Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ten things Americans want from their elected officials

Ten things Americans want from their elected officials

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hundreds gather to protest global warming!

I'm sorry... just couldn't resist. From

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Local organizations plan protest of Gitmo detainees this Tuesday in Sterling, Illinois

From an e-mail:

Many groups, including the Band of Mothers and Illinois TEA Party Patriots, are organizing a protest at the only public hearing that will be allowed for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Thompson. In an effort to ignore Illinois citizens, Gov. Quinn is only allowing one public hearing and he's holding it far from Thompson and far from the Chicago media in Sterling. Please include information about this protest on your blog so we can get as many people to travel there on Tuesday as possible.

Here is a link to the full details of the event.

For futher information, please contact:
Steve Ruggiero
(630) 890-3834

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tazewell County Government launches new website

The long awaited Tazewell County website is now on-line! It has many useful links including events, government officials and phone numbers and important community links! Congratulations to all who undoubtedly worked long and hard to compile no small amount of data. What a great resource for residents of Tazewell county. Be sure to add it to your "Favorites"!

hat tip - John Ackerman

Monday, December 14, 2009

Be careful what you wish for...

Republican political opponents of US Senator Barbara Boxer are making hay over her famous "Call me Senator" remarks to Brigadier General Michael Walsh as he reported to her at a Senate hearing last June.

The full AP story is here.

Below is the entertaining video. In politics, one must be forever mindful of their P's and Q's, cause these days, it seems that anything goes! It's likely Ms. Boxer would give anything to have those moments back.

Candidate for Governor Jim Ryan says he will veto any conceal carry bill that crosses his desk...

So much for Jim Ardis' plan to use Peoria as a test market for conceal carry in Illinois if Jim Ryan would become Governor.

70% of "Blogging While Republican" readers expressed support of the Ardis proposal for conceal carry. (see side margin).

According to an AP questionnaire, Jim Ryan promised to veto any such legislation.

QUESTION: "Would you sign or veto legislation allowing concealed-carry for handguns?"

-- Jim Ryan: "I would veto. I believe reasonable people can differ on this issue but on balance, drawing from my experience as a law enforcement official, I believe we are better off without concealed-carry."

I give him an "A" for honesty, but here is a newsflash for Jim - most Republicans disagree!

If you are a strong supporter of second amendment rights, it appears that Jim Ryan is not your guy! Here is a list of all 13 Governor candidates. Their websites are hyperlinked to their name. Pick your candidate, make a donation if possible, and get to work putting an individual in the Governor's mansion that will best represent the issues you care about!

Mike Unes announces candidacy for State Representative

From a press release:

East Peoria Councilman Mike Unes officially kicked off his campaign for State Representative of the 91st Illinois House District on Saturday.

Unes was introduced to the crowd by retired East Peoria Police Officer Charlie Morgan and East Peoria Mayor Dave Mingus. Morgan, a lifelong Democrat, regaled the hundreds of supporters gathered at the announcement hosted at the Embassy Suites Hotel, with his story of how he came to know Unes from his East Peoria City Council campaign. “This old Democrat studies every candidate before voting, and Mike Unes will earn your vote, as he did mine in 2007,” Morgan stated.

Mayor Mingus stated that he, “doesn’t always agree with Mike Unes politically, but he does appreciate his thoughtful study of issues and his ability to be collegial despite tough debates.”

Unes then took to the microphone to thank the speakers, the crowd, and to lay out his reasons for seeking this position. Unes said that he has, “profound disagreement with his [Mike Smith’s] priorities as a legislator. I cannot sit back any longer. I cannot sit idly-by while he continues to support a Speaker of the House and bad policies that are ruining our state.”

Unes stated that he also disagrees with Smith’s voting record on raising taxes; Unes stated, “I have voted against raising taxes on our people. Raising taxes is the easy way of solving every budget problem but is the wrong choice because it is a terrible burden on our taxpayers and leads to a loss of business and a loss of jobs. I take the approach to government budgeting the same way my wife, Natalie, and I do with our household budget--with four children—well considered prioritization and careful management.”

The last time the 91st District race was contested was in 2006. Many people remember the race taking a negative turn towards Election Day. Although Unes stated that he again expects this will be a top-tier race in 2010, he cast off any personal attacks on Smith, stating, “I want to be very clear, Mike Smith is a very nice person. I will not demonize or attack him personally in this campaign. But a campaign is the time for the people to review the performance of their government servants. And I intend to shed light on Representative Smith’s record in an accurate portrayal, which I believe has contributed greatly to the mess our state is in.”

The 91st House District includes parts of Tazewell, Fulton, and Peoria counties. Incumbent legislator Mike Smith is serving his 8th term in the Illinois House.

