Politics and Government | WGLT

Politics and Government

Congressman Darin LaHood

Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood said the current havoc apparent in the GOP presidential primary is a result of a disenfranchised electorate.

In a Sound Ideas interview with Willis Kern, the Republican from Dunlap said, "I wish the rhetoric and the name-calling hadn't been elevated like it has. It's unfortunate, and I wish we could talk about policy, and I think that's what we need to stick with. But it's part of the democrat process."

Donkey Hotey / Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump won big on Super Tuesday in the Republican Party. So did Hillary Clinton on the Democratic Party side.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons

Even as Governor Bruce Rauner announced his first steps toward criminal justice reform Wednesday, a police group says the lack of a state budget is making Illinois a more dangerous place to live.

Meg Lantz

With the Illinois primary now less than two weeks away, more presidential hopefuls will be campaigning in the state, especially with the stakes being so high. While voter turnout in primaries tends to be lower than the general election, young voters are showing extreme interest in this campaign.

Even young people who are still a few years from being old enough to cast their first ballots. WGLT's Jon Norton spoke with Terri Lantz of Bloomington, and her 16-year old daughter Bridget, who says her political leanings are shaped in part by the type of music she enjoys.

Bloomington Public Library

The Bloomington Public Library faces a number of challenges and opportunities, most of which will wait until a new director is found.


Many laid off Mitsubishi workers are still searching for new directions after the plant ended production last year.

The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from Springfield, Illinois, officials seeking to reinstate an ordinance that banned panhandling in the city's downtown historic district. The justices have let stand an appeals court ruling that said the city's ban was unconstitutional. The ordinance defined panhandling as a verbal request for the immediate donation of money. A federal appeals court ruled last year that the ban infringed on free speech rights. The city argued that the anti-panhandling ordinance was meant to regulate the behavior of panhandlers but not their message.  

College-Age Voters Defy Easy Definitions

Feb 29, 2016
Miami Dade College

Recent primary contests indicate that young adults could play a key role in selecting the next president. Many college students are volunteering to work on primary campaigns. With Super Tuesday nearly here and the Illinois primary coming up next week, college-age voters have another chance to influence the political landscape. But many of these young voters defy easy description.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council is readying its annual trip to Washington D.C. 39 members of various groups will pay their own way to the nation's capitol to meet with elected officials and agency workers about the priorities of the region.

Jim Browne / WGLT

Journalists in Illinois have come up short trying to get information about Governor Bruce Rauner's state email.


Twin cities water workers are reassuring the public the lead contamination that happened to Flint, Michigan is unlikely in central Illinois.

Bloomington Back In Black

Feb 22, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Aldermen heard next year’s budget proposal from City Manager David Hales and Finance Director Patti-Lynn Silva. The plan includes $207 million in spending, with $9.7 million coming from the sales tax increase passed last year. The proposal also eliminates the $7.5 million structural deficit projected last year.

Creative Commons

A federal judge is easing travel restrictions during Jesse Jackson Jr.'s supervised release so the ex-congressman can take his children to visit his imprisoned wife more often and see the children's grandparents in Chicago.  

Court documents show the judge signed the order Monday after Jackson's attorneys filed it. The motion says it's burdensome that Jackson and the children are limited to monthly visits with his wife and unable to visit Chicago family, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.  

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has broken with fellow Republicans by saying he ``looks forward'' to President Barack Obama nominating a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Kirk says the constitution gives the president, Republican or Democrat, the right to send a nominee to the Senate.

He says he swore an oath to uphold the constitution, "not to a party or any one individual." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans say the next president should choose Scalia's successor.  

Darron Birgenheier / Flickr

The extent to which Donald Trump remains the front runner depends on how long John Kasich stays in the GOP Presidential primary race. That's according to ISU Political Scientist Kerri Milita speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas.

McLean County League of Women Voters

Among those going to the polls during the March 15 presidential primary in Illinois will be a large number of first-time voters, many still in high school. A change in voter registration rules is allowing young people to vote in the primary as long as they will turn 18 by the general election on Nov. 8.

Phylis VerSteegh of the McLean County League of Women Voters has been going out to schools with other League members to register these young voters and listening to their comments on the long list of presidential contenders. 

