Sean Crawford | WGLT

Sean Crawford


Community Advisory Board, Ex-Officio

Sean has led the NPR Illinois news operations since the fall of 2009. He replaced the only other person to do so in the station's history, Rich Bradley. Prior to taking over the News Department, Sean worked as Statehouse Bureau Chief for NPR Illinois and other Illinois Public Radio stations. He spent more than a dozen years on the capitol beat.

Sean  began his broadcasting career at his hometown station in Herrin, Illinois while still in high school.  It was there he learned to cover local government, courts and anything else that made the news.  He spent time in the Joliet area as News Director and Operations Manager for a radio station and worked for a chain of weekly newspapers for two years.  Along with news coverage, he reported heavily on sports and did on-air play by play. 

Sean holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield. 

Mike Pence at a podium
Susan Walsh / AP

Vice President Mike Pence will make a stop in Springfield this week, raising money for incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis.

A statewide survey shows support for changing Illinois’ income tax structure.   But opposition remains and there are plenty of hurdles to clear before it could become a reality.  

Imagine trains that travel 200 miles per hour between Chicago and St. Louis, drastically cutting the travel time for that trip.  It’s not far-fetched.  In fact, it’s happening in other places.  But in Illinois, high speed rail has been more about baby steps than giant leaps. 

Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

Gov. Bruce Rauner outlined his plans for the Illinois budget in a speech to lawmakers Wednesday afternoon.

Seth Perlman / AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner says bipartisanship is needed to move the state forward. But a lack of trust in the shadow of an election year and the governor's own remarks make that less likely to happen.

A national study of state government budgeting gives Illinois low marks.  

Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Gov. Bruce Rauner has made his long awaited announcement that he is seeking re-election.


Among the Springfield-area women traveling to Washington D. C. to take part in the women's march Saturday is the sister of a U. S. Representative that serves part of McLean County.

The rally is set for Saturday, the day after Donald Trump is sworn in as president.  Organizers say while it's a protest, it will also be used to send a message to the new administration.

Governor Bruce Rauner said he is looking forward to the state showcasing its history and its potential for the future during the upcoming the bicentennial.  Rauner said events will take place throughout the state to mark the 200th anniversary. 

"And the good news is we're kicking it off in December with the start of the full year of celebration and it's going to be fantastic," Rauner said.


A lot of military memorials honor service abroad.  But one being planned in Illinois will recognize those whose battle continued when they came home. 

There has been a dramatic rise in suicides among those who have served, mostly linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  A planned memorial in the state would call attention to that problem many don't want to talk about. 

The Forgotten Warrior Memorial could be built next year in Will County if enough  money is raised. Michael Tellerino is behind the effort. / Flickr

Most metro areas in Illinois saw unemplyment go down last month.  But that doesn't tell the whole story.

12 of the 14 areas had numbers in August better than a year earlier.    But the State Department of Employment Security says most of the job growth has taken place in the Chicago area.

Bob Gough is a spokesman for the agency. 

"They are up over the year more than 4,600 jobs. But the statewide number is up only 3,700 plus jobs.  That means the rest of the state is lagging behind," Gough said.


Gardeners tend to share.  Not just the bounty of their harvest, but different seeds.  It has gone on for generations. 

Today it often happens in seed libraries, where gardeners can take or donate seeds.  But in some other states, regulations for commercial seed companies were being applied to the small public exchanges. 

Rebecca Osland with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance says that raised concerns here.

“Road trip!” can evoke images of fun and freedom for family and friends. This summer toss in a little history and take off with a “National Road Trip!”

Jim Larrison

Studies show prisoners who stay connected with their families have lower recidivism. 

Yet, the cost of keeping in touch is proving quite high for many.  Prison phone call rates are unregulated.  In Illinois, that's resulted in some hefty bills.  Danielle Chynoweth of Urbana is with the Center for Media Justice, which has worked on this issue nationally.  

"One third of families of the incarcerated went into debt to pay for phone calls and visits alone.  These are people taking out loans to pay their phone calls," Chynoweth said.

As some colleges and universities head toward a fiscal cliff, lawmakers are talking about ways to keep them afloat. 

One plan would only fund five schools.   Representative Rita Mayfield, a Waukegan Democrat, says money would go to Chicago State, Western Illinois University, Eastern, Northeastern and Southern.  She says those are the ones most at risk of shutting down. 

"This funding will provide emergency funding just to keep their doors open until hopefully we can get a budget over the summer," Morefield said.

Steven Depolo / Flickr

Money keeps state government going. From services to employee paychecks. So, how does the State of Illinois function when it's piling up more bills than it can cover? Comptroller Leslie Munger says she is asked often if the state could run out of money.

Munger says, "Every single day we run out of money. We pay as much as we can on that given day and then we have to wait for the next day. So when we make decisions about how to pay our bills, we are looking at today do we pay foster care or do we send the education payment?"

Flickr user Simon Cunningham via Creative Commons /

Illinois' lack of a budget means public pensions systems won't get their state contribution next month. That won't stop retirees from getting their checks. However, there could still be an impact. IPR's Sean Crawford reports.

Businesses strive to be more efficient.  Often, that comes at the expense of jobs.  But Peter Wenz sees a way all can benefit. 

In his book Functional Inefficiency, he examines how some of the most labor-intensive sectors also are inefficient.  But they employ people and, in turn, help the overall economy.

We talked more with the author, who is also a Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois Springfield.