Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Edgar says he'll vote for Brady

Despite recent criticism of Bill Brady's budget plans, former Gov. Jim Edgar says he will vote for the Republican nominee for governor come November.

Edgar previously called Brady's across-the-board budget cutting ideas "naive" and had recommended he rethink his fiscal policies regarding bridging a $13 billion budget deficit.

But in speaking to students at the University of Illinois' Springfield campus Monday night, Edgar said he'll be voting Republican, arguing that Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has not made the most of opportunities to get spending under control.

Edgar's comments at UIS were featured in a April 27, 2010, article in the Chicago Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100427-Edgar-says-he-will-vote-for-Brady.pdf

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

UIS students overcome obstacles to take top honors

Life is finally returning to normal for Alfred Komolafe, a Nigerian-American UIS student forced to miss the opportunity of a lifetime, representing his school at the National Model U.N. in New York. He was not allowed to board the plane at the airport after being informed his name was on the federal no fly list.

Komolafe worried his absence would impact the team's performance, so before they left him at the airport he handed over a binder filled with all the research he'd prepared.

Despite a lot of long days and sleepless nights trying to learn the new material, the team won top honors. The team was awarded the Outstanding Delegation Award for their efforts.

The Model U.N. team was featured in a April 13, 2010, report by WICS-TV.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Politics can't get between two UIS roommates

Maybe those folks in Washington, D.C., could learn something from Matt Van Vossen and Ryan Melchin.

Van Vossen, 20, president of College Democrats at the University of Illinois Springfield, and Melchin, 21, chairman of the College Republicans on campus, are juniors who have been friends since freshman year, and they live in the same on-campus four-person townhouse this year.

“We mostly get along,” Van Vossen said. While they’ve done some arguing in their time in school together, he added, “We know where we stand by now on most issues.”

Van Vossen and Melchin were featured in a April 13, 2010, article in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100413-SJR-Politics-can't-get-between-two-UIS-roommates.pdf

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All known and unknown nuclear powers should come under this fold

Dr. Baker Ahmed Siddiquee, Professor of Economics at UIS and an analyst on Arab World and Muslim countries in an interview with VOABangla Service urges upon all nuclear power to come under a single fold of pledging to secure their nuclear weapons.

In a round table discussion Professor Siddiquee says that he welcomes the initiatives of the U.S. President Barack Obama to hold this International Global Summit where the nations are required to reassure that their nuclear materials are secured and that they do not, in particular, fall into the hands of the terrorists organizations like the Al Qaida.

Siddiquee's comments were featured by Voice of America radio on April 12, 2010.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100412-VOA-Nuclear-Powers-Baker.pdf

Listen to the interview on the Voice of America website

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Opinion: In Praise of Illinois

Democrats take baby steps on pension reform.

The Pew Center on the States recently honored Illinois as the state with the biggest public pension mess. So it's a minor miracle that the state's Democratic legislature passed, and Democratic Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign, a pension reform that at least takes baby steps in trimming the state's retirement largesse for its 700,000 government workers. Perhaps bankruptcy concentrates the mind.

A new report by Charles Wheeler of the University of Illinois Springfield summarizes the state's problem this way: "To say Illinois faces a hole in funding its public employee pension systems is like saying the Grand Canyon is an impressive ravine." He finds that the state's five retirement systems "will need roughly $131 billion to cover benefits already earned by public workers, with only $46 billion in expected revenues to cover the costs."

Wheeler's report was featured in a Wall Street Journal opinions article on April 8, 2010. The research was also featured in a February 2010 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

Download the article as a PDF:
20100408-WSJ-Illinois-and-Pension-Reform2.pdf

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Richard Judd: Saving capitalism

The following column was written by Richard Judd, National City Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois Springfield. It was published in the State Journal-Register on April 7, 2010.

"For decades the U.S. was the epicenter of advanced technology production. No longer. In 2008 the U.S. exported $275 billion of such goods but imported more than $329 billion. Of those imports, $91 billion came from China. The U.S. depends on advanced technology, yet we are outsourcing production.

The state of global trade in 2010 is as precarious as global finance was before its 2008 collapse, largely because of a free-market approach to global trade and deregulation of the money industry."

Download a PDF of the full column:
20100407-SJR-Richard-Judd-Saving-capitalism.pdf

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Monday, April 5, 2010

UIS studying accelerated degree potential

When interim University of Illinois President Stanley Ikenberry asked college officials to find out what it would take to create an accelerated degree program, he kick-started the process at all three U of I campuses.

But University of Illinois Springfield provost Harry Berman said the three-year degree idea is “relative to the traditional full-time student.”

“It’s a matter of affordability for higher education, which is a big concern for all of us,” said Berman. “We’d have to look and see what majors we could do it in.”

Berman's comments were featured in a April 4, 2010, article in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100404-SJR-UIS-studying-accelerated-degree.pdf

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Time, and money, running out for MAP college aid program

At the University of Illinois Springfield, Gerard Joseph, director of financial assistance, said 259 eligible students missed the MAP application deadline last year. A total of 845 out of 4,900 students received MAP grants this year, up from 827 last academic year.

“That’s going to become a very critical factor,” Joseph said when asked about students losing money by missing the cutoff.

Returning students will generally be better off financially than freshmen, because tuition rates already are locked in for returning students. University of Illinois officials have suggested tuition could go up by 20 percent next year.

Joseph's comments were featured in a April 2, 2010, article in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100402-SJR-Time-and-money-running-out.pdf

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What's Illinois voters' mood?

Democrats hold an iron grip on Illinois state government, control both U.S. Senate seats and occupy 12 of the state’s 19-seat delegation in the House of Representatives.

Illinois, remains solidly in that Democrats’ column, said Christopher Mooney, a professor with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The state has a lot of union members who tend to vote Democratic and are bolstered by the party in return.

“The political culture here is not ideological. It’s all about where you are pouring concrete, providing services,” he said. Solidly Democrat Chicago still “dominates state politics.”

Given the political makeup of the state, minority Republicans won’t be able to make much headway on national issues like the Obama administration’s passage of health care reform, said Charles Wheeler, director of the Public Affairs Reporting graduate program at the university.

Mooney and Wheeler's comments were featured in a April 5, 2010, article in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100405-JJC-What's-Illinois-voters'-mood.pdf

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Bipartisan roommates at UIS

The president of the college Democrats and the chairman of the college Republicans at UIS are roommates.

Ryan Melchin, a republican and Matt VanVossen, a democrat, met during freshman year. They hit it off and have been friends ever since. The pair say they debate about politics all the time, but they do have common interests.

They hope to set an example for professional lawmakers.

The pair was featured by WCIA-TV Channel 3 in a report on April 1, 2010.

Read more and watch the story on WCIA's website

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Business size may affect bounceback

Take a look at the quarterly reports of big U.S. companies and you may see overseas growth cushioning a domestic financial blow. Jeremy Hobson explores this and other disadvantages small businesses have in the face of recovery.

Ronald McNeil: And those companies with the international stretch are helped more and quicker as economies recover in the global marketplace.