For further information regarding Mike's campaign for State Representative, please call Dan Pelphrey, Citizens for Unes, 309-472-8535 or visit

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Communication Tool

In an continual effort to improve overall communication with my constituents, I offer a new blog,, which will carry:

A) All of my Monthly Political Columns
B) All of my Tazewell County Board Recaps
C) Some of my Newsletters

This format will allow for you, my constituents, another avenue to communicate your thoughts and opinions with me. You can currently find and will continue to see these postings on the Illinois Review Blog, McLean County Pundit and Peoria's Blogging While Republican. I respect each of these groups and strongly recommend them to you.

During my campaign for office, I discussed my goal of greater communication and availability of information. This new blog, in conjunction with my website ( and newsletter, is just one way in which I hope to accomplish that goal. Government only works properly when the elected officials have proper information from the people and I encourage you to help me with this by providing your input. Together, we can continue to strengthen and grow Tazewell County and the State of Illinois.

A few months ago, the Bloomington Pantagraph said this about my website: “Give Tazewell County Board member John C. Ackerman a "sunbeam" award for his role in improving access to public information for his constituents.” They went on to say, “Normally, we wouldn't promote a single board member's site…But it contains useful information - information that should be, but isn't, on the official government site…we commend Ackerman for filling in the gap and for following through with his campaign pledge to improve communication and access to information.”

While this compliment from a leading Central Illinois Newspaper is appreciated, my goal of greater communication is just as never-ending as the continual growth of new technologies. You can also communicate with me via the web at and via my Newsletter, which you can sign up for on the Home Tab of the website.

As always, I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve you on the Tazewell County Board and if I can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

John C. Ackerman
Tazewell County Board Member

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Brady Earns Endorsement of Legislative Colleagues

written by John C. Ackerman

Senator Bill Brady, Republican Candidate for Governor, was in Peoria today
(12/03/09) as part of a statewide announcement tour to tout the endorsements of 14 Republican Legislators. A good crowd of Peoria and Tazewell County residents greeted him at Byerly Aviation. Elected Officials joining him at this stop and declaring their endorsement were:

Assistant Senate Republican Leader Brad Burzynski of Clare, Illinois
Assistant Senate Republican Leader John O. Jones of Mt. Vernon, Illinois
State Representative Shane Cultra of Onarga, Illinois
State Representative David Reis of Willow Hill, Illinois
State Representative Keith Sommer of Morton, Illinois
City of Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis
Tazewell County Board Member Jan Donahue of Pekin, Illinois
Tazewell County Board Member Mel “Dutch” Stanford of Mackinaw, Illinois
Tazewell County Board Member John C. Ackerman of Washington, Illinois

From L-R; Darin LaHood, Peoria County Republican Chairman Rudy Lewis, Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Brady, Tazewell County Board Member John C. Ackerman, City of Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and State Representative Keith Sommer

“Bill Brady has a proven track record of platform Republican principles and possesses the common sense and business experience we so desperately need in Springfield.” Said Representative David Reis of Willow Hill, Illinois. “It’s critical we return geographical and political balance to our state government, and I feel Senator Brady is best suited to lead this charge.”

“I have had the honor of serving with Bill in the Senate. I have found him to be a man of character, honesty and integrity,” said Senator Brad Burzynski, “Bill has earned my trust and would serve this state well as its governor.”

Senator John O. Jones said, “The State of Illinois needs to be run like a business, and Bill Brady is the candidate who can do that. His plan to restore fiscal discipline in Springfield and bring jobs back to Illinois will help Illinois businesses and working families throughout the state.”

“As a businessman, he knows how to meet a payroll and how to put Illinois back on its feet”, said Representative Rich Myers. “His experience, integrity, and leadership are what we need in the Governor’s Office in Springfield.”

Senator Brady also made stops in Marion, Champaign, Moline and Rockford today both before and after the stop in Peoria. He will be in Chicago on Friday.

“I am grateful to my colleagues in the General Assembly for their support for my campaign, because together we are working to make Illinois a great state once again”, said Brady. “As Governor, I will need them working by my side to build a New Illinois that ensures greater opportunity for all Illinoisans and a future promise and prosperity for our children and grandchildren.”

Legislators who have endorsed Brady are:

Senator Tim Bivins, Dixon
Assistant Senate Republican Leader Brad Burzynski, Clare
Assistant Senate Republican Leader John O. Jones, Mt Vernon
Assistant Senate Republican Leader David Luechtefeld, Okawville
Senator Dale Risinger, Peoria
Representative Mike Bost, Murphysboro
Representative John Cavaletto, Salem
Representative Shane Cultra, Onarga
Representative Bill Mitchell, Forysth
Representative Donald Moffitt, Gilson
Representative Rich Myers, Colchester
Representative David Reis, Willow Hill
Representative Keith Sommer, Morton
Assistant House Republican Leader Ron Stephens, Greenville

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Giving back to our Veterans

Bob Michel Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic - Ground Breaking Ceremony, November 10, 2009

How fitting that the day before the celebration of Veteran's Day, local leaders gathered to celebrate the culmination of a seven year project - The construction of the new Bob Michel Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic. Several hundred people gathered including legislators, laborers, Veterans, and community supporters to participate in the ground breaking ceremony. The Dunlap High School Band provided an atmosphere of moving patriotic music fitting the occasion.

