Edited by Jennifer Davis
The Illinois Campaign Finance Project received a national award for citizen education from a government research association. The project's two-year study on this state's campaign finance laws included recommendations released earlier this year
Former Gov. William Stratton and former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon headed the project's task force, which called for greater disclosure of contributions and expenditures, a limit on the amount legislative leaders can donate to campaigns, and creation of a permanent commission to monitor political money. Illinois Issues publisher Ed Wojcicki directed the project in collaboration with the Institute for Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
The "Most Effective Citizen Education" award from the Alabamabased Governmental Research Association was given to Wojcicki in July at the GRA's national convention in Boston.
The late state Sen. Harry "Babe" Woodyard of Chrisman, remembered by many for his conservation efforts, now has a rural sanctuary named in his honor. This summer, Gov. Jim Edgar dedicated the Harry "Babe" Woodyard State Natural Area. A former farmer, Woodyard championed many agricultural and environmental initiatives throughout his 18-year tenure in the Illinois House and Senate.
"Babe Woodyard loved the outdoors," Edgar said. "He had a strong conviction that a healthy environment and outdoor recreation were important components of the quality of life of all Illinoisans."
The 1,044-acre site is located in southeastern Vermilion County and includes a segment of the Little Vermilion River that remains unchanged from the time Illinois was first settled. Sixteen state endangered or threatened species of plants and animals inhabit the site; its woodlands serve as a refuge for songbirds that require dense forest habitat to survive. The Department of Natural Resources acquired the property in September 1995, and much of it will remain in its natural state.
Woodyard died in January after
suffering a stroke. He was appointed
to Edgar's state House seat in 1979
when Edgar moved on to a position
with then-Gov. James Thompson.
The popular Woodyard won each of
his re-election bids.
John Hope Franklin, a former University of Chicago history department chair, will head a presidential advisory panel on race relations. Franklin taught at the university for 20 years and has written texts about U.S. black history.
Laird M. Ozmon of Joliet is the new president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. Ozmon, a 1979 graduate of the Loyola University College of Law, succeeds Geoffrey L. Gifford of Chicago.
Kevin Martin is the new executive director of the Illinois Insurance Information Service, replacing retiring Norman Godden. Martin was director of government affairs for the organization. Prior to that, he served as Gov. Edgar's deputy director of government affairs. The Illinois Insurance Information Service, a not-for-profit organization, provides insurance information to consumers.
Mary McNeil, a longtime Statehouse reporter, will resign October 10 from WUIS/WIPA, the public radio station at the University of Illinois at Springfield. McNeil began by covering local government for the station in 1986. In 1992, she moved to the Statehouse. She will continue to free-lance for the station.
Niki Ziegler joined the Statehouse bureau of The Associated Press. Ziegler, a Rockford native, interned with the bureau last year while getting her Public Affairs Reporting master's degree through the University of Illinois at Springfield. She then spent a year working for AP in two Missouri bureaus before returning to Illinois June 23.
30 / September 1997 Illinois Issues
Reitz replaces Deering in the House
Brown replaces Hughes in the House
Schumann replaces Hoffman in DuPage
Illinois Issues September 1997 / 31
Q. What finally put you over the edge in choosing that speech?
When I went through the health problems in '94, I just thought I'd be lucky to be elected to a second term. Now my health is fine, hut I think it also made me realize there are a lot of things in life I'd like to do. And also, I always thought, "I want to go out on top."
Edgar has spent 30 years in public service, beginning as an aide to Illinois House and Senate leaders. In 1976, he won a House seat representing a district which includes Charleston, his hometown. Three years later, then-Gov. James Thompson appointed him director of legislative affairs. In 1981, he appointed Edgar secretary of state to fill a vacancy. Edgar then won two more terms in that office before being elected governor in 1990.
Q. What do you think history will remember most about your term?
I think, probably, first and foremost it is that we've restored fiscal stability in this state. Also the fact that most people found me to be very credible.
A stern fiscal overseer as governor, Edgar tackled a backlog of bills when he took office. Through budget cuts, he put the state on a sound fiscal footing.
And he fulfilled a campaign pledge to make permanent an income tax surcharge that would have expired.
Programmatically, Edgar was more comfortable with baby steps than with giant leaps. He was fond of pilot programs that planted seeds for social reform at nominal cost rather than Thompson's grandiose approach.
His most significant failure is undisputed: the inability to win passage of an education finance reform package last spring — after staking his reputation on a plan to swap an income tax increase for property tax relief.
Q. In the 16 months that you have remaining, what can you do in terms of schoolfundmg reform?
I think we can get something done on school funding because the legislature needs to get something done. Most of them are up for re-election. And that issue didn't come from Jim Edgar. That came from the people of this state.
And in some ways by my not being a candidate that does remove some. of the partisan overtones. And I think that will make it easier to get something done.
32 / September 1997 Illinois Issues
Q & A Question & Answer
After spending 34 years in Chicago, most of that time working behind the scenes to make government better, Elizabeth "Liz" Hollander has moved on.
This summer she left Illinois for the East Coast to become executive, director of Campus Compact, a national organization of college presidents devoted to promoting volunteerism among their students.
Despite her busy schedule, this former Chicago city planner talked with Illinois Issues by phone about her memories of and predictions for her former hometown.
Q. What do you feel is the legacy you leave Chicago?
I think that one of the things I demonstrated in my work is that government can work really well when it works with other sectors, such as the nonprofit and business sectors. The homeless task force I ran for [the late Chicago Mayor] Harold Washington is an example. Instead of the people [who provide] the housing standing on the outside and yelling, "Give us more money," we had a dialogue. Together we asked, "What money do we have? How can we spend it well?"
Q. What about your role as Chicago's city planner during most of the '80s?
Well, I had a very clear vision as to
what it took to enliven a downtown:
The second thing I'm really proud of is the boulevards running through the whole city. Focusing on them as a real amenity led to a lot of them being fixed up and a lot of neighborhood involvement. Ten years later, that's still going on. That's the sign of a good plan.
Q Any one specific building you are most proud of?
The Harold Washington Library Center. It was my idea to have a design competition, which had a wonderful response. And because of it, there was no controversy when the design was finally chosen. It also came in on time and on budget, which is very amazing.
Q. What challenges or issues do you foresee for urban centers, specifically Chicago?
The ongoing challenge for Chicago is what I call a "tale of two cities." Chicago is a phenomenal center. It's done a really good job bringing housing into the downtown. But a lot of the surrounding neighborhoods have emptied out. There really isn't any employment there.
So I see a need to increase employment and to rebuild its [public] housing stock. They're tearing down so much public housing. It wasn't good, yes. But I wonder where people are going to live. Of course, this is a national problem. The federal government has pulled back so much of the money [for public housing].
Q. What will you miss most about Chicago?
The extraordinary beauty of the city skyline from the lakefront. In all my years there, I never stopped being thrilled by it. Also, the immense diversity of people that I experienced being downtown. I also found Chicago to be a place of enormous opportunity for a professional woman. I never felt there were any barriers.
Hollander was president of the Government Assistance Program through the Egan Urban Center at DePaul University. She also served on the board of Illinois Issues.
Illinois Issues September 1997 / 33
Sam S. Manivong, Illinois Periodicals Online Coordinator