District 87 Schools

The District 87 school board recently passed a $10 million working cash fund bond to make up for the lack of certainty over money coming from the state. Superintendent Barry Reilly says the interest could be in the neighborhood of $200,000.

Bloomington Council Considering Downtown Project

Feb 16, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council may participate in the development of a hotel and conference center downtown. During a committee meeting, aldermen informally supported an inducement resolution, which is usually the first step in issuing bonds.

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk

Three Democratic contenders aiming to replace Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois are pressing him to take a definitive position on who should choose a replacement for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

State agriculture director Raymond Poe was honored Tuesday by his former peers in the General Assembly. The Illinois House passed a resolution recognizing Poe, a Springfield area Republican, for his service. Representative Don Moffitt, a Knox County Republican, says it's bittersweet; bitter because Poe won't be in the house, sweet because Poe will do good things statewide.

Governor Bruce Rauner has spent more than a year promoting his business-friendly, anti-union Turnaround Agenda. Now a group of community organizations and labor unions are offering a counterproposal. They call it the People's Agenda.

Amisha Patel, with the Grassroots Collaborative, says investment in communities would help the Illinois economy grow. "A rising tide lifts all boats. But, the Governor has been draining the pool. It's time to pursue a different path and put people back on the agenda," she said.

Jeff Giebelhausen/Farnsworth Group

The developer presenting plans to the Bloomington City Council Tuesday said during GLT's Sound Ideas if he'd known two and a half years ago it would take so long, he wouldn't have gotten into it.

Jeff Giebelhausen told WGLT's Mike McCurdy that his youngest son is a freshman at Illinois Wesleyan and he's "vested in Bloomington."

"I believe in this project. I do believe in Downtown Bloomington. I believe the negatives are a very vocal group," said Giebelhausen. "I want to address their questions absolutely accurately, one at a time, and when the facts speak I think it's clear this is a good project for the city.

Early Voting Wrapping Up

Feb 15, 2016
ladrachok / Flickr via Creative Commons

Illinois makes it easy to register to vote -- you can do it online. But only until tomorrow if you want to cast a ballot in the March primary. Anyone who misses that deadline can still take advantage of grace period registration. That runs up until election day, but requires ballots be cast at the time of registration. Although the contest is still more than a month away ... some voters have already voted. For the first time statewide, a new law required early voting begin February 4th.

Creative Commons

The new Hampshire Primary is in the books. Winners?


Ethan Vandersand is running for Congress against incumbent Rodney Davis in the Republican Primary in the 13th district.

Vandersand is a pharmacist in Jerseyville and owns the Medicine Shoppe. He lives in Carrolton with his wife. He talks with Charlie Schlenker about immigration,  his relationship with God, and his opponent.

Michael Hill / WGLT

A final decision on bulk waste pickup in Bloomington has not been reached. The City Council has been mulling over a fee change for over two years, and a new proposal to begin charging $20 for the first bucket of bulk waste and $40 for each additional bucket on the same day, apart from two free buckets per year, did not gain enough votes to pass. Two free buckets were not part of the recommendation brought to the council last month. The council approved a motion made by Alderman Scott Black to table the proposal to allow more time to consider other options.

Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

State budget cuts could close the National Guard Armory in Delavan. Governor Rauner's office has included the armory in a list of cuts. When students at the high school in the Tazewell County Village heard that, they decided to mount a letter writing campaign. A group of high school students will deliver the packages, letters, drawings, and other materials to Governor Bruce Rauner's office Friday.

Gage Skidmore

Iowa gets a breather from the Presidential campaign spotlight. New Hampshire is next and soon South Carolina gets its turn. It's a moveable feast of politics, a royal progress of campaigns.

Illinois Wesleyan University

It's not a public policy issue like immigration, trade or national defense, but religion is playing a prominent role in the presidential race. It's likely to become even more of an issue now that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas won the Iowa caucuses largely through support from fellow evangelical Christians and is seeking their support in upcoming primary contests. Illinois Wesleyan University chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger says the religion factor in presidential politics is probably here to stay.

Lindsay D'Addato / Wyofile

McLean County Election officials say early voting will start on time this week after all. The start date of Feburary 4th had been in doubt because of objections to Presidential race petition filings. But, those have been resolved.