Speakers included Congressman Aaron Schock, who acknowledged the efforts of many people, both Democrat and Republican, who worked together over many years to make this dream a reality for our returning Veterans.

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Hal Fritz urged the audience to support our veterans in their quest for freedom for this generation and future generations. He identified the Dunlap Marching Band members as the future leaders of our country.

David Barker, an injured Iraq War Veteran described how the technology and service upgrades offered at the new clinic will assist in his recovery.

The Veterans present joined the dignitaries in the official groundbreaking.

We must care for and protect at all costs the men and women who leave their homes and their families to defend our freedom and way of life. The new Bob Michel Outpatient Clinic is another step towards that ideal.

View more pics here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A shot across the bow...

In an amazing shift of public sentiment, less than one year after a massive Obama win, New Jersey and Virginia elected Republican governors yesterday.

Illinois Legislators be on notice, a similar fate may very well be in store for you. Note the premier issues on voters minds in New Jersey: High property taxes, unemployment, corruption. Sound familiar? Only last week Democratic Illinois legislators enacted changes in campaign finance reform with only one exemption: THEMSELVES!

New Jersey should be a blinking red hazard light for any legislator that puts their own ambitions before the welfare of their state. No matter the degree of your arrogance, no matter how cushy you feel in your incumbency, no lawmaker is exempt from complete voter repudiation. We can only pray that Illinois will be next.

Some Republican humor...

Friday, October 30, 2009

John Ackerman sets a new standard in Government transparency

In case you haven't noticed, young people are bursting onto the scene in national, state and local politics. Barrack Obama and Aaron Schock aside, voters locally have shown a strong affinity towards younger candidates as well. Ask 10 people and you may get 10 different answers as to why this is occurring, but in my opinion, one reason is because younger people have the desire and the skills to utilize modern technology to connect with voters.

Enter John Ackerman, Tazewell County Board member of the Third district. We met John at the Pekin Marigold Festival Parade, where his parade entry was right behind ours. We struck up a nice conversation, and I couldn't help but think how much he reminded me of, at the risk of sounding trite, Aaron Schock.

Shortly thereafter I merited his mailing list, and was promptly hooked. John sends out e-mail updates to a data base of constituents once or twice a week. He also has a sophisticated website that is a virtual directory of all things Tazewell. His newsletter updates include not only remarks on county issues, agenda items and impending votes, but he also promotes local events, businesses and fundraisers. He works hard to be a "full service" county rep by staying abreast of local issues, but also a relentless cheerleader for Tazewell County.

John is a model of Government transparency. No doubt he has had to work through a few bugs and fight some windmills, but suffice it to say whether we are ready or not, John's methodology is here to stay. In today's age of information on demand, 24 hour news and anyone-with-a-keyboard-and-half-a-brain-is-a-journalist mentality, established politicians will have no choice but to adapt.

In the midst of John's many civic, professional and personal responsibilities (he and his wife, Maria, are expecting their first child), I was able to get him to stop for a few moments and reply to a few of my burning questions. Below they appear only slightly condensed.

Q. John you stay in close contact with your constituency through e-mail updates, on-line newsletters and a comprehensive website. In general, how has this been received by the public?

JA: From the feedback I have been receiving from other elected officials and constituents, I think they are happy with the easier availability of information the website provides.

Shortly after it was up and running, a fellow Tazewell County Board Member told me that he was looking for the contact information of a local municipality in District Three. He joked that using my website was easier than the phone book.

As far as my constituents, with Tazewell County currently not having a County Board website (one is on the way in the next month) many have been looking for information and not finding it. Even if what they are looking for is not on the website, I make it well known that they can ask me and I will get it for them.

Q. How long have you been doing this and what gave you the idea?

JA: The Website went live on March 21st, 2009, and is part of a pledge to increase communication with the County Board. The Tazewell County Board Website was still being discussed but I decided that I wanted to move more quickly to get the information out to the people of my district and the county.

The website also developed from a need to more accurately and more timely get information out to my constituents concerning past action and upcoming issues and concerns. In the past, politicians have had to rely on the media to not only accurately understand and translate our message but to also generate interest in what we want to discuss.

With the Newsletter that I have attached with my Website, I have the freedom to get my message to my constituents out timelier, in my words, in full context, whenever I want to. This freedom also allows me the opportunity to address issues being discussed in the media in the same way. An added bonus is that by adding the media to this Newsletter, they have the option of using or printing my Newsletters in their media with little to no hassle.

I really feel we have a problem with the general public's expectations of their elected officials being too low. Too many believe that the job involves showing up to a meeting and placing a vote. In the end I feel that the purpose of representative government is not just to place votes, but also to gather information and explain it back to the individuals that have elected you. It is time for us to remember that the people are the employers and the boss, not the elected official. The website helps me with this and is one additional tool I can and do use to meet their expectations.

Q. Have you had any problems with this type of communication and what advice would you give other young politicians running for office.

JA: As far as problems, I would have to say that there have been some that have not felt comfortable with the website. Some have been bothered by the fact that this is currently the only source for some of this information since the County does not have a website yet. Others have questioned the need for this level of availability. To both of these concerns, I feel they will become less relevant as this technology becomes more common practice rather than such a novelty. If you look at other parts of the country, other areas where technology is more a part of the daily life, websites like mine are the norm.

In Chicago, many County and City Officials have both an Official Office Website and a Political Website. We are already seeing this technology locally used in campaigns, so it is only a mater of time before it becomes the norm.

As far as advice, I would strongly recommend getting started with a website early in the process. Having a site ready to go at day one in a campaign and carrying it throughout the process and into the elected office will help guarantee a familiar and consistent location for information and outlet for communication. I can think of hundreds of examples of how this has helped me and none where it has hurt me. Communication is always a good thing.

End interview

I have to say, I agree with him on pretty much all points. He reminds me of my friend, Laura Petelle, newly elected member of the District 150 School board, who shares and executes a similar philosophy via her blog. Communication and transparency from government officials is here to stay. Adapt or die. It can be cumbersome. It can be inconvenient. It can be downright ugly. But the John Q. Public has already had a taste of it and they ain't going back. From nearly every perspective, the informed voter rightfully feels that politicians in general have squandered their good will and as taxpayers, they want back in control.

Here are some words of advice to the more established guard. There is plenty of room in the political rainbow for all competent and honest public servants. Each individual, young or old, male or female, Democrat or Republican - brings their own skills set to the table. For the more seasoned politician who has been around the block or two, it may be wisdom, experience, understanding. Gently share your expertise and combine your talents with your less experienced albeit energetic counterparts and perhaps, together, we can work to improve the many serious issues facing our community and our nation.
You can sign up to recieve Mr. Ackerman's on-line newsletter by submitting your e-mail address on his homepage at

Friday, October 16, 2009


subject line should be sung to "I'm proud to be an American".

Dan Rutherford is a Republican candidate running unopposed for Illinois State Treasurer. Currently he is State Senator of the 53rd District. I have had the pleasure of meeting Dan on several occasions. Aside from an amiable personality, Dan has quite a compelling stump speech. He tells stories of meetings he has with heads of organizations throughout Chicago and the rest of the state - organizations that many would consider "left" leaning. He contacts them not only in the course of his senatorial duties but also to ask for their support in his campaign for Treasurer.

Dan tells the story of how repeatedly, during meetings with many of these leaders, they will undoubtedly at some point lean in to him quietly and say "You know, Dan, I'm actually a Republican". His pat reply has become: "You know (name of person here), you don't have to whisper anymore...". Of course die-hard Republicans love the story, cause we know what he's talking about. With afew exceptions, voters can be as finicky as fair-weather Cubs Fans.

Dan Rutherford speaks to campaign supporters at
Mona's in Toluca, IL, Marshall County

If Dan gets to your town, it really is a treat to meet him. He also stays in touch with his constituency via a Facebook fan page, and his website. Definitely a fun fellow to follow. Good luck, Dan!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Photos from the PCRW's Operation Santa workshop

Last Thursday Peoria County Republican Women gathered to cut, sew and press Christmas stockings of all colors and patterns for our soldiers overseas. We had a great time and the work product was absolutely lovely if I may say so myself.

There may be one more workshop before the stockings are due on November 1, but you can make a donation today towards the shipping costs. According to the Operation Santa website, a donation of $60 will pay the shipping costs for 30 stockings.

You may make checks payable to Operation Santa and mail your check to the Republican Headquarters:

Peoria County Republican Central Committee
8835 N Knoxville Ave.
Peoria,IL. 61615
Phone: 309-688-5542

Times are tough for everyone but what could be more important than taking care of our loved ones in harms way over the Holiday Season?

If you have a loved one serving overseas please call Republican Headquarters with that persons unit information.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Peoria Republican Women gear up for "Operation Santa" workshop!

From Peoria County Republican Women President Carol Hornickle:

We will be at Republican Headquarters at 8835 N. Knoxville Avenue, Suite 8 from 9:30 A.M. til 4:00 P.M. Thursday, October 1st cutting, pressing and sewing stockings.

