Thanksgiving is a day when, traditionally here at Team America, we sit back after dinner, fingers laced over distended stomach, and bang out a bunch of deep political thoughts on the keyboard to keep us occupied through the turkey digestion process. I'm a little late in doing that today, but spent a lot of time with the family, which, after all, is what Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be all about after all. So, let's get to it:
First off, I'm pretty pumped about Senator-Elect Mark Kirk getting sworn in on Monday evening in Washington, DC. Of course, we'll have to suffer through the fact that it's VP Joe Biden performing the swearing-in, but we'll deal with it. I truly look forward to a lot of great things from Mark in the next six years. His depth of experience, especially in foreign policy, is going to be extremely important in the U.S. Senate, as we can see just in the past few days with the craziness being exhibited by North Korea. Mark is also expected to work closely with Senator Dick Durbin for the good of Illinois (yes, I know, stop grinding those teeth, but it's necessary for the betterment of the state, campers).
We'll also be looking from great things coming from our new Congressional leaders like Bob Dold and Joe Walsh. I think all of the new Republican congressmen are well aware of the mission that the American people have sent them to Washington to fulfil -- less government, more restraint, boost the economy and maintain individual freedoms. And tell TSA to keep their hands off our junk, while you're at it (look for that to be the #1 phrase for the year).
Next, looking at the state general assembly and state government as a whole, things look a lot grimmer. Yes, we got Dan Rutherford and Judy Baar Topinka in, ending the recent Dem lock on the top statewide offices, but Mike Madigan is still firmly in charge of Springfield, and Governor Pat Quinn had to cut so many deals and owes so much to organized labor, it's unclear just how the state is going to bail itself out of this mess. Will Madigan allow things to continue to degenerate for four more years to put the blame on Quinn and install daughter Lisa Madigan in the Guv mansion? Will the state's finances even last that long?
As to the GA, at least we're sending Suzi Schmidt down there to shake things up a bit. Between her and Senator Dan Duffy, my old college football teammate, they are really going to wonder what's in the water up here that molds these mavericks we are sending down to Springfield. It's really too bad we didn't do a better job shaking up the state representative ranks, but we'll keep pushing next cycle.
Speaking of next cycle, look for my good friend Keith Gray to make another run at State Senator to finally unseat Terry Link, who, having flubbed a run for Lt. Governor and embarrassing himself over a try for Senate President, is back to his old obsession of landing a casino in Lake County. There also is word that Link may, instead of running for Senate again, run for Mayor of Waukegan, which many folks suggest has always been a dream of his.
We'll all be watching the remap process very closely, as the remap year means that next cycle, ALL state senators and state representatives are up for election, in a presidential year when we can expect Barack Obama to be back on the ballot. So that'll be interesting to say the least.
On the County Board level, the word is that the decision on county board chairman is all but done, and it looks like it will be David Stolman from Buffalo Grove. Ann Maine of Lincolnshire is most likely to be the new Forest Preserve Board President, from what I'm hearing. All 15 county board seats will be up for election this next cycle, with a new map in place, so we'll also no doubt see a lot of jockeying and probably new faces this next time around.
That's all I have time for right now, but feel free to add your own comments, insights, observations and words-from-the-trenches, as you always do.
Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving!