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SJ-R on the opportunities following the election of a new President to the Illinois State Senate:
Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, D-Evanston, another possible contender [for Senate President], perhaps summed up the opportunity best on Monday, saying that it “provides an opportunity for Illinois Senate Democrats to have a fresh start in setting the state’s agenda. Senate Democrats need leadership that is more open and transparent and which works toward consensus in solving the state’s most pressing problems.”
With their complete control of state government, Democrats should have made progress on a whole host of issues from education funding to much-needed state construction money. Jones’ retirement is their second chance.
It's always the legislative stalemate and clash of personalities that gets all the attention. But the lost opportunity of advancing a progressive agenda in the state of Illinois -- that's the real tragedy. [h/t Rich Miller]
Dem Day itself traditionally begins with the County Chair Breakfast. Turn-out this year was extraordinary. Tables were squeezed into the hall and it was standing-room only near the back.
All the statewide Democratic officials spoke. A lot of it was focused on the national election and the need to travel to battleground states. Senator Durbin, here speaking, reminisced about an early discussion he had had with Obama encouraging him to run: "Some times you pick the moment and sometimes the moment picks you," he recalled telling Obama.
Once the breakfast was over, we headed over to the Fair Grounds. They actually had a shuttle-bus this year.
The Governor's Lawn slowly filled up. In fact, things got underway a bit late.
Coolest tee shirt of the day most definitely has to go to members of the Emil Jones team who sported fashionable "I vote blue" models. Senate President Jones himself is sporting one, standing next to Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin.
On the podium were candidates Daniel Davis (IL-19), Colleen Callahan (IL-18), Jill Morgenthaler (IL-06) as well as Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), State Senator Jeff Schoenberg and of course the Governor. The excitement of the day was provided by a huge group of AFSCME members who were vocally protesting cuts to their healthcare plans.
What's a Dem event without a little dissension?
Finally, perhaps put off by the high price of dairy products, this year's Butter Cow, a must-see by any Fair attendee -- struck a sedate, even contemplative pose.
Just got a couple of shots from the evening preceding Dem Day at the State Fair.
This is traditionally a day of "low-ticket" fundraisers with beer flowing and great opportunities to meet fellow Dems from across the state.
The first picture is of Leo with Senator Dick Durbin at the Sangamon County Dem Fund-raiser at Boone's Uptown Grill.
Many of the public officials at the state level canceled their fundraisers due to the fact that the legislature was in session. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias decided to forgo the fundraiser part of his event and just have an open reception.
"Our task will not be done with this, but we have moved a major boulder off the road..."
Cynicism to the contrary, it's hard to believe the Governor would veto this. The next step should be a prohibition on contributions from anyone doing business with the state to _any_ candidate running for state office.
This is just a start.
The third Tuesday of each month Liberty Brew & View will show a film on the big movie screen at Capital City Bar & Grill in the Capital City Shopping Center on Dirksen Drive in Springfield.
The movies will focus on a different political or social issue each month and we'll invite a local group to provide information about how to take action. This is your chance to meet new friends, see a great movie and do something to make a difference.
Photos from Dem Day at the Illinois State Fair 2007. Here are a couple of shots from the event in Springfield