Come with scissors, fabric, sewing machine or just yourself to help us on our goal of supplying stockings to our troops all over the world.

The total goal is 35,000 stockings! Thank goodness WE don't have to do that many!

We are accepting checks made out to Operation Santa as well. This helps with filling and shipping those stockings. If you have travel-sized shampoos, conditioners, soaps, toothpaste, lotions or the like, please bring them.

Rather than you buying items, please consider writing a check. The Opearion Santa buyers can purchase tax-free and in bulk so it is much more efficient for them to do the buying.

Our deadline this year for getting items and stockings completed is November 1st. The stuffing and shipping will be completed before Thanksgiving. Please participate in some way.

Also, if you have a loved one who is in the Armed Services, please forward the complete shipping info to us. Their unit will receive stockings. It's an awesome gift to give to someone important to you.

Home of the free....because of the brave,
Let's not forget that!


Carol Hornickle

If you are not familiar with the PCRW, it is a guaranteed good time. These women really know how to party! Trust me.

See you there!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Aaron Schock tapped to offer rebuttal to Presidents health care plan!

President Obama will be making the rounds on the Sunday morning talk shows to discuss his health care plan. ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN will all be the benefactors of his fine oratory prowess.

FOX News is apparently being boycotted by the open, inclusive and transparent President.

Anyhow, to rebut the Obama Health Plan, Fox News has tapped Congressman Aaron Schock.

The Schock segment will air at 11:05 am our time tomorrow on the Fox News Channel. It seems like just yesterday he was asking for our vote for school board! What a journey this must be for him.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

State Rep. David Leitch brings out the heavy hitters for re-election campaign.

"Does Representative David Leitch possess the boyish charm of Jack Kennedy? The compelling eloquence of Barrack Obama? The stealthy, wily intrigue of Bill Clinton? No, not at all, ladies and gentlemen. THAT is the point!"

Those are the words spoken by Joe O'Neill as he introduced State Representative David Leitch to a gathering of friends and community leaders at his annual "Leaders for Leitch" fundraiser Monday night at the Peoria Country Club. David Leitch is seeking re-election to his Twelfth term in the Illinois General Assembly. The room was nearly at capacity as approximately 400 community leaders from throughout Central Illinois gathered to recognize the excellence in advocacy they receive at the hands of Representative David Leitch.

Below are Joe's remarks in their entirety.
The David Leitch message of Republican Conservatism IS a message of Hope; and I don’t say that tongue in cheek, because we all know our current president ran on such a message.

The David Leitch definition of Hope is not quite the same.

His Hope is founded upon the strongest, most ardent belief in the individual, in the self.

His Hope is founded upon the belief of what each of you can do, each and every day, when you get out of bed, but you have to try.

His Hope is a belief that we are upon this earth to always strive to be better than we are, to have a beneficial impact on the world in which we live.

His Hope is our belief in our common humanity, NOT our cultural weaknesses.

And if I might be so bold as to steal the message that our President OBama gave to students of America last week: Stay In School, Work Hard, and, no matter what your home life, no excuses!

Ladies and Gentlemen, if that is not a conservative message, I don’t know what is.

This is the message, the HOPE, of David Leitch.

And I look at David Leitch.

A Representative who tirelessly works to support legislation that gives dignity and respect back to the individual.

Who does not waste time questioning the motives of his fellow legislators, Democrat or Republican.

David Leitch absolutely refuses to engage the utterly needless, adolescent bickering of so many politicians and pundits these days.

His list of achievements and awards is nearly as long as the list of tournaments that Tiger Woods has won.

He has received these acknowledgements for extremely good reason.

FOR TO BE CLEAR, his conservative message of hope is not strict dogma, not a matter of blind, unthinking, faith, not a nearly malicious fixation on a particular philosophy.

Because he knows, as we all know, that there are people who truly cannot help themselves.

After Joe's remarks, David addressed the crowd with his typical dry wit and deadpan which served to confirm the many reasons we, his constituency find him so appealing.

Some other interesting comments from the evening came from Jim Owens, CEO of Caterpillar, who reflected back on the difficulties and realities of the last fiscal year. According to Owens, the stunning drop in demand last year for Caterpillar products was unprecedented. They had not seen numbers like these since the 1930's. "Demand for our product dropped in the neighborhood of 65 - 80%", Jim explained. The audience gasped. Despite those numbers, the company will still end up in the black - and he gives full credit to his dedicated employees. He says they have tolerated lay-offs, rolling layoffs, and cuts in benefits, with virtually no grumbling. "People understand, and we have stood together, and we have weathered the storm together." The reverence that he feels towards his employees and their sacrifices is genuine - I'm certain. His remarks were very moving.