That's Ronald McNeil, dean of the business school at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He says small businesses can benefit too, if they play their cards right. Perhaps by supplying goods and services to larger companies that already export their business overseas.

McNeil's comments were featured on American Public Media's Marketplace on March 30, 2010.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100330-Marketplace-business-size.pdf

Listen to the story online

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A self-sustaining economic expansion

Consumer confidence is up, and the upcoming jobs report is expected to be the most positive in many months.

Why can't these economists just admit that things are looking good? I asked Ronald McNeil, the dean of the business school at the University of Illinois, Springfield.

Ronald McNeil: When you're in the money, you can make mistakes and get away with it. The degrees of freedom are greater. But when you're not quite in the money -- caution, care, all of that goes into the mix.

McNeil's comments were featured in a March 30, 2010, report on American Public Media's Marketplace.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100330-Marketplace-self-sustaining-economic.pdf

Listen to the report online

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dems vs. GOP Ticket

In the race for governor voters can choose from Democratic Governor Pat Quinn of Chicago and newly selected Lt. Governor Candidate Sheila Simon of Carbondale. On the Republican side there's Senator Bill Brady and Lt. Governor Nominee Jason Plumber. Both men are from downstate and are considered very conservative.

"There's not a lot of contrast between the two candidates for governor and their running mates. Ideologically they're very close," said Kent Redfield, UIS professor emeritus of political science.

Redfield’s comments were featured in a WICS-TV 20 report on March 29, 2010.

Watch the story online on News Channel 20’s website

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Illinois school budgets at the breaking point

State officials say 41 percent of school districts — 355 out of 869 — were spending into a deficit in 2009. The number is expected to go up to 44 percent in 2010.

On the revenue side, the recession has kept a lid on local tax caps at the same time that the state fell behind on aid payments, said William Phillips, an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The governor has proposed big cuts for next year.

"So now they're getting hit with three different major funding sources being reduced and they are doing what they never wanted to do, which is drastically cutting their programs and staff," he said. "The bottom line is, districts are spending more than they're taking in."

Phillips' comments were featured in a March 25, 2010, article in the Chicago Tribune.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100325-Trib-Illinois-School-budgets.pdf

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Pressure: Will the push for an income tax increase work?

Supporters of a tax increase have been undoubtedly banking on fallout sending teachers and parents banging on the doors of local lawmakers to demand a solution.

"I would think cutting education ... is a way to put greater pressure on people for a tax increase," says Charles Wheeler, a former veteran statehouse reporter and current University of Illinois at Springfield program director. "And the way these cuts are designed, whether intentionally or (not), puts added pressure on suburban legislators."

Wheeler's comments were featured in a March 20, 2010, edition of the Chicago Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100320-CDH-push-for-an-income-tax2.pdf

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Politics of health care will play out

Some political experts wonder how much voters care about the minutiae of lawmaking as well as larger GOP criticisms of the health care legislation.

Chris Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield, said he believes voters in November will be consumed by the desperate straits of Illinois' economy this year.

"Democrats could end up looking totally lame, or this might turn out to be something approaching the New Deal," he said. "But right now, the situation in Illinois is so dire that the health care debate seems rather esoteric."

Mooney's comments were featured in a March 20, 2010, article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100320-STL-Politics-of-health-care.pdf

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Illinois Issues available at Paris library

Illinois Issues, an award winning public affairs magazine, is now available at the Paris Carnegie Public Library.

Rep. Roger Eddy (R-Hutsonville) has partnered with the magazine’s Issues for Citizens campaign to promote public policy information and education via the public library system. In addition to Paris, Eddy is providing subscriptions to libraries in Lawrenceville and Robinson.

Illinois Issues is a not-for-profit magazine published at the University of Illinois Springfield, as part of the Center for State Policy and Leadership. Executive editor Dana Heupel noted recent articles have explored redistricting, wind power as an energy source and an analysis of the state’s retirement system.


The magazine was featured in a March 16, 2010, edition of the Paris, IL Beacon News.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100316-PBN-Illinois-Issues-available.pdf

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Costello still opposes health care bill

U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, was still on record as of Thursday that he will vote no on the Senate version of the health care reform bill the House is set to vote on this weekend.

Kent Redfield, an expert on Illinois politics, said the only explanations for Costello's threat to vote no on the bill are either he is bargaining for something or he wants to be shown some respect.

"If people feel they are being ignored and taken for granted, then they like to be asked," said Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Redfield's comments were featured in a March 18, 2010, Belleville News-Democrat Article.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100318-BND-Costello-still-opposes.pdf

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Brady has bunch of work to do to win, experts say

State Sen. Bill Brady squeaked by last month's six-way Republican gubernatorial primary as a relatively unknown statewide commodity known - if at all - for his downstate roots.

The strategy was successful; after all, he won. But now, experts say, Brady should be on to a new mission of endearing himself to upstate voters.

"He's an unknown factor," said Kent Redfield, a political scientist at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Redfield's comments were featured in a March 16, 2010, article in the Southtown Star.

Download a PDF of this article:
20100316-STS-Brady-has-bunch-of-work.pdf

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

UIS alumnus running as democratic state senate candidate

Josh Weger, a regional manager for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, announced his candidacy for state senate Tuesday.

He is running for the 55th Senate District seat currently held by Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon.

Weger is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Springfield, where he received a bachelor’s in economics and a master’s in political science. Weger was a legislative aide to former Illinois Agriculture Director and State Rep. Chuck Hartke of Effingham.

Weger was featured in a March 9, 2010, article in the Mattoon Journal-Gazette and Charleston Times-Courier.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100309-JGTC-Democratic-senate-candidate.pdf

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Monday, March 8, 2010

In Illinois, Race Is Set for Governor

A full month after votes were cast in a primary, the race for governor was at last set in Illinois Friday. The campaign will pit a conservative downstate Republican lawmaker against the sitting Democratic governor, who must overcome a dire state budget gap as well as memories of the ousted Democratic governor Rod R. Blagojevich.

“This may have been the more desirable outcome for Pat Quinn,” said Kent Redfield, a political scientist from the University of Illinois, Springfield.

Redfield's comments were featured in a March 5, 2010, article in the New York Times.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100305-NYT-In-Illinois-Race-Governor.pdf

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Democrats taking applications for Ill. lt. gov.

Illinois' Democratic voters picked a pawnbroker as their candidate for lieutenant governor, and that didn't exactly end well.

The Democrats' approach to the candidate selection process is unprecedented in Illinois, according to political analysts. The closest the state has come in recent history is in 2004, when Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan left the race and the party's central committee replaced him with Alan Keyes, a conservative who didn't live in Illinois at the time, said Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Keyes went on to lose to President Barack Obama.

Redfield's comments were featured in a March 3, 2010, Associated Press article published in the Belleville News Democrat.

Download the article as a PDF:
20100303-BND-dems-start-taking.pdf

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Monday, March 1, 2010

B-N business community fueled Brady's campaign

If Bill Brady becomes the next governor of Illinois, he may have his peers in the Twin City business community to thank.

Brady’s early support from his peers and family is common, said Ron Michaelson, who led the state Board of Elections for 27 years and now teaches at the University of Illinois-Springfield. That strong base of cash was key to establishing Brady as a credible candidate to others, he said.

