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Edited by Jennifer Davis

Shifts at the Top

Mark Boozell is Gov. Jim Edgar's new chief of staff, replacing Eugene Reineke who left last month for a public relations position in the private sector. Boozell, director of the Department of Insurance since 1995, also recently served as Edgar's point man on education reform. He first worked for Edgar in the secretary of state's office as a legislative liaison in 1983.

Cindy Huebner is Democratic Senate Minority Leader Emit Jones' new press secretary. She replaces David Rudd, who left for a public relations job with Motorola. Huebner, who was most recently assistant director of the Senate Democrats communication and research staff, has been with the Senate Democrats since 1984.

Mike Stokke, who recently left as Republican House Minority Leader Lee Daniels' chief of staff, has joined the staff of Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert of Yorkville. Stokke is now Hastert's deputy chief of staff and will run the Batavia and Washington, D.C., offices. He replaces Phillip Kaim, who is leaving to enter a seminary. "I've known Denny since he was in the Illinois House," says Stokke. "Now that he's chief deputy whip of the U.S. House, I hope to help him."

Dianna Durham-McLoud is now special assistant to Department of Public Aid Director Joan Walters. She will focus on federal child support issues and coordinating child support policy with Illinois' Department of Human Services. Robert Lyons takes her place as administrator of the division of child support enforcement. There have been other changes at Public Aid since late last year. George Rompot is now the agency's chief information officer, a newly created position to advise the director on information systems and technology. He was with the governor's office in a similar role. Matt Magalis is now chief of state government affairs. Patrick Baikauskas will focus on federal legislative affairs for Public Aid.

Allen Grosboll was named Edgar's deputy chief of staff. Grosboll, who has overseen the governor's initiatives on education, the environment and natural resources, was deputy secretary of state under Edgar.

Robert H. Newtson is Secretary of State George Ryan's new chiefs of staff, replacing Scott Fawell. He left to run Ryan's gubernatorial campaign. Newtson was director of the securities department. Glen Bower, another longtime Ryan associate, was tapped to run Ryan's Chicago office.


"One of his major contributors stole $7 million from the state. That was during his watch. I thought he'd be more concerned about those types of things in the executive branch."

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Moses Harrison II in the Chicago Sun-Times shortly after Gov. Jim Edgar's State of the State speech. He was responding to Edgar's call for reform of the Illinois Courts Commission, which disciplines judges.

"Partial-birth" decision

U.S. District Judge Charles P. Korcoras ruled Illinois' "late-term" or "partial-birth" abortion ban unconstitutional, saying it was too vague and could possibly lead to a chilling effect on other abortion procedures.

Nevertheless, the battle over the ban has heated up contests in several Republican legislative primaries. "Moderate" House Republicans who voted against the ban face serious challenges from so-called "ultra-conservative" Republicans.

Meanwhile, at press time, Republican Attorney General Jim Ryan had not made a decision on whether to appeal the decision or ask for another hearing on the case.

Rep. Santiago replaced

Elba Rodriguez, a former social services administrator, replaced Democratic state Rep. Miguel Santiago of Chicago. He resigned his post in response to a federal ghost payrolling probe. The former assistant House majority leader was indicted this past summer. He pleaded not guilty.

First woman chosen

Circuit Judge Jeanne Scott, the first female judge in Sangamon County, could also be the first female federal judge for central Illinois. Scott, who has been on the bench for almost 20 years, has been chosen by U.S. Sens. Carol Moseley- Braun and Richard Durbin to replace U.S. District Judge Richard Mills, who moved to senior status. Scott will have to be nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Off the list for now

Former Democratic state Rep. Joseph Kotlarz can't practice law in Illinois for three years, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled. Kotlarz' name was "stricken from the record" of Illinois lawyers, which is not the same as being disbarred. If the court had disbarred him, he would have to wait five years to petition for reinstatement. Kotlarz and former state tollway chief Robert Hickman were found guilty last year of theft in a State Toll Highway Authority land deal. They were both sentenced in November.