Jim Owens does indeed seem to be a remarkable leader and he, along with many others has thrown his full support behind the work that Rep. David Leitch has done on behalf of citizens and business in Central Illinois.

Currently, the Leitch camp is not aware of a primary opponent. However, they will not know for certain until primary petitions are filed October 26. The Democrats could potentially appoint someone to the ballot after the February primary to run against him as well. Regardless, there is no doubt in this writers mind that David will be slugging it out in Springfield during his 12th term.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Republicans break bread at Illinois State Fair

In answer to the question I posed earlier regarding what is more fun than a bus load of Republicans on a road trip - I have the answer. Can't think of a thing! Our journey was a resounding success. Thank you to Carol Hornickle, President of Peoria County Republican Women and the entire PCRW and Peoria Republican Central Committee for providing the opportunity for an every day Schmo like myself to rub shoulders with state leaders of our party. What an outstanding line-up of candidates the GOP has to offer and not a moment to soon!

We departed the Repub Headquarters right on time at 8:30 AM. When I boarded our beautifully appointed Peoria Charter bus complete with restroom with our 2 young children in tow, I asked for a show of hands from anyone who wanted to sit next to my kids! Ha ha. Of course, they were welcomed with open arms.

After we arrived we had about 90 minutes to peruse the fairgrounds before the scheduled events began. During that time the kids milked a cow, saw some goats, sheep, pigs and horses, and checked out the Environmental exhibits.

We met back at the Republican tent for a picnic lunch compliments of State Treasurer candidate Judy Baar Topinka. A slate of supporters for just about every Gubernatorial and Senate candidate were present and the kids were in sticker Heaven. By the end of the day they were little self contained parades. Stickers, buttons, fans and other assorted parahenilia flowed freely at this event. It was quite a sight, and my little future GOP-ers felt right at home amidst the charged atmosphere.

We hob-knobbed with candidates and as you can see, several of our gals hold a special fondness for Senate Candidate John Arrington. John has shown the love to Central Illinois and we appreciate it!

There was a great deal of anticipation leading up to the introduction of the candidates, and pretty much the Who's Who of Illinois Republican politics was present, including House Republican leader Tom Cross, our own Aaron Schock, Andy McKenna who resigned yesterday as the Chairman of the GOP, and his designated replacement, Pat Brady.

Not surprisingly, and I may be just a teeny bit biased, the high point of the day was a rousing rally cry from Congressman Schock exposing the failures of the Democratic leadership in Illinois and the unfortunate consequences that have been thrust upon us. "Before I begin, can I please have a show of hands from anyone who is here against their will?" His point was clear. The crowd loved it!

Our final destination was a soiree hosted by State Treasurer candidate Dan Rutherford. Great guy, and thanks for the beer, Dan. Dan is running unopposed at the moment- every candidates dream!

As we prepared for our journey home we were given a final farewell from Senate candidate Mark Kirk and Treasurer Candidate Dan Rutherford, who bid our gang farewell from the front of the bus.

It was just a fabulous time, and the kids are already asking where we are going next. Ideas??? Post them here!

Monday, August 10, 2009

What is more fun than a bus load of Republicans on a road trip?

Join Peoria County Republicans on August 20th for a trip to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield to find out! The Peoria County Republican Central committee is sponsoring a bus- trip to Springfield for Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair. The bus will leave from the Republican Headquarters at 8:30 AM. The price of $25. includes transportation, fair entrance fee, snacks on the trip, a picnic lunch at the fair and beverage.

From the Peoria County Republican Central Committee:

This is the season to learn who our candidates will be - they will all be available to us at this event. Take advantage of this great opportunity.

IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF PCRCC OR PEORIA COUNTY REPUBLICAN WOMEN, THE PRICE IS ONLY $15.00. This is our version of a stimulus package! A portion of the cost of this event is being underwritten for members in order to make our presence known at Republican Day.

One huge advantage of going by bus is that we won't have to walk far to the Director's Lawn.

Reservations can be made on a first come - first serve basis. Stop by the Republican Headquarters at 8835 N. Knoxville Ave, Suite 8, Peoria, IL 61614 to reserve your spot. Questions can be addressed to PCRW President Carol Hornickle at 589-0966 or at the Republican Headquarters at 689-8467.

Children are welcome (or at least I hope they are) haha.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


The Peoria 9-12 Project is hosting a:
Sept 17th, NOON
Peoria County Courthouse
324 Main St.
Peoria, IL 616102

On Sept 17th 1787, 42 our of 55 delegates to the constitutional convention held their final meeting. Only one item of business occupied the agenda that day, to sign the constitution of the United States.

