The legislative and political season looms -- and so do the figures who hold sway in those arenas. Trib Nation talked with political reporter Rick Pearson about the cast of politicians assembled in Illinois' on-going political drama...
Q: What makes Illinois so politically unique?
A: Illinois has traditionally awarded more power to already established power. We don’t have term limits. Until recently, we didn’t have limits on campaign donations. And, despite talk about transparency, the network of the well-connected continues to flourish.
Q: Who are some of the key players in 2013, and what makes them important?
A: Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley, brother of former Mayor Richard Daley, is taking the pulse of voters for a run for governor, as is Attorney General Lisa Madigan, daughter of House Speaker Michael Madigan. Republican state Sens. Bill Brady of Bloomington, the 2010 GOP nominee, and the runner up, Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, are back. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is serious. U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria is interested, as is Chicago equity investor Bruce Rauner.
Q: How does the Tribune cover Illinois politics and government?
A: Monique Garcia at the Thompson Center is our front line state government reporter in Chicago, shadowing Gov. Pat Quinn as well as looking into the shadows of government power and contracts. Veteran Ray Long in Springfield knows where to find something that deserves more scrutiny. Plus our team at the Tribune, directed by political editor Eric Krol, is always exploring why something is happening. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What interests you about covering Illinois government and politics?
A: It’s often said political reporters are frustrated sports reporters. In many cases that’s true. I switched from sports even before leaving college to cover a game where the outcome not only matters, it lasts.