“He’s now got to establish stronger support and visibility in the six-county area (around Chicago) where a lot of the money is and where all of the votes are, quite frankly,” Michaelson said.

Michaelson's comments were featured in a February 26, 2010, edition of the Bloomington Pantagraph.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100226-B-N-business-Brady.pdf

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Human Trafficking prevails in Springfield

When you hear about "human trafficking", you might think it's something that happens only in third world countries. But, as many students at the University of Illinois at Springfield found out Wednesday afternoon, the problem is prevalent here as well.

As part of the university's "Engaged Citizenship Common Experience" speaker series (ECCE), the coordinator of the Illinois Rescue and Restore Coalition gave some shocking statistics.

Project Coordinator Lisa Fedina says her group's national hotline has been successful in identifying who, and where, these victims are, and in initiating the process of safely rescuing them.

The event was featured in a February 24, 2010, report by WICS-TV 20.

Read more and watch online:
http://www.wics.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wics_vid_1602.shtml

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Political litmus test: Democratic states spilling most red ink

The five states in the worst financial condition - Illinois, New York, Connecticut, California, and New Jersey - are all among the bluest of blue states.

UIS' Kent Redfield was interviewed for a February 25, 2010, article in Forbes.

Download a pdf of the article:

Forbes%20-%20Political%20litmus%20test.pdf

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shimkus challenges climate-change research

The event was a rah-rah session for Sangamon County Republicans, but U.S. Rep. JOHN SHIMKUS, R-Collinsville, couldn’t let his time in front of a microphone pass without making clear his disdain for those who are sounding the climate-change alarm.

DENNIS RUEZ JR. is assistant professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“Most people do not understand the difference between climate and weather,” he said. “Ice fishing in Illinois does not necessarily mean cooling climate; similarly, a hot summer does not necessarily mean warming climate. Additionally, southern Illinois ponds can’t be used as a climate proxy for the entire planet.

Reuz's comments were featured in a February 18, 2010, Bernard Schoenburg column in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100218-SJR-Bernard-Schoenburg-Shimkus.pdf

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No more private sessions, Senate president vows

After criticism from open-government advocates, Senate President John Cullerton pledged to avoid convening the Senate in private again as he did Wednesday to hear a budget briefing from a nationwide legislative association.

One longtime legislative expert said he'd never seen a similar instance of barring public access in four decades of watching the Senate.

"When it's a briefing about fiscal matters, I don't think there's a valid reason that it shouldn't be open," said Charles N. Wheeler III, director of the University of Illinois at Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program and a former Sun-Times Statehouse bureau chief.

Wheeler's comments were featured in a February 18, 2010, edition of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100218-SunTimes-No-more-private-sessions.pdf

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Legislators offer ideas to improve election process

Fresh off an election with seemingly little voter interest, state lawmakers are pushing several proposals to increase voter participation and make for a smoother election process.

Matt Van Vossen, president of the Student Government Association at the University of Illinois at Springfield, supports the measures. He said many students choose not to vote because they cannot reach the polling place in time.

“If early voting were to be made available on campuses, student voter turnout would increase,” Van Vossen said.

UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp said students who live on campus can vote at nearby Lincoln Land Community College. He said the school’s student government group offers carpools for students who need rides to polling places.

The article was featured in a February 14, 2010, article in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100214-Legislators-offer-ideas.pdf

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blagojevich wants all phone tapes played for jury

When his corruption trial begins in June, Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois,
wants jurors to be allowed to hear all of the audio recordings — some 500 hours’ worth — that federal authorities secretly made of his telephone conversations.

That prospect, political analysts say, was likely to cause queasiness for Illinois politicians, some of whom are thought to be heard on those audio recordings and might have hoped their comments would never become public.

Any association with Blagojevich could cast a candidate as part of the “corrupt Democratic machine,” said Kent Redfield, a professor emeritus of political science at UIS.

Redfield's comments on the subject were featured in a February 11, 2010, article in the New York Times.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100211-NYTimes-Blagotapes.pdf

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Controversy surrounds Cohen's withdrawal from lt. governor race

The controversy surrounding Scott Lee Cohen's nomination and subsequent withdrawal from the race for Illinois lieutenant governor has renewed the debate over whether the position is needed at all.

Kent Redfield, a professor emeritus of political science at UIS, said changing the way the nominee is selected is the ideal way to prevent a Cohen-like scenario from unfolding again.

Under current law, lieutenant governor nominees are selected independently of the candidate for governor, yet they run on a joint ticket in the general election. Running as a team in the primary election, Redfield said, would prevent it from being "just luck if the two
know each other and get along."

Redfield's comments were featured in a February 9, 2010, article in the Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100209-DailyHerald-Cohen.pdf

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Electic list of winners partly due to low voter turnout

The list of victors from the Illinois primary election is electic. With such a hodgepodge of candidates moving into the general election, some say the most revealing mentality of the electorate may belong to the voters who didn't show at the polls.

Illinois political historian Charles N. Wheeler III, a professor at UIS, said the low turnout was ironic considering the disgust many Illinoisans directed at officeholders following Blagojevich's arrest in late 2008.

Wheeler's comments were featured in a February 7, 2010, article in the Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100207-DailyHerald-voterpicks.pdf

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Brady already planning campaign against Quinn

Although the outcome of the Republican race for governor remains in flux, state Sen. Bill Brady headed out on the campaign trail Friday.

For now, Brady and Kirk Dillard are waiting for final ballots to roll in from absentee and provisional voters. If an official count in March shows the two still neck and neck, a recount process could be launched, forcing an even longer delay in determining who will represent the GOP in November, but that's not stopping Brady from plotting his run against Gov. Pat Quinn.

Chris Mooney, a professor of political science at UIS, said Brady is trying to define himself before Quinn gets a chance.

Mooney's comments were featured in a February 6, 2010, article in the Herald & Review.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100206-H%26R-Brady.pdf

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Illinois politics never dull

During the Illlinois primary election, by Wednesday evening, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, Bill Brady held a lead of only 406 votes out of 765,000 cast over Kirk Dillard for the Republicans.

Among the Democrats, current Gov. Pat Quinn was ahead of State Comptroller Dan Hynes by 8,090 votes.

The possibility of expensive, time-consuming recounts hovered over both parties.

“Whatever you say about Illinois politics, unfortunately it’s never dull,” said Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in a Feburary 4, 2010, article in the New York Times about the state election.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100204-NYTimes-ILprimary.pdf

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Election recount could be costly and delayed

If Illinois decides on doing its first ever statewide election recount, the process won't begin for at least a month. No recount can be started until the election results — including early and absentee ballots — are finalized March 5.

The monetary cost of a recount shouldn't mean much to candidates who have raised and spent far more during their primary campaigns. But the political price of a fierce intraparty battle could be enough to give candidates pause, said Ron Michaelson, former director of the state board of election and a political science professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield.