Please, come join us and make your voice be heard. Whether your upset about the TARP, Stimulus bill, Cap and Trade, Socialized health care, gov. infringing on private businesses, or fed up with the political rhetoric/politicians b.s.,fight for that cause with your fellow AMERICANS!! Now is the time to unite and defend our FREEDOMS.

Please contact me with any questions.
Jody Pitcher RN, BSN
Peoria 9-12 Project
Chapter Organizer

Monday, July 27, 2009

John Vespa announces candidacy for Circuit Judge

From a Press Release:

Peoria attorney John Vespa announced today he will seek the Republican nomination for judge in the 10th Judicial Circuit. He will run for the seat that is being vacated by his oldest brother, Judge Joe Vespa.

“I am running for judge because I have the experience, temperament and values to effectively make decisions that are fair and uphold the standards of the law,” Vespa said. “My diverse background as a practicing attorney, police officer, and community leader gives me the proper experience to serve as a judge and uphold the principles of the law.”

Vespa is a Peoria native with 17 years of extensive experience throughout the state of Illinois and primarily in the 10th Judicial Circuit. His practice includes both criminal and civil law and he has appeared in many Illinois trial court circuits, the Illinois Appellate Court (3rd District), Federal District Court, and before numerous governmental agencies.

“My legal practice involves working directly with people, from representing them in the courtroom to meeting with them in my office to interviewing witnesses in their homes and business,” Vespa said. “I think it is critical for a judge to have such diverse experience dealing with people because the decisions made in the courtroom have such an enormous impact on our society.”

The son of a Caterpillar welder, Mario Vespa, who was born in Toluca, and June Aleene Vespa, John worked as a Peoria County Sheriff’s Deputy where he received a Distinguished Service Award and three Letters of Commendation and was a member of the Honor Guard. While working full-time at the Sheriff’s Department, Vespa obtained a B.A. degree in Social Justice from the University of Illinois at Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University) and was on the Dean’s List. Vespa graduated from Southern Illinois University Law School and received several academic honors, including the Book Award, which is the highest honor given for trial advocacy, and was a finalist (highest honor given) in the Moot Court competition. He was also a member of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity.

Vespa is an active community volunteer and has served on the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) executive board, the Peoria High School Alumni Association and the Peoria County Bar Association Board of Directors. He has volunteered for Special Olympics, the Center for Prevention of Abuse and the American Legion. Vespa also served as Director of the Legal Assistance to Military People (LAMP) program from its inception after its founding by the Peoria County Bar Association.

Vespa was a starting member of the 1974-75 Peoria High School football team that won the Mid-State Nine conference championship and participated in the last Turkey Day game and the first ever Illinois High School football tournament.

Vespa resides in Peoria with his wife, Diane, who is a Realtor in the Peoria area. They have two children, Jim (7) and Jenniffer (6).

The 10th Judicial Circuit includes Peoria, Tazewell, Stark, Marshall and Putnam Counties. The primary election is on Tuesday, February 2, 2010.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Kate Gorman announces candidacy for 10th Judicial Circuit

From Peoria Pundit Blog:

Washington, IL: Associate Judge Kate Gorman is announcing her candidacy for the 10th Judicial Circuit Seat vacated by retired Judge John Barra. Judge Glenn Collier was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve out the remainder of Judge Barra’s term and will not be running for the seat. Kate Gorman was appointed as an Associate Judge in November 2007, winning nomination out of a group of 44 applicants.

Since taking the bench in November 2007, Judge Gorman has presided over felony and misdemeanor jury and bench trials in domestic violence court. She currently hears Orders of Protection, child support, forcible entry and detainer cases, small claims, adoptions, ordinance violations, and presides over mental health hearings.

Judge Gorman is a Washington, IL native, having attended Central Grade School and Washington Community High School. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Illinois. After her undergraduate studies, she went on to graduate from Southern Illinois University Law School in 1993.

She practiced law with the firm of Prusak & Winne from 1993-2007, where she became a partner in 1999. While practicing law, she consulted on civil matters including civil litigation, family law, real estate, guardianships, adoptions, workers compensation, bankruptcy, foreclosures, appellate work, corporate matters, and probate. She has also been a hearing officer for the Peoria Housing Authority and is a certified mediator. Judge Gorman holds memberships in both the Illinois Bar Association and the Peoria County Bar Assciation.

She is married to Dr. Jim Hubler and together they have two daughters, Ellie (7) and Ava (2). They reside in Washington, Illinois. Judge Gorman and her family look forward to vigorously campaigning for the position, which covers Peoria, Tazewell, Marshall, Stark, and Putnam counties.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Representative David Leitch wants YOUR help in balancing Illinois budget!

Please help stop Illinois Government waste! You can help house Republicans balance the budget WITHOUT raising taxes by posting your suggestions at this new website.

