Politics and Government | WGLT

Politics and Government

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.

landrachuck / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Illinois State Board of Elections decided in favor of three presidential candidates, but the decision could be appealed in court. Board members dismissed an objection to the candidacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat. The board also ruled that Republican U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz can stay on the state ballot. Two Illinois residents separtely raised questions about the legality of Cruz and Rubio running for president. One of the objectors -- William Graham of Glen Ellyn -- says that while the senators are U.S.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner says the nation's mayors are keenly interested in restoring trust in law enforcement. Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Renner said the idea of community policing was a hot topic at last week's conference of U.S. Mayors, and it's important for the twin cities as well.

He says the community is becoming more diverse with a sizeable Indian population, a growing Latino sector, and a substantial African American part of the community.

Staff Sgt Lealan Bueher / Illinois Air National Guard

Wednesday Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his second annual state of the state address. If you're curious about what Rauner will say, you're not alone. So is Senate President John Cullerton.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner is commending 4th Ward Alderman Amelia Buragas for looking out for her constituents. She tabled an ordinance on December 21st prohibiting water well drilling because of a pollution plume near the corner of Linden and Emerson in order to learn more about the situation. The ordinance was approved last night. In this Sound Ideas interview excerpt, Tari Renner tells WGLT's Mike McCurdy the likelihood of further pollution is low.

Early Voting Pushed Back

Jan 25, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

Early voting for the Spring 2016 primary is scheduled to begin February 4th. It won't. In a joint announcment McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael and Bloomington City Election Commission Executive Director Paul Shannon say challenges to a number of presidential nominees means ballots won't be available until February 17, at the earliest. The challenges are against Democrats Hillary Clinton, Martin J. O’Malley, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, Larry (Lawrence) Cohen and Bernie Sanders. And Republicans Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.


Seven months into the year without an Illinois state budget, there's no sign things are changing. But, State Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington says in this conversation with Charlie Schlenker that after a year in office Brady's fellow Republican, Governor Bruce Rauner has taken the right course.


One of the many painful parts of the state budget deadlock has been the uncertainty over state support for low income people attending college, so called MAP funding. Universities have floated that commitment so far.  It's unclear whether that continue. Some colleges and universities have said it cannot.


Congressman Rodney Davis is back in the district campaigning before the March party primary. We start with a political discussion about the impact of Sarah Palin's endorsement of Donald Trump  on the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary.

Niece of Angela Davis Bringing Memories To ISU

Jan 21, 2016
ISU School of Theatre and Dance

An Illinois State University audience will be able to get an idea of what it's like to grow up in the shadow of a 1960's activist. Eisa Davis is bring portions of her piece, "Angela's Mixtape," to the ISU Center for the Performing Arts Theater Friday at 1pm. The performance piece uses sets and music to put the audience into a particular time. Davis says having Angela Davis as an aunt in Berkley California as she was growing up provided her with a unique perspective.

Rauner Says CPS Should Consider Bankruptcy

Jan 21, 2016
Steven Vance / Flickr

Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says Chicago Public Schools should look to bankruptcy court to solve its financial crisis. That’s drawing a strong rebuke from Chicago’s school and political leaders  Chicago Public Schools has been threatening to lay off teachers and staff.  It owes hundreds of millions of dollars it doesn’t have.  Governor Rauner says bankruptcy is not a dirty word.

“What it means is: Any organization, bankruptcy law is designed to protect an organization that has too much debt, that has too many liabilities.”

Michael Hill / WGLT

More than 300 college students and twin city residents took part in a watch party at Illinois State University for President Obama’s State of the Union Address. ISU became the national hub for a live webcast sent out to nearly 500 campuses in the United States. 

Heartland Community College Student Hetal Bhirawani says she is impressed with the younger generation. “We are all interested in politics, and we want to know where we are going, where our future is going, and what the people in authority are doing to secure our future.”

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Mayor is touting economic development, infrastructure improvements, and Downtown Bloomington in his annual State of the City address. Mayor Tari Renner joined Mike McCurdy during Sound Ideas to talk more about the State of the City, which he says “is strong.” He says one of two current downtown redevelopment proposals could be dead. However the other could bring more improvement to downtown. And despite Mitsubishi ceasing production, he says there was lots of other positive economic news in 2015.

The top Republican in the Illinois Senate says "it's possible" the standoff over a state budget could last for several years if Democrats aren't willing to compromise. She says if Illinois continues to spend money at current levels without raising taxes the state's backlog of unpaid bills could reach almost $25 billion in four years. That's based on a report from GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget office. Radogno says "While I hope it doesn't happen, I think it's possible." Radogno says Democrats are too concerned with maintaining the status quo.

Flood waters are continuing to recede across Illinois as residents begin the recovery process after dealing with more than a week of high waters. Officials with the Illinois Department of Emergency Management say the agency has asked affected counties to provide it with initial damage assessments by Jan. 18.

Spokeswoman Patti Thompson says the agency will review the reports and could ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with a more thorough assessment if it appears the state would meet federal disaster declaration thresholds.  

unknown / US Atomic Energy Commission

This weeks detonation of a nuclear device by North Korea is of immediate concern to the US. That's what Illinois State University professor of Politics and Government T. Y. Wang says. He says North Korea claims to have a missile that could cross the Pacific. He says combined with continued nuclear tests, it's disturbing.

ISU School of Communication

Illinois State University figures to be at ground zero when President Obama delivers his final State of the Union address next week. ISU's American Democracy Project will serve as the national collegiate hub for social media and other activity during the annual speech next Tuesday. WGLT's Willis Kern speaks with event coordinator Steve Hunt, Director of Illinois State's School of Communication.

BLDD Architects

Construction on a new Town of Normal fire station headquarters could begin in June and the project will cost nearly a million dollars more than originally projected. During a regular Sound Ideas appearance, Town Mayor Chris Koos explains to WGLT's Mike McCurdy the cost was creeping even higher.

Monday (today) is the first day presidential candidates can officially file to run in Illinois.

Duckworth Slams Kirk For Refugee Stance

Dec 31, 2015

It's been over a month since the terrorist attacks on Paris and the shooting in San Bernardino, California, sparked intense debate over how to handle Syrian refugees. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth says she's angry about how her opponent for U.S. Senate, Republican Senator Mark Kirk, has characterized her position on refugees.

The state budget standoff has scared away at least one hot prospect to buy the Mitsubishi auto plant in Normal. That's according to State Senator Jason Barickman. Barickman says the serious lead was a large Illinois manufacturer looking to expand. But, The GOP Senator says Illinois does not have a state budget, does not know when a budget might happen, and has no idea what the tax rate will be.

"That lack of predictability, the lack of stability that's offered to the business community is, I think, in sum, very detrimental to our efforts to attract a new Mitsubishi buyer."