Charles N. Wheeler III | WGLT

Charles N. Wheeler III

The director of the Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) graduate program is Professor Charles N. Wheeler III,  a veteran newsman who came to the University of Illinois at Springfield following a 24-year career at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Wheeler covered state government and politics for the Sun-Times since 1970, when he covered the Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention. For the last 19 years of his Sun-Times tenure, Wheeler was assigned to the newspaper’s Statehouse bureau. During that time, he was elected to 16 consecutive one-year terms as president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association and served for many years on the PAR program and admissions committees.

Since 1984, he has written a monthly column for Illinois Issues magazine, which has won five Capitolbeat awards for magazine commentary/analysis. In 2006, the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association inducted him into The Lincoln League of Journalists, which honors men and women who have provided exemplary service to other journalists and to daily newspapers published in Illinois. In 2013, he was chosen as the Journalist of the Year by the Journalism Department at Eastern Illinois University.  He is also a regular on the panel for State Week, WUIS' weekly political analysis program that airs on public radio stations across Illinois.

Before joining the Sun-Times in 1969, Wheeler served more than three years as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Panama. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN, majoring in English, and received a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Wheeler draws on the talents of many UIS faculty with expertise in such fields as public budgeting, political science, and communication, as well as professional journalists and state officials, to present students with a well-rounded program to bridge the academic and professional areas.

This week saw the release of video and other evidence of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 13 year old Adam Toledo.  Several top Illinois and city officials have weighed in.  Chicago's mayor promised a new policy on how and when officers engage in foot chases.  

Also, is the latest surge in coronavirus cases leveling off?

Our panel includes Rachel Hinton of the Chicago Sun-Times. 

Illinois will open vaccination elgibility to those 16 and older on Monday.  It's a big step in the vaccine rollout.  Illinois has also been setting daily records when it comes to administering the shots. 

But the state remains in a precarious position as cases and hospitalizations are headed in the wrong direction.  There's also the challenge of convincing more people to take the vaccine.   

Peter Hancock of Capitol News Illinois joins our State Week panel.  

In a week that marked the one year anniversary of the pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he's cautiously optimistic as more vaccines arrive.  His administration even mentioned a return to holding conventions and trade shows this summer.   

Pritzker is also pleased that a windfall will be coming to the state as part of a federal coronavirus stimulus package.   How might the state use that money?

Our panel discusses where things stand in Illinois -- on the public health front and with the state budget.  

On this episode, we discuss Congresswoman Robin Kelly, who becomes the new Illinois Democratic Party Chair, replacing Michael Madigan.  Gov. J.B. Pritzker supported her opponent and some view Kelly's ascension as a defeat for the governor.  

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has been outspoken about his own party.  It appears he'll face a primary challenge.  We discuss his political future.  

And Illinois continues to fall behind when it comes to its pension obligations.  We discuss it all on State Week. 

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's legislative district seat saw not just one, but two replacements within a week.  And Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a large reform package dealing with crime and policing.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Rachel Hinton joins the panel.

Governor J.B. Pritzker delivered a combined State of the State and State Budget address this week with proposals to fill the deficit left by the pandemic.  And after 50 years in the state legislature, former House Speaker Michael Madigan resigned his district seat.

Chicago Tribune State Government Reporter Dan Petrella joins the panel.

While Illinois expands eligibility to receive the new coronavirus vaccine, there are still questions about the speed of distribution so far.  Also this week, the state Republican party has a new leader.

Chicago Tribune Investigative Reporter Joe Mahr joins the panel.

More progress is being made in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, accompanied by more criticism of how it's been handled so far.  State lawmakers have been authorized to receive vaccinations as part of Phase 1B of the rollout, which puts them alongside more at-risk groups.

Capitol News Illinois's Jerry Nowicki joins the panel.

As Illinois marks one year since its first COVID-19 case, vaccine distribution remains on a slower pace than expected, while state and local officials try to determine just how much of an impact the pandemic has had on revenues.

NPR Illinois reporter Mary Hansen joins the panel this week.

As the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate continues to drop, mitigation measures are being relaxed and plans are being made to increase the distribution of the vaccine.

Mark Maxwell, Capitol Bureau Chief for WCIA TV, joins the panel.

This week, Illinois lawmakers wrapped up the work of the 101st General Assembly.  And there is  a new House Speaker - Chris Welch - after Michael Madigan lost the support of his caucus after nearly four decades in power.

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax joins the panel.

Amidst the turmoil in Washington DC, the Illinois Legislature meets this week for a lame duck session, with questions about who will be House Speaker and which direction the Illinois Republican Party will go.

Chris Mooney, Professor of State Politics in the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, joins the panel.

The panel marks the end of 2020 and looks ahead to 2021, joined by Amanda Vinicky of Chicago's WTTW.

Copyright 2021 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.

This week, Washington D.C. worked on a new COVID-19 pandemic stimulus package, while the first batch of vaccines continue to be distributed to health care workers.  Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing criticism for her handling of a new scandal involving the Chicago Police Department.

Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business joins the panel.