Michaelson's comments were featured in a Feburary 4, 2010, article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Download a PDF of the article: 20100204-STLpostdispatch-recount.pdf

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Democrats might have reasons to worry this fall

The polls are now open in President Obama's home state of Illinois, which holds the nation's first primary in what is expected to be a tumultuous election year across the U.S.

Whatever the outcome of Tuesday's voting, Democrats might have to worry this fall about this "blue state" — where Democrats hold all statewide offices and control both chambers of the General Assembly, says Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in a February 2010 article in the USA Today.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100202-USAToday-voters.pdf

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Downstate Illinois Innocence Project takes on Slover case

Pinning hopes for a new trial for the Slovers on a fingerprint found on a bridge railing, the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project presented its case at a hearing Monday afternoon.

The project, based at UIS, has taken the case of Michael Slover, Jeannette Slover and Michael Slover Jr., who are all serving 60-year sentences for the murder of Karyn Hearn Slover.

The latest details about the case were reported on February 2, 2010, by the Decatur Herald & Review and WCIA-3.

Download a PDF of the Herald & Review's story:
20100202-HR-Slover.pdf

Download a PDF of the WCIA-3 report:
20100201-WCIA-Slover.pdf

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Democratic control could lead to redistricting

The contested primary races for governor among Democrats and Republicans could lead to national attention -- and money -- in the fall. If Democrats continue to control the legislature and the governor's office, they could draw new legislative districts for Congress and the General Assembly that could further marginalize Republicans.

"The governor's race is going to be a tough race and clearly there's a lot at stake with redistricting," said Christopher Mooney, a political science professor at UIS. "The national GOP might bring money into the governor's race, though they almost never do. Democrats have a natural advantage, but Republicans have Blagojevich to run on. Both sides have strong themes they can run on."

Mooney's comments were featured in a February 2, 2010, article in the American Chronicle.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100202-AmChronicle-elections.pdf

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TV ads won't necessarily help candidates

There are currently several high-profile political races going on in Illinois, and it may be difficult for any candidate to count on TV ads this weekend to put them over the top.

"There are candidates for a variety of offices on TV (and) plenty of commercials," said Christopher Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois Springfield. "I've never seen this much clutter."

Mooney's comments were featured in the January 30, 2010, Chicago Tribune.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100130-ChiTrib-Mooney.pdf

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Wheeler: Illinois is becoming more Hispanic and Asian

In the January edition of Illinois Issues magazine, Charlie Wheeler, director of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at UIS, wrote that Illinois is becoming more Hispanic and Asian. The GOP should be concerned, Wheeler wrote, because “voters in burgeoning ethnic communities — particularly Latinos — tend to vote Democratic.

Wheeler's editorial and comments were featured in a January 31, 2010, column by Bernard Schoenburg in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the column:
20100131-SJR-Wheeler.pdf

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Republicans fight to get back control in Illinois

Six candidates are vying to fill the position of governor in a state that has generally rejected the national Republican Party’s hard-line positions. The GOP nominee will face the winner of a contentious Democratic primary battle between Gov. Pat Quinn, the former lieutenant governor who succeeded Blagojevich, and Comptroller Dan Hynes.

Debates between the contenders have put the state GOP’s internal conflict between conservatives and moderates on full display, especially regarding tax policy as Illinois struggles with a historic $12 billion budget deficit.

Kent Refield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS, weighed in on the primary elections in a January 31, 2010, article in the Decatur Herald & Review.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100131-H%26R-elections.pdf

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Most Illinois gubernatorial campaigns in debt

Seven of the eight active candidates for governor go into Tuesday's election with a substantial campaign debt, somewhat ironic given the fact that most of them are hammering past and current state leaders about overspending.

In some cases, it's just wealthy candidates self-funding their campaigns and calling it a loan. But the big loans to other candidates are another story, according to Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 31, 2010, article in the Champaign News-Gazette.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100131-NewsGazette-campaignfunds.pdf

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Political social media increasing

If you're on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, chances are you've seen a political candidate's message. A new study shows the number of statewide candidates in Illinois who have an Internet presence is increasing, although the most popular method is to have a campaign Web site or blog.

Institute of Government and Public Affairs senior fellow Michael Cheney, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, found that while participation in social media is going up, some candidates have no presence whatsoever.

The study was featured in a January 28, 2010, broadcast/article by the Illinois Radio Network.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100129-IRN-Political-Social-Media-Increasing.pdf

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Is taking a jab at House Speaker politically risky?

As the clock runs down on the primary election season, some candidates are making bold claims or hurling accusations against opponents.

Kent Redfield, a former political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, said Democrats who seriously oppose House Speaker Michael Madigan won't get far.

"For those who think they are going to be independent, criticizing the Speaker, voting against the Speaker, that would be disastrous for the representative and bad for the district," Redfield explained. "Madigan has a long memory and keeps score when members cross him. It can be isolating and ineffective if you go directly against him."

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 29, 2010, article in the Chicago Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100129-CDH-Is-taking-a-jab-at-House-Speaker2.pdf

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UIS consultants recommend consolidation of 3 districts

No action was taken as citizens from Abingdon, Avon and Bushnell-Prairie City school districts met in a packed Avon High School gym to address the feasibility of at least two districts consolidating their school systems. However, the three University of Illinois-Springfield professors who conducted the Avon-initiated study recommended the consolidation of all three school districts.

“What you have now is the information to make that decision,” said professor William H. Phillips, who lead the study. “But we think this would be the greatest opportunity to educate your students.”

The UIS consultants were featured in a January 29, 2010, article in the Galesburg Register-Mail.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100129-GRM-Consultants-recommend-consolidation.pdf

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Race for lieutenant gov takes wacky, pricey turn

The open office has attracted six Democrats and six Republicans and has seen a record amount of money raised and spent.

"It's a very unusual situation," said Kent Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield, who confirmed the race is the most expensive in the office's history. "If we hadn't had the impeachment [of Rod Blagojevich], it would be a lower profile sort of thing."

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 28, 2010, article in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100128-SunTimes-Race-for-lieutenant-gov.pdf

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jeans Day program is bad publicity for Brown

Dorothy Brown said Tuesday her campaign for Cook County Board president has moved past last week’s bad publicity surrounding her “Jeans Day” program, but political experts said the flap did serious damage to her candidacy.

According to Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS, “People are highlighting (the program) because it fits into what appears to be a larger pattern of soliciting donations from employees. There’s been a long tradition of elected officials essentially shaking down their employees for campaign contributions.”

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 27, 2010, article in the Medill Reports.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100126-MedillReport-JeansDay.pdf

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Primary fight taking over Illinois Democratic Party

Less than 14 months ago, Illinois Democrats were looking at a smooth road toward retaining total power in the next election.

Now, instead of entrenched incumbents in the state's two top offices, the Illinois Democratic Party goes into the campaign season with an unelected governor and an open Senate seat. The situation has spawned the rare spectacle of a sprawling primary fight within the ruling party.

"Rod Blagojevich isn't all of it by any stretch, but he's certainly some of it," Chris Mooney, professor of political science at UIS, said of the Democrats' lost cohesion.

