One of the newest mailpieces from Sam Rosenberg, the Democratic candidate for the Illinois House in the 103rd District, gets an award for political chutzpah.
It's paid for by the Democratic Majority political action committee chaired by House Speaker Michael Madigan.
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But the mailer — one of about half a dozen sent out in the last week on behalf of Rosenberg — hits "politicians who failed to properly fund the state's pensions," and promises that Rosenberg "will oppose any legislation that unfairly strips workers of their retirements."
On both counts, that's Michael Madigan.
Madigan has been in Springfield longer than any other state legislator (elected in 1970), has served as speaker for all but two of the last 31 years, and was running the House during the famous "pension holiday" of 2005, when Gov. Rod Blagojevich persuaded lawmakers to cut pension funding by $2.3 billion over two years (Madigan voted for it, as did state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, who has also endorsed Rosenberg).
Also unsaid in the mailpiece is that it was Madigan who last year pushed through the Legislature a bill — vehemently opposed by public employee and retiree groups — that slows the increase in cost-of-living raises.
"The bill would not have passed without me," Madigan boasted in a statement after controversial Senate Bill 1 was signed into law.
"The promise of a secure retirement was made to hundreds of thousands of workers in Illinois," says Rosenberg's anti-Madigan mailer paid for by Madigan.
The mailer never says that Madigan, as head of the Democratic Majority committee, had a major role in breaking that promise.
Meanwhile, Rosenberg's campaign continues to benefit from Madigan-related groups. Of the $109,149 the campaign has raised so far (including loans and in-kind contributions), more than $42,000 has come from either the Democratic Majority or the Friends of Michael J. Madigan.
Rosenberg's primary opponent, Urbana City Council member Carol Ammons, has raised a fraction of Rosenberg's sum, about $11,229.
Gill leaving state job
Dr. David Gill, the Democratic candidate for the 13th Congressional District race in 2012, last week left his $127,739-a-year position with the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Gill said his resignation was effective March 1 and that he would "get back to full-time emergency medicine," working at hospitals in Normal, Gibson City and Alton.
Even though he was appointed assistant director of the public health department in May, he was never confirmed by the state Senate.
"I leave without any negative feelings. I think the people doing that work are making a sacrifice," he said. "As far as the family budget, to do right by my family, I needed to get back to the full-time practice of emergency medicine. But I leave there very amicably."
He said he plans to continue working at the three hospitals, "just expanding my hours."
When he ran for Congress in 2012, Gill disclosed that in 2011, he made $311,420 as an independent emergency-room physician.
He said he eventually hoped to run for public office again, but likely not this year.
And he said he would continue to "stay neutral" in this spring's three-way 13th District Democratic primary among Ann Callis, George Gollin and David Green.
But the seat "still interests me," Gill said. "I want to see the people of Illinois 13 represented appropriately. I still feel that the voters got a raw deal last time, with the views by (independent candidate) John Hartman and I winning the day by 6 or 7 points, but those views aren't being represented in Washington, D.C., right now."
In the 2012 election, Gill got 46.21 percent, Hartman got 7.24 percent and the winner, Republican Rodney Davis, got 46.55 percent.
"I certainly would like to see the majority of people have their voice in Washington, which I believe they aren't. They got cheated by the way John Hartman and I split the votes," Gill said.
Harold to speak at CPAC
Erika Harold of Urbana, one of three Republican candidates in the 13th District, will speak Saturday at CPAC 2014, the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., as one of the top 10 conservatives under 40.
"We are pleased to announce that Erika Harold has been selected as one of our top 10 conservatives under 40," said American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas. "Our focus at CPAC has always been to showcase rising stars in the conservative movement. The depth and diversity of young leaders like Erika provides hope for America's future as we face tough challenges ahead."
Harold, a Harvard Law School graduate and Miss America 2003, is challenging U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, in the March 18 primary, along with Michaal Firesching of Moro.
Democratic congressional candidate Ann Callis picked up the endorsement of about 30 local Democrats last week, including Jakobsson; Champaign Mayor Don Gerard; Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing; State's Attorney Julia Rietz; county board members Michael Richards, Josh Hartke, Chris Alix and James Quisenberry; and Champaign City Council member Marci Dodds.
Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign and former Champaign County Board Chairwoman Patricia Avery will host a fundraiser for county board candidate Tony Fabri (suggested donation $25) from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Radio Maria, 119 N. Walnut St., C.
Joanne Chester and John Peterson will hold a brunch fundraiser for Callis from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at their home, 702 W. Pennsylvania Ave., U. Suggested donation levels are $25, $50 and $100.
Naomi and Eric Jakobsson will host a fundraiser for Rosenberg (suggested donation $25) from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at their home, 803 W. Main St., U.
Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.