 

Citizens of Illinois, I believe, should measure the product of our efforts by these tests: Is the Constitution of 1970 superior to the Constitution of 1870? Is the Constitution of 1970 relevant to the problems of our state at this time? By either test, I submit, the 1970 Constitution possesses a more efficient and economical governmental structure, while strengthening at the same time our commitment to the human needs of our people… the 1970 Constitution talks to a human purpose and a human society.

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced $700 million in cuts to the current fiscal year's state budget; a special investigating committee looking into House Speaker Michael Madigan's involvement in the ComEd bribery scandal wrapped up with no action; and Pritzker continues to weather criticism of his administration's handling of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans' Home.

Tony Arnold of WBEZ and Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune join the panel this week.

This week, Governor JB Prittzker ordered Illinois National Guard medical personnel to the state's four veterans' homes following a deadly outbreak in the LaSalle facility amid criticism from Republican lawmakers.  Also, Michael Madigan continued to resist calls for him to step down as Speaker of the House.

Capitol News Illinois' Jerry Nowicki joins the panel.

This week, investigations began into the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the La Salle Veterans' Home investigation, while Michael Madigan continued to lose support for his role as House Speaker in his own caucus amid the ComEd bribery scandal.

Rachel Hinton of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the panel.

Hospital beds across the state continue to fill with COVID-19 patients, and an investigation has been announced to look into the deadly breakout in the LaSalle Veterans' Home.  Michael Madigan says he has no intention of stepping down as House Speaker, although he may not have the votes needed to keep that position the next time the Legislature meets.

WBEZ's Dave McKinney joins the panel this week.

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker admonished Illinoisans who continue to flout COVID-19 mitigation measures and warned that he soon may have no choice but to order another stay-at-home directive.  Meanwhile, the Pritzker administration is left with a huge budget problem to deal with, especially with the failure of the governor's proposed graduated income tax amendment.

Dan Vock, reporter and author of the States of Crisis newsletter, joins the panel.

 

The election saw disappointing results for Democrats at the state level, especially the failure of Governor J.B. Pritzker's proposed change to a graduated income tax.  And House Speaker Michael Madigan is under increasing pressure to step down as head of the state Democratic party.

The State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg joins the panel.

This week saw a continued rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the state, and ten out of the eleven regions in the Restore Illinois Plan will be under stronger mitigation measures by the end of the weekend.  There has been a record volume of early voting and voting by mail in the state ahead of Tuesday's election, and many eyes are watching Democratic Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride’s bid to retain his seat.

Ray Long of the Chicago Tribune joins the panel.

This week, the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations prompted Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health to impose increased mitigation measures in regions around the state.  State officials also revealed their plans for distributing a vaccine when one becomes available.  The election is just over a week away, and the ballot referendum on moving the state to a graduated income tax continues to be a focus of attention.

This week, the pandemic saw a resurgence with a rapidly rising statewide positivity rate and a record number of new coronavirus cases in a single day.  Amid the state's growing budget woes, tax revenues from legal marijuana sales continue to bolster state coffers.  And the two candidates vying for Illinois' 13th congressional district seat ramped up their criticisms of each other.

Mark Maxwell of WCIA-TV joins the panel.

 

This week, Illinois Republicans expressed outrage at the decision to put an Illinois House committee investigating House Speaker Michael Madigan on hold until after the November elections.  Meanwhile, the public's vote on Governor J.B. Pritzker's proposal to move Illinois to a graduated income tax draws nearer, and this week the governor  released his proposals for criminal justice reform.

A.D. Quig  of Crane's Chicago Business joins the panel.

Questions about the connection between Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and a bribery scheme by energy giant Commonwealth Edison continues to create problems for the Speaker.  Republicans claim a House investigative committee is protecting Madigan, and representative Stephanie Kifowit announced she intends to challenge his position as the leader of the chamber.

The Chicago Sun Times' Rachel Hinton joins the panel.

This week, Governor Pritzker's administration warned that if its proposed graduated income tax vote fails, income taxes on everyone in the state will have to be raised.  Also, with the continuing extensions of the statewide eviction moratorium, landlords are facing problems paying their mortgages.

WBEZ's Michael Puente and reporter Hannah Meisel join the panel.

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker told state government agencies to prepare for across the board budget cuts.  The Big Ten sports conference declared that they will hold games this fall, putting pressure on Governor Pritzker to allow all Illinois students to play.

WBEZ's Kate McGee and WSIU's Jennifer Fuller join the panel.

This week, a special Illinois House committee began investigating House Speaker Madigan’s alleged role in a decade-long bribery scheme involving Commonwealth Edison.  Meanwhile, Senate President Don Harmon's office was subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney.  And billionaire Ken Griffin is spending money to fight the proposed graduated income tax amendment.

The Chicago Tribune's Jaime Munks and Professor of State Politics at the University of Illinois at Chicago Chris Mooney join the panel.

This week, confirmed cases of the new coronavirus have spiked on university campuses throughout the state.  Meanwhile, many kids are beginning the new school year with virtual, remote learning only.  And the Illinois House has created a committee to look into possible wrongdoing by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Illinois Newsroom's Lee Gaines, WNIJ's Peter Medlin, and WGLT's Dana Vollmer join the panel.

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