Mooney's comments were featured in a January 27, 2010, article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100127-STLPostDispatch-Democrats.pdf

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Republicans are hungry for success in Illinois

Republicans hope Illinois primary voters won’t get election déjà vu in the battle for Rep. Bill Foster’s (D-Ill.) seat. But with the election a week away, history could be repeating itself as two GOP candidates battle it out for the party’s nomination.

Observers say Republicans are hungry for success in Illinois, and the party is getting better at
maneuvering its candidates through difficult primaries.

“This time around, in general, the Republicans are being more pragmatic than usual,” said Kent
Redfield
, professor emeritus of political science at UIS. “There certainly is still a big split among Republicans in terms of moderate and very conservative. But I think there’s a greater chance of papering it over this time.”

Redfield's observations were featured in a January 25, 2010, edition of The Hill.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100125-TheHill-election.pdf

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Congressional candidates not required to live in district

Under U.S. law, congressional candidates do not need to live within the district they wish to serve.

The Founding Fathers probably didn't make residency a Constitutional requirement for federal office because mobility was limited in the 18th century, said Kent Redfield, a political science professor emeritus at UIS, and district residency may have been taken for granted.

Redfield's comments were featured in the January 25, 2010, Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100125-DailyHerald-carpetbagging.pdf

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Hynes winning money race over Quinn

Incumbent Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn had less than half as much money as his Democratic opponent heading into the final weeks before the primary election, according to campaign finance records.

Quinn, the former lieutenant governor who has held the top spot less than a year, showed an incumbent’s fundraising power, collecting $3.1 million during the period to Dan Hynes’ $2.3 million, but Quinn started the six-month stretch with just $702,000 on hand.

“Quinn historically has been someone who has had a lot of trouble raising money and not a big interest in raising money,” UIS political science professor Kent Redfield said. “The difference is largely the head start that Hynes had.”

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 22, 2010, article in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100122-SJR-Hynesmoney.pdf

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Illinois politicians cashing big checks

After a year in which Illinois politicians passed landmark laws to rein in moneyed interests, candidates for governor are having no qualms about cashing big checks while they still can to keep their campaigns running.

Until 2012 limits are enforced, Illinois remains one of the few states where donors can give as much as they want to any candidate, as long as it is periodically disclosed.

"It is very difficult in a completely unregulated system to say unilaterally, 'I'm not going to raise money,'" says Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS.

And despite the economic recession that has sent unemployment to double digit levels, Redfield said there will always be a pile of cash for politicians.

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 24, 2010, article in the Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100124-DailyHerald-bigchecks.pdf

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Diversity Coalition reconvenes

After six years of inactivity, the Coalition to Promote Human Dignity and Diversity, dedicated to speaking out against bigotry, has reconvened in response to a cluster of incidents in 2009, including the hanging of nooses at city and state government workplaces.

“There was something different about last year, where people acted out acts of hatred quantitatively in a different way than had been occurring for quite a while within the city,” said Larry Golden, an emeritus professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, who is a member of the coalition.

The news was featured in a January 22, 2010, article in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100123-SJR-diversitycoalition.pdf

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Supreme Court rules against limits on corporate political spending

A Supreme Court ruling Thursday striking down limits on corporate political spending will be felt in election campaigns across the country this fall, especially in close Senate races like those predicted for Missouri and Illinois.

Illinois reform advocates say the ruling probably couldn't be used to challenge the new limits on state-level campaign donations that take effect next year because those limits apply only to donations of cash and services, not independent expenditures made on behalf of candidates.

But Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS and one of the proponents pushing the state to implement more limits, said the ruling could stymie future attempts by reformers to impose stronger restrictions in other areas.

Redfield's comments were featured in the January 22, 2010, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100122-STLPostDispatch-Cash.pdf

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Stroger puts away $500,000

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger squirreled away $500,000 in two certificates of deposit at the Amalgamated Bank in Chicago last August, even as his opponents were gearing up to spend hundreds of thousands on TV ads and other campaign expenditures.

"It certainly looks like he is more interested in putting money away in the bank than running for office," said Kent Redfield, political science professor emeritus at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in the January 2, 2010, Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article: 20100121-DailyHerald-Stroger.pdf

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Money will give Senate candidates an advantage

Already a hotly-contested race, the campaign for President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat is expected to get uglier and more expensive following today’s Supreme Court ruling that corporations and unions can spend as much as they want to sway voters.

“Big money is going to interject itself into federal elections,” and people with money always have an advantage, according to Kent Redfield, a political science professor at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 22, 2010, article in the Chicago Tribune.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100122-ChiTrib-SupremeCt.pdf

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ill. Democrats might worry after Mass. Republican win

Illinois will conduct primaries for Obama's old Senate seat and every statewide office in two weeks, right after an upset win for the Senate seat in Massachussettes by Republican Scott Brown.

Chris Mooney, professor of political science at UIS, said Illinois Democrats in general might have to worry about the image of partywide complacency and sense of entitlement that has hurt the party in Massachusetts.

Mooney's comments were featured in a January 21, 2010, article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100121-STLPostDispatch-elections.pdf

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Illinois primary just around the corner

Illinois voters are less than two weeks away from a high-stakes election that will determine which candidates continue their quest for governor, U.S. Senate and a handful of other offices in the state.

However, many people don't realize an election is just around the corner or they've likely had very little time to learn about the candidates.

Kent Redfield, a professsor emeritus of political science at UIS, said voters tend not to focus much on political campaigns during the holiday season, which makes it hard for candidates to get their messages heard.

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 19, 2010, article in the St. Louis Beacon.

Download a PDF of the article: 20100119-STLBeacon-Primary.pdf

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Obama magic fading in Chicago

President Barack Obama's political magic is now giving way to sobering realities of time, distance and enormously elevated responsibilities a year after he took office, even in his hometown of Chicago.

"At the very least, it will become part of the keepsake box of the city, like having Oprah in town or being home to the 1893 World's Fair," said Chris Mooney, a political scientist at the University of Illinois' Springfield campus. "Every big city needs to be noticed now and then. Even if you're already the prom queen, it's nice to be complimented."

Mooney's comments were featured in a January 18, 2010, article in the Chicago Tribune.

Download a PDF of the article: 20100118-ChiTrib-ObamaChicago.pdf

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Primary election favors incumbents

Illinois' Feb. 2 primary election comes so soon after the holiday season, it usually leads to uninformed choices by the voters and an advantage for incumbents, who have both name recognition and time to raise more funds than new candidates, according to political experts like Dr. Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in an article about the fast-approaching primary election in a January 8, 2010, article in the Kankakee Daily Journal.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100108-KankakeeJournal-primary%20election.pdf

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Schillerstrom likely needs longer than one term to fix Ill. state government

Bob Schillerstrom, a Republican who is running for governor, plans for just one term if elected, saying that four years is all he needs to do the work.

But with Illinois is facing a $13 billion budget deficit, it will likely take longer than one term to fix the state's problems, according to Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 7, 2010, article in the Illinois Statehouse News.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100107-ILStatehouseNews-Schillerstrom.pdf

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Increased voter registration doesn't necessarily mean big turnout

Voter registration for the February primary is at an all-time high, but increased registration does not always mean increased turnout, according to Ron Michaelson, political science professor at UIS.

