Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Election Day in Illinois

And we’ve got snow, which could depress turnout or excuse the enthusiasm gap among Democrats, if it should manifest itself today.

In the Governor’s race, for what it’s worth, Governor Pat Quinn gets the nod. Last year, then Lt. Governor Quinn ascended to the governorship at a difficult moment for the state after the Rod Blagojevich corruption scandal and impeachment. He restored honesty and openness in government, passed ethics reform (recognizing that more needs to be done), and stabilized the state’s finances.

On Illinois’ long-term structural deficit, Governor Quinn is the only grown-up in the race, giving the voters –- and reluctant legislators –- straight talk that we’re not digging ourselves out of this hole without raising taxes and targeted budget cuts.

Governor Quinn has had a distinguished career as an exemplary public servant. From his days as a grassroots activist (which mirror President Obama’s public service in many ways), his fight against corrupt government and special interests, his campaign on behalf of the people of Illinois against utility rate price gouging, and his steadfast support for Illinois veterans and their families make him a true people’s champion in the Illinois statehouse.

There’s much more to be done to restore integrity to state government and economic prosperity to the state. Governor Quinn has a vision for Illinois that includes campaign finance reform, lobbying restrictions, sunshine laws, rebuilding the state’s infrastructure, investing in green jobs and education for our children, and promoting science and technology in our leading universities to spur innovations for the economy of the future.

Governor Quinn likes to say that politics, like democracy, is not a spectator sport, it’s a participatory responsibility. Let’s elect Pat Quinn for his own term as governor of Illinois.

In the Senate Democratic race for President Obama’s vacant seat, former Chicago inspector general David Hoffman, 43, is surging. Hoffman built his reputation rooting out corruption, waste and mismanagement in Mayor Daley’s administration and making a dent, at least.

If Hoffman’s insurgent campaign succeeds in toppling machine pol and bankrolled (in more ways than one) state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, it will be a clear indication that the voters’ angry mood extends far beyond the right fringes of American politics.

In a sentence, Giannoulias’s claim to fame is having played pickup basketball with Barack Obama; Hoffman’s is giving Mayor Daley hives.

Get out there and vote.

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