his student constituent’s priorities.

The good news is that U of I students do have one voice in state government. State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, voted in favor of this bill, and hence in favor of giving students a voice in who represents them in government. And even better news is that Winkel is up for re-election in 2006. I wonder if Winkel will be kicking himself when in 2006 all those newly registered student voters remember how they registered and how Winkel tried to prevent that from happening?

Friday, June 17, 2005

GOP Gubernatorial Primary

The Daily Herald has a good breakdown of the GOP Primary for Governor. Columnist Eric Krol predicts that the field of 8 potential candidates will narrow to 4 by the December filing deadline. The four candidates: State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, State Senator Steve Rauschenberger (R-Elgin), former Illinois Board of Education Chair Ron Gidwitz, and dairy magnate/perennial candidate Jim Oberweis. Krol predicts that Congressman LaHood will get cold feet and keep his safe house seat. I think that out of this field Gidwitz is the best general election candidate, but that Rauschenberger will win if he can raise the money. Thoughts?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Vallas Explores Bid for Governor

The Chicago Sun-Times reported today that former Chicago CEO of Schools/2002 candidate Paul Vallas is actively considering a challenge to Governor Blagojevich in the March 2006 Democratic Primary. Today lawyers for Vallas's lawyers filed papers in court to seek a judicial opinion on the validity of Vallas's residency status. Vallas, who is currently Philadelphia CEO of Schools, has lived there since July of 2002. Does Vallas meet the state residency requirement to run for Governor? If he does, can he beat Blago?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Obama Most Popular U.S. Senator

Survey USA released a new poll tracking in-state approval ratings for all 100 U.S. Senators. The most popular Senator: Barack Obama, with a 72% approve/21% dissapprove rating. The least popular: Senator John "legalizing gay marriage condones sex with box turtles" Cornyn of Texas, with a 40% approve/36% dissapprove rating.

Dodds picked for City Council

Last night the Champaign City Council voted 6 to 1 to appoint Democrat supported Marci Dodds to fill the District 4 vacancy on the council. Republicans Mayor Jerry Schweighart and Republican Council members Tom Bruno and Vic McIntosh switched their support from Republican Deb Feinen to Dodds on the second vote. The Champaign City Council now goes from a 5-4 Republican majority before April to a 6-3 Democratic majority, although the council is technically "non-partisan."

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Daley Sinking Fast?

The Trib had an article today about Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley losing his iron-fisted grip on the Chicago City Council. The article hints that this may be yet another sign that hizzoner's demise may be approaching. Just a few wakes ago, in the wake of the Hired Truck and other scandals, a WGN/Trib poll reported that Daley's approval rating was at an all-time low of 53%(still not too shabby) and that he was vulnerable to a head to head challenge from Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. Are reports of Daley's demise premature? Or is he really up for a tough re-election in 2007?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

City Council Deadlocked

According to the News-Gazette, the Champaign City Council is deadlocked on who to appoint to the vacant District 4 seat vacated by Republican Jim Green. There are 8 candidates and it takes 5 votes to get the appointment. Marci Dodds, who is supported by Democrats, recieved three votes and Republican Deb Feinen, who was trounced by Rep. Jakobsson last November, recieved four votes. Dodds is supported by Democrats Giraldo Rosales, Gina Jackson, and Mike LaDue. Feinen is supported by Republican Mayor Gerald Schweighart, Republicans Tom Bruno, Vic McIntosh, and Democrat Kathy Ennen. Democrat Ken Pirok, who has a business relationship with Dodds's husband, abstained from the vote. Who will the council appoint? Will they settle on a compromise choice?