Michaelson's comments were featured in a January 7, 2010, article published by the Illinois Statehouse News.

Download a PDF of the article:
20100107-ILStatehouseNews-voters.pdf

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Political candidates use social media during campaigns

A year after Obama's historic election during which he utilized social media to build his support, candidates across the country - and throughout the Chicago suburbs - are following suit. Candidates running for federal, state and even county offices are campaigning via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and e-mail.

If you don't have a Web site, people assume you aren't credible, according to Kent Redfield, political science professor emeritus at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in a January 2, 2010, article in the Chicago Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article: 20100102-DailyHerald-socialmedia.pdf

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Hasara on board as Illinois trustee

Former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara is one of six new trustees named to the University of Illinois board by Gov. Pat Quinn.

"The thing that means the most is that I’m the first UIS grad to be on the board, and it’s been really exciting to people in Springfield and at UIS," said Hasara.

Do you see yourself as being an advocate for UIS on the board?

"I see my main goal as being a representative of the university system. But certainly I will be an advocate because there is no other person on the board who knows UIS the way I do," said Hasara.

Hasara's comments were featured in a December 21, 2009, edition of the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20091221-SJR-Hasara-on-board.pdf

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With no incumbent, 10th Congressional district up for grabs

As Mark Kirk bows out of the 10th Congressional race to run for U.S. Senate, the political doors again are open for both democrats and republicans.

"I think it's likely to be an expensive, high-profile race that gets national attention," said Kent Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Voter mood also has changed since the 2008 Democratic whirlwind led by President Barack Obama.

"It will be interesting to see who's playing offense and who's playing defense," Redfield said.

Redfield's comments were featured in a December 20, 2009, edition of the Chicago Daily Herald

Download a PDF of the article:
20091220-Daily-Herald-10th-Congressional.pdf

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Judy Baar Topinka attempts return to state office

Republican Judy Baar Topinka is attempting to return to statewide office. At 65, she's running for Illinois comptroller, saying she can't stand to see state government engulfed by financial problems.

Though she was constantly bad-mouthed by former governor Rod Blagojevich, she still has two weapons in her arsenal: strong name recognition and a scandal-free reputation, according to Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in a December 17, 2009, article in the Chicago Tribune about Topinka's comeback.

Download a PDF of the article
20091217-ChiTrib-Topinka.pdf

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Illinois divides over Thomson-Gitmo decision

The government has purchased the Thomson Correctional Center to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay in Thomson, Ill.

The purchase was the feature of a December 15, 2009, news story by WAND-TV Channel 17. UIS' Baker Siddiquee, associate professor of economics, was interviewed for the story.

See the broadcast story here.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Democrats try to retain power during redistricting

Every 10 years, Illinois lawmakers break out their markers and redistrict the state’s legislative districts, which produces political strife during the year to come.

Democrats currently hold all of the power and will be focusing on retaining it, according to Kent Redfield, a political science professor emeritus at UIS.

Redfield's comments were featured in a December 14, 2009, article in the Chicago Current.

Download a PDF of the article
20091214-ChiCurrent-redistrict.pdf

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Budget crisis could get worse in Illinois

Though the Illinois state budget seems to be bad enough, it could get worse, experts say.

Ultimately, budget crises in some states can even lead to the closing down of state government for brief periods, according to Chris Mooney, a political science professor at UIS. State shutdowns, or the threat of one, may be one of the few things that convince lawmakers to make the more difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions, like raising taxes and cutting services, he said.

Mooney's comments were featured in a December 14, 2009, article on Stateline.org.

Download a PDF of the article
20091214-Stateline-statebudget.pdf

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Professor weighs in on power company's proposed plan

Rocky Mountain Power in Salt Lake City wants to change the way it bills customers for the electricity they use, a decision it says will help lower costs and allow Utahns to better track their electricity usage and respond to changing prices, but that is receiving criticism from experts in the field.

Karl A. McDermott, a professor of business and government at UIS, was one expert who weighed in on the situation in a December 11, 2009, article in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Download a PDF of the article
20091211-SaltLakeTribune-utility.pdf

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Rate plan receives criticism from experts

Customers who buy their power from Duke Energy in South Carolina face a 9.2 percent price hike by February under a settlement agreement between the company and the Office of Regulatory Staff, the state agency charged with protecting the public interest in utility matters.

If South Carolina's Office of Regulatory Staff had employed the same average and peak method for cost allocation method as other states like Michigan, Duke's residential customers might not be facing such a steep rate hike at the same time manufacturers are set to get a decrease, according to Carl Peterson, a professor in the Center for Business and Regulation at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Comments from Peterson were featured in a December 11, 2009 article published in the (South Carolina) State.

Download a PDF of the article

20091211-State-Dukerateplan.pdf

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lawmakers suspected of favoring politically-connected with scholarships

Lawmakers have awarded at least 197 tuition-free scholarships to relatives of campaign contributors, and some lawmakers and good government groups have raised concerns that the scholarship program favors the politically connected.

Charles N. Wheeler, III, director of the public affairs program at UIS, said lawmakers can protect themselves from suspicion by using independent committees and using objective guidelines to nominate scholarship recipients.

Wheeler's comments were featured in a December 8, 2009, article in the Southwest Daily Herald.

Download a PDF of the article

20091208-SWnewsherald-campaigndonors.pdf

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Forum includes former and current WUIS news directors

Six of the seven Republican candidates for governor will participate in a forum Monday in Springfield.

Rich Bradley, who recently retired as WUIS-FM news director, will moderate the forum and the panel of reporters asking questions will include Sean Crawford, current WIUS news director.

The forum was announced in the December 9, 2009, State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article
20091209-SJR-repubforum.pdf

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Presidential search forum at UIS

Members of the University of Illinois’ presidential search committee hope a public forum allowed faculty, students, staff and the general public an opportunity to discuss qualities they feel are needed by the university’s next president.

“We like as many comments as possible,” said U of I trustee Karen Hasara of Springfield, who chaired the forum. “We’re hoping the publicity will encourage people to e-mail.”

The forum was featured in a December 9, 2009, edition of the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20091209-SJR-Presidential-search-forum.pdf

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One year later: 'Blagojevich hangover' continues

Believe it or not it was one year ago today (December 9, 2008) that FBI agents knocked on Rod Blagojevich's front door and opened the final chapter in the former governor's troubled tenure in office.

Political science professor Kent Redfield said it could be a decade or more before the state is cured of its "Blagojevich hangover."

The University of Illinois at Springfield professor says voters will have to find new faith in new leaders. He said Blagojevich did so much damage that voters may have a hard time trusting any elected official.

Redfield's comments were featured in a December 8, 2009, edition of the Quad-Cities Dispatch-Argus.

Download a PDF of the article:
20091208-QuadCities-One-year-Blagojevich.pdf

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

UIS Downstate Innocence Project director comments on big case

On November 10, filing by Illinois State's Attorney Anita Alvarez raised serious questions about the methods students used to gather evidence in a case currently in Cook County Circuit Court. The actions will have a big impact on the case of Anthony McKinney, whose case is being worked on by students at Northwestern University's Center for Wrongful Convictions.