34 / March 1998 Illinois Issues

Penny Severns Remembered

In an age when courage is often in short supply in public life, state Sen. Penny Severns had plenty to spare. The Decatur Democrat died at home in her sleep early February 21, four years after discovering she had breast cancer and little more than a week after losing her fight to run for secretary of state. She was 46.

In 1994, Severns won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. After being diagnosed with cancer, she continued to campaign hard for her party's ticket in the general election while undergoing chemotherapy. She and governor candidate Dawn dark Netsch lost that historic two-woman race. "She was a fighter who stood up for what had to be done," Netsch said. "More than that.

It was important to have a woman with progressive views from central Illinois. It affirms that those views are widely shared." Last November, two weeks after announcing her bid for secretary of state, Severns underwent surgery to remove another tumor. "She breathed politics morning, noon and night," said state Sen. Vince Demuzio, who stood by Severns' side throughout her personal and political ordeals. Former state Senate President Phil Rock called her the "genuine article. She truly cared about what she was doing and the people she served."

Severns had decided not to appeal a State Board of Elections ruling last month that removed her name from the primary ballot. The board found her nominating petitions 251 signatures shy of the required 5,000. That decision narrowed the Democratic secretary of state race to two: Cook County Recorder of Deeds Jesse White and Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy, who challenged Severns' petitions. McCarthy, backed by House Speaker Michael Madigan, could benefit from a two-way race. But White could pick up disaffected women's votes.

Severns graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1974 with a degree in political science. She was elected in 1983 to the Decatur City Council by the largest number of votes in Decatur's history. Six years later, she went to the state Senate, where she became a budget expert. "I always thought she was going to be coming back to the Senate," Demuzio said. "I lost one of my best friends."


John Rowe is the new chairman, president and chief executive officer of Commonwealth Edison Co. and parent Unicorn Corp. Rowe, who was president and CEO of New England Electric System (NEES), starts March 16. He replaces Unicorn Chairman and CEO James J. O'Connor, who is retiring, and ComEd and Unicorn President Samuel K. Skinner, who announced plans to leave. Scott Gordon is the new chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He replaces Jack Sandner, who is assuming the role of special policy advisor. Ray Long, a longtime Statehouse reporter, is now with the Chicago Tribune's Capitol bureau. He has been running AP's Capitol bureau for the past year. He has covered the Statehouse for The Alton Telegraph and the Peoria Journal Star, and City Hall for the Chicago Sun-Times. James Merriner, former political writer for the Sun-Times, will cover the legislative session for the AP.

Theologian retires

Martin E. Marty, arguably one of the nation's foremost religion scholars, is retiring this month from the University of Chicago on the heels of a very busy year. Then again, no one expects less from this very busy man. Over the years, he's found time to write some 50 books and receive 56 honorary degrees. He first joined the University of Chicago in 1963 after a decade as a Lutheran pastor. Retirement will afford Marty time to concentrate on his newest project: director of the Public Religion Project. This Chicago-based group will work internationally to focus and interpret "the forces of faith within a pluralistic society."

A new cardinal

Archbishop of Chicago Francis E. George is now Cardinal George. Pope John Paul II bestowed the honored title at a ceremony in Rome. George named Mary Hallan associate chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Hallan, a lawyer, is the first woman and the first nonclerical member to hold the position in the diocese's 150-year history.

Kustra finds work

Lt. Gov. Bob Kustra has been named president of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky. He begins the job this summer. He was one of four finalists. Since Gov. Jim Edgar announced plans last summer not to seek re-election, many of his Cabinet members have been scanning the want ads.


Harry Caray

Who will take us out to the ball game? Legendary Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray has died. He was born in 1914. After collapsing during a Valentine's Day dinner with his wife, Caray spent four days in a coma. He never regained consciousness.

Margaret Hillis

Chicago lost another music giant last month. Margaret Hillis, founder and director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus for nearly 40 years, died February 4. She was 76. Under her directorship, the chorus won nine Grammy awards and joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on several tours, both here and abroad.

Illinois Issues March 1998 / 35

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Sam S. Manivong, Illinois Periodicals Online Coordinator