FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                        Date: April 16, 2003

                                                                                                Contact: Barbara Ferrara, 206-7094

 

UIS' Lincoln Presidential Center to host summit on politics and ethics in Illinois

 

SPRINGFIELD - Is there something ingrained in Illinois' political culture that makes state government especially susceptible to ethical missteps? This and other questions will be explored in "Politics and Ethics in Illinois: Past, Present, and Future," the 2003 Public Policy Summit sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Center for Governmental Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The event will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, in the Public Affairs Center on the UIS campus.

Although the summit is free and open to the public, reservations are required and should be made by contacting Charlene Lambert at (217) 206-6502 no later than Monday, April 21. 

This year's summit will examine the current ethical health of Illinois government and generate suggestions for improving it.  Judge Abner Mikva, professor of law at the University of Chicago, will deliver the keynote address focusing on the roots of Illinois' present-day political culture.

A former state legislator, Judge Mikva also served five terms in Congress before being appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1979. He was named Chief Judge in 1991 and served in that position until he became White House legal counsel for the Clinton administration in 1994. His publications include Ethics in Government: Not an Oxymoron.

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Following Judge Mikva's address, a roundtable discussion will examine the present political culture in state government and politics, as well as what should, or can, be changed. Discussants will include Cynthia Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform; Howard Carroll, former state senator from Chicago and an expert on state finance and public health care; David Kenney, professor emeritus of political science at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and former head of Illinois' Department of Conservation and Historic Preservation Agency; Mike Lawrence, associate director of the Public Policy Institute at SIU-C and former press secretary and senior policy adviser to Gov. Jim Edgar; Howard Peters III, vice president of the Illinois Hospital Association, deputy chief of staff to Governor Edgar, and first director of the Illinois Department of Human Services; Alan Rosenthal, professor of political science at Rutgers University and expert on legislative ethics, campaign finance, and redistricting; and Kent Redfield, professor of political studies at UIS and author of several books including Money Counts: How Dollars Dominate Illinois Politics.  Charles Wheeler, director of the Public Affairs Reporting program at UIS and past-president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association, will moderate.

Also during the summit, Richard Schuldt, director of UIS' Survey Research Office, will release the results of a new statewide survey on public perceptions of state government and politics and tolerance for corruption.

The center's Public Policy Summits are designed to bring former state government leaders together with activists and scholars for in-depth exploration of major public policy issues, with the intent of  developing effective options for addressing the issues.

For more information, contact Barbara Ferrara, associate director of the Lincoln Center, at (217) 206-7094.

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2003 Public Policy Summit Speaker Bios

 

Judge Abner J. Mikva of Chicago, keynote speaker, began his long public career in the Illinois legislature and eventually went on to five terms in Congress, appointment as a federal judge, and White House Counsel. Now Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, he is the author of Ethics in Government: Not an Oxymoron.

 

Cynthia Canary is director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and a past executive director of the League of Woman Voters of Illinois. She has served on the Chicago Bar Association Special Committee on Judicial Campaign Finance Reform and the American Bar Association Commission on Public Financing of Judicial Campaigns.

 

Howard W. Carroll (D-Chicago) served 26 years in the Illinois Senate, including six as Assistant Minority Leader and 16 as chair of the Appropriations Committee. Senator Carroll is an expert in state finance and public health care.

 

David Kenney moved from a teaching and publishing career at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale to the hurly burly of state politics. Elected first as a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1970, he was appointed by Gov. Jim Thompson to head the Illinois Department of Conservation and later the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

 

Mike Lawrence, former press secretary and senior policy adviser to Gov. Jim Edgar, was a journalist and columnist for 25 years. He is currently the associate director of the Public Policy Institute of Southern Illinois University.

 

Howard A. Peters III moved from being Gov. Edgar's deputy chief of staff to the first director of the Illinois Department of Human Services, the mega-agency that centralized the state's social service programs. His previous career in corrections spanned many of the state's adult and juvenile facilities.

 

Kent Redfield is a professor of political studies and a research fellow with the UIS

Institute for Legislative Studies. He wrote Cash Clout: Political Money in Illinois Legislative Elections and Money Counts: How Dollars Dominate Illinois Politics.

 

Alan Rosenthal won the New Jersey Governor's Award for Public Service for his work on legislative ethics, campaign finance, and redistricting. A professor of political science based at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, he is a frequent consultant to other state legislatures seeking reform.

 

Richard Schuldt is director of the Survey Research Office of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Center for Governmental Studies at UIS.  He will present the results of the recent "Illinois Political Ethics Survey" at the summit.

 

Charles N. Wheeler III is director of the UIS Public Affairs Reporting Program and a past president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association. He is a regular contributor to Illinois Issues magazine and the "State Week in Review" radio program.