Larry Golden, co-director of the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project and a professor emeritus at UIS, teaches classes on wrongful convictions. Golden's comments were featured in a December 7, 2009, article in the Truthout about McKinney's case.

Download a PDF of the article

20091207-truthout-innocenceproject.pdf

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quinn uses office to advantage with State of the State Address

In 2010, Gov. Pat Quinn will stand before legislators and lay out his vision for state government. His State of the State address could be a State of the Campaign address as well, some say, and criticize him for taking advantage of his office during the election.

But that's the kind of perk that comes with being governor, according to Chris Mooney, professor of political science at UIS.

Mooney's comments were featured in a December 3, 2009, article in the State Journal-Register about the topic.

Download a PDF of the article
20091203-SJR-Quinnstateaddress.pdf

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ethnicity in politics: 1986 and beyond

The last Polish-American to seek a prominent state office was Aurelia Pucinski, daughter of prominent Polish-American politician and community leader Roman Pucinski. He served as U.S. Representative from 1959 to 1973 and alderman (41st) from 1973 to 1991.

In 1986, Aurelia Pucinski ran for secretary of state alongside George E. Sangmeister for lieutenant governor and Adlai Stevenson for governor with the Solidarity Party.

Charlie H. Wheeler, director of the public affairs reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield, said that Pucinski and Sangmeister didn’t necessarily lose because of their ethnic names.

Wheeler's comments were featured in a December 1, 2009, article in Medill Reports.

Download a PDF of the article:
20091201-Medill-Ethnicity-in-politics.pdf

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Social networking sites are beneficial tools for government candidates

Those running for statewide office in Illinois see the Internet and its new social networking tools as inexpensive, invaluable gateways to reach voters. The emergence of the Internet as an everyday part of life has political candidates pushing the boundaries of “e-campaigning,” from Facebook and Twitter posts to YouTube videos and blogs, just as President Obama did in his presidential campaign.

“A lot of folks say, ‘I want to be like Barack,’” said Michael Cheney, a senior fellow at the Institute of Government and Politics at the University of Illinois, in a November 30, 2009, article in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article
20091130-SJR-ecampaigning.pdf

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State government candidates use Obama's campaign practices

State political candidates have collected donations and campaigned through the World Wide Web for years, but now social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, are taking over the campaign trail.

The trend comes in part from President Obama's campaign, which took his message directly to voters, according to Michael Cheney, a senior fellow at the Institute of Government and Politics at the University of Illinois. Cheney's comments were featured in a November 30, 2009, article in the Chicago Tribune.

Download a PDF of the article
20091130-ChiTrib-campaignssocialnetworking.pdf

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Locals weigh in on U.S. in Afghanistan

Local veterans weighed in about the strategy of the U.S. in Afghanistan during a news story from WICS channel 20 on Sunday, November 29, 2009.

Chris Mooney, professor of political science at UIS, commented during the story about the connection of health care reform and sending more troops in.

To watch the news clip, go here.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Cuomo took campaign cash from lawyers with matters before him

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s campaign fund took tens of thousands of dollars from law firms representing clients his office investigated or accused of wrongdoing, state records show.

If Cuomo were to reject lawyer donations to avoid any appearance of conflict, he could still raise enough for “a credible campaign,” said Ronald Michaelson, a former national chairman of the Council of Governmental Ethics Laws who teaches at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

“Even if he’s going to use the money in a gubernatorial race, he would still be the attorney general,” he said in an e- mail. “The perception of impropriety is obviously clear, and that’s reason enough to refuse the money.”

Michaelson's comments were featured in an November 23, 2009 Bloomberg.com article.

Download a PDF of the article:
20091123-Bloomberg-Cuomo.pdf

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Military loan program expanding in Illinois

State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is expanding a state-operated loan program that aims to help military veterans regain their financial footing once they return home from deployment.

Shannon Kirby, a University of Illinois Springfield student and a Navy veteran, said she wished the program had been available for her after she left active duty in 2008.

“I came back home. I didn’t have a lot of money saved up,” said Kirby, 30, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Kirby was featured in an November 10, 2009 article in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article:
20091110-SJR-Military-loan-program-expan.pdf

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Funding in limbo for low-income college students

Gov. Pat Quinn pledged in October to reinstate the remaining $205 million in Monetary Award Program (MAP) funds to keep the program in full force for the next fiscal year. But where exactly the money will come from, and its effect on a growing state budget deficit, is undecided.

“This was done without a real clear revenue source,” said University of Illinois-Springfield political science professor emeritus Kent Redfield. “This is one more drop in the bucket in terms of a really, really bad (budget) situation.”

Redfield's comments were featured in a November 5, 2009 Elmhurst Press article.

Download a the article as a PDF.
20091105-Elmhurst-Funding-in-limbo.pdf

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

February primary ballots to be lengthy

The question almost becomes, “Who’s not running for governor or U.S. Senate?”

The close of the filing period for the Feb. 2 primary on Monday left seven Republicans, four Democrats and two Green Party candidates running for governor and eight Republicans, seven Democrats and one Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate.

Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield, said Democrats have the problem of having inherited “an incredible mess” from ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Redfield's comments were featured in an November 3, 2009 State Journal-Register article.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091103-SJR-February-primary-ballots.pdf

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Illinois' borrowing bonanza

Facing both an election and the politically unpalatable prospects of raising taxes or cutting social programs, Gov. Pat Quinn and lawmakers increasingly have turned to borrowing as a quick fix and are on track to rack up more than $6.5 billion in loans to keep the state afloat.

As University of Illinois at Springfield state budget expert Charles Wheeler asks: "How are they going to pay that money back?"

Wheeler's comments were featured in an November 2, 2009 article in the Chicago Tribune.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091102-TRIB-chi-state-of-denial.pdf

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Innocence Project to sponsor DNA workshop

A workshop on post-conviction DNA testing is being held at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Auditorium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Registration is still open to the public.

The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project housed at UIS is sponsoring the workshop on introducing Touch DNA to Illinois courtrooms. The program features the defense team of Timothy Masters, convicted in 1999 of murder in 1987 in Fort Collins, Colo.

The article was featured in an October 28, 2009 edition of the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091028-SJR-Innocence-Project.pdf

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

GOP Candidates for Illinois Governor Meet in Forum

While the five Republican candidates tackled questions about education, abortion and government reform, two of the biggest names looming in the GOP primary race were missing from the event: former Illinois GOP chairman Andy McKenna and former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan.

Ryan's entry into the race could help overcome a potential weakness in the Republican field, said Chris Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

''There are no statewide-elected or former statewide-elected officials in the field,'' he said.

Mooney's comments were featured in an Associated Press article which appeared on the New York Times and Washington Post websites.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091021-NYT-GOP-Candidates-for-Illinois.pdf

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Funding MAP Grants could add to state budget crisis

Michelle Claussen is a junior at the University of Illinois Springfield. She relies on several forms of financial aid including MAP Grants to keep her in school.

When MAP grant funding was slashed she worried about how she'd pay for school, but now that the funding has been restored some believe the financial hardship has been handed over to the state.

"We're spending more than we're taking in on a regular basis," said UIS Political Science Professor Chris Mooney.

The story was featured in a WICS-TV 20 report on October 20, 2009 by reporter Heather Hubbs.

Watch the story online:
http://www.wics.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wics_vid_748.shtml

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Upstate split benefits Brady in gubernatorial race

These are the best of times for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady of Bloomington.

"For Brady, this is all a benefit because he'd like to see the others fight it out," said Chris Mooney, a political scientist at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

"The fact that there are seven candidates now means that no one has been able to clear the field," said Kent Redfield, another University of Illinois at Springfield political scientist. "But in the cold light of day they're going to look at what it costs to do media buys and someone is going to drop out."

Mooney and Redfield were featured in an October 18, 2009 article in the Champaign News-Gazette.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091018-NG-upstate_split_benefits_Brady.pdf

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Friday, October 16, 2009

MAP grant threat brings college students to Springfield

The threat of losing a key piece of financial aid next semester spurred thousands of Illinois college students to rally Thursday in Springfield and pressure lawmakers to replenish funding for the Monetary Award Program.

Jaime Casinova, a University of Illinois Springfield junior, said he depends entirely on financial aid -- including MAP grants -- to attend college.

MAP grant recipient Charles Olivier, a junior at UIS, said education should be one of the state's top funding priorities, he said.

The students comments were featured in an October 16, 2009 edition of the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091016-SJR-MAP-grant-threat.pdf

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

GOP governor candidates appear at forum

Five GOP candidates for Illinois governor fielded questions about subjects ranging from college tuition costs to budget reduction to 2nd Amendment rights during a forum at the University of Illinois Springfield on Wednesday.

The candidates included Sen. Bill Brady, Sen. Kirk Dillard, DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, Political Commentator Dan Proft and Businessman Adam Andrzejewski. The forum was hosted by the College Republicans at UIS and the Illinois College Republican Federation.

Highlights from the debate were featured in an October 15, 2009 State Journal-Register article.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091015-SJR-GOP-gubernatorial-candidate.pdf

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Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Face Off

The University of Illinois Springfield College Republican's hosted five GOP candidates for governor in an October 14, 2009 forum at Brookens Auditorium.

Candidates answered questions on a variety of issues and talked about why they are running.

WICS-TV 20's Kelly Larson reported on the forum during the 10:00 news on October 14th.

Watch the story online:
http://www.wics.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wics_vid_718.shtml

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quinn fights for college grants he helped cut

To hear Gov. Pat Quinn tell it, the General Assembly failed tens of thousands of would-be college students by slashing funding for a financial aid program.

For more than a month, Quinn has crisscrossed Illinois, promising to push lawmakers to find $200 million for the Monetary Award Program and chastising them for leaving 137,000 students wondering if they'll be able to pay tuition next spring -- even though he helped create the problem.

"It's not fair at all," said Kent Redfield, an emeritus political science professor at the University Illinois-Springfield. "It's the governor's budget, he signed off on it. There was clearly enough discretionary spending in what the governor signed off on to cover this."

Redfield's comments were featured in an October 14, 2009 Associated Press article, which was published in the Chicago Tribune and State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091014-Trib-chi-ap-il-quinn-higheredmon%2C.pdf

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Larry Golden: Secrecy gets city into trouble time and again

Larry Golden, emeritus professor of political science and legal studies at the University of Illinois Springfield was featured in an October 14, 2009 State Journal-Register opinion column.

"The recent State Journal-Register editorial on the Springfield Civil Service Commission’s consideration of the suspension of City Water, Light and Power workers in the noose incident was merely an introduction to an event with secretive and anti-democratic actions that bring shame to the entire city and its citizens," wrote Golden.

Download the entire opinion article as a PDF.
20091014-SJR-Larry-Golden-Secrecy-ge.pdf

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Illinois Issues magazine starts program with libraries

Illinois Issues, the not-for-profit public affairs magazine published at the University of Illinois Springfield, has started a new program in cooperation with state legislators to provide the magazine and other publications to public libraries.

“Issues for Citizens,” designed to promote public policy information and education through the public library system, began last month with 31 legislators providing Illinois Issues to 59 libraries across the state.

The program was featured in an October 12, 2009 story in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091012-SJR-Illinois-Issues-magazi.pdf

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Hynes first to air TV ad in Ill. gov.'s race

Democrat Dan Hynes criticizes Gov. Pat Quinn's tax proposal while touting his own plan to raise income taxes in the first TV ad of the governor's race, which debuted Thursday.

It's risky for Hynes to spend money on TV airtime now, but it's understandable because he's trying to topple a sitting governor, said Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

"It's a risk because people aren't really thinking politics. On the other hand, he's playing catch-up. He doesn't really have any other option," Redfield said.

Redfield's comments were featured in an October 8, 2009 Chicago Tribune article.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091008-TRIB-chi-ap-il-governorsrace-hy%2C0.pdf

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Sangamon Co. Sheriff lobbies for budget increase

The Sangamon County Sheriff is calling for a sales tax hike to fill a growing budget gap.

WAND-TV 17 reporter Gordan Graham interviewed UIS Public Administration Associate Professor Beverly Bunch about the growing trend across the country.

"At some point it comes down to what services we can afford," said Bunch.

The report aired on October 8, 2009.
Watch the full report online

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Republican Forum at UIS

Several remaining candidates for governor are slated to participate in a forum from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Brookens Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The College Republicans at UIS and the Illinois College Republican Foundation are hosting the event, which is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served afterward.

Among candidates planning to attend are state Sens. KIRK DILLARD and BILL BRADY, DuPage County Board Chairman BOB SCHILLERSTROM, businessman ADAM ANDRZEJEWSKI and political activist DAN PROFT.

The forum was featured in Bernard Schoenburg's column on October 8, 2009 in the State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091008-SJR-Bernard-Schoenburg-Ald.pdf

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Illinois not alone in disputes over high-speed rail

Illinois isn't the only state where some local officials are balking at the prospect of having high-speed passenger rail service running through their communities.

For sure, not everyone in Springfield is against the high-speed rail line.

In a letter to federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, University of Illinois-Springfield Chancellor Richard Ringeisen expressed support for the concept.

Ringeisen's comments were featured in an October 7, 2009 edition of the Bloomington Pantagraph.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091007-Pantagraph-Illinois-not-alone.pdf

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Chicago supporters crushed, confused by early elimination

An audible gasp swept through the Daley Plaza when the large-screen video boards showed Chicago's elimination in the first round of voting for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Kent Redfield, political science professor at University of Illinois Springfield, said "Obama is personally very popular internationally, but the U.S. as a country is still suffering the fallout of eight years of the cowboy foreign policy under Bush. Any acting out of negative feelings" by the IOC "is more a repudiation of the U.S.'s image and standing in the world, which Obama is trying to repair."

Redfield's comments were featured in a October 3, 2009 edition of USA Today.

Download a PDF of the article.
20091003-USAToday-Chicago-supporters.pdf

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