From a Press Release:

State Representative David Leitch seeks Taxpayer Input to “Reinvent” Illinois Government

Peoria, IL…State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) is asking taxpayers to visit the newly created website to submit ideas on how lawmakers can cut the state budget and what reforms are needed to reinvent state government.

“With Governor Quinn suggesting an income tax increase, it is more important than ever for the State to institute spending reforms,” said Rep. Leitch. “The House Republican Caucus has created a website looking for suggestions about where we can cut waste. Taxpayers are encouraged to visit the website and submit ideas they have about reforming state government and creating better fiscal responsibility.”

While Democrats who control state government continue to push for an increase in the state’s income tax, Rep. Leitch is advocating for budget cuts and fiscal reforms before a tax increase is considered and for reforms necessary to restore the business climate and fight corruption.

We must we enact meaningful reforms that address our current budget dilemma, and enact reforms to improve the long-term health and well-being of our state,” said Rep. Leitch.

Leitch said constituents often call his office to report examples of waste. The website will collect ideas so they can be shared with his colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor.

“Families have to make cuts to their household budgets, so should the state,” he said.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Will Concealed Carry Play In Peoria?

Post by Atomic Lib Smasher

Even though this is more of a local story for me, it also might peak some interest nationwide. Peoria mayor Jim Ardis is doing something right by advocating for our city to become the anti-Chicago and allowing for law-abiding citizens to engage in their 2nd Amendment rights against the growing crime rate here.

In a PJ Star online poll, the majority of the city supports concealed carry in Peoria. Nationwide, even more Americans agree that the citizens do have a right to keep and bear arms.

I haven't a clue on why the liberals want law abiding citizens to become less and less readily available to defend themselves. If it were fully up to them, they would ban Super Soakers. But here (ala that hack David Letterman) is a 10 top reason for less gun control.

10. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
9. Guns don't kill people, but they make the bullets go much faster to kill people with.
8. Criminals don't obey gun control laws either.
7. Expecting criminals to care that they are breaking the law when carrying a concealed weapon is like expecting a terrorist to care if his car bomb is taking up two parking spaces.
6. For some reason, "gun free zones" seem to have the most gun deaths.
5. An armed society is a polite society. Manners would be important when your life depends on it.
4. Criminals love gun control laws. It makes their job safer.
3. Women are much safer against a rapist with a gun in their purse than a condom. (And chicks with guns are even hotter)
2. Would you rather be a gun owner or a victim?

And finally the number 1 reason for less gun control, is...

1. Buy a gun, piss off a liberal and support the Constitution.

I certainly hope concealed carry passes in Peoria. If so, rest assured that the high crime rate here would go down substantially.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We take our freedom for granted

Check out these photos of Iranian citizens risking their lives and flooding the streets to protest a scourge upon their freedom - a suspected fraudulent election.

These photos are heartbreaking. Men and women standing side by side, in defiance of a government ban to stand for the privilege of Democracy.

Contrast that with the behavior of the average American. I believe less than 20% bothered to cast their vote in an air-conditioned polling place in our last Peoria election.

It is only by the grace of God that we live the privileged and free life we do in the greatest country in the world. Let's not forget that. God bless America, and may God bless the Iranians.

Hat tip - Peoria Pundit

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It’s Can The Republicans Wake Up, Not Will They?

On Tuesday June 9th the Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Jan Larimer, held a town hall meeting at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria, Il. Several 9-12’ers were in attendance hoping to see a new push from the GOP toward conservative values in line with those held by the 9-12 project.
The town hall meeting began with a moment of prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a brief introduction by the Illinois State Chairperson of the RNC. The crowd of about 100 was made up of prominent local business owners, local city councilmen, county board members, State Representatives, and , most importantly, average citizens.
The hope among 9-12’ers was to hear a new message of a return to strong conservative principles by the GOP. Unfortunately, 9-12’ers and many others in attendance walked away more disheartened about the future of the conservative movement.
Larimer began with a brief statement informing the audience of her background, as well as the RNC’s new direction. In the opening statement she mentioned things like: a return to conservative values, not compromising our values, returning to the base of the Republican party, etc…
The crowd was noticeably enthused about these statements, but the thought in the back of everyone’s mind was, “How do we do this?”
Larimer went on to explain how Republicans need to become more tech savvy. They need to use Facebook, Myspace, and begin using Twitter and other forms of social networking to grow the base of conservatives in this country. Many agreed.
After answering the question of how to get the message out, it became clear very quickly, that she skipped over the most important thing. What is message the RNC wants to get out?
Several members of the audience tried to pin down exactly what the RNC stands for with piercing questions. The answers ranged from “A return to conservative values” to “working with our base” and other vague statements. As the audience members cut through the smoke, an energy began to resonate. You could feel the mood change among members, not just 9-12’ers.
At one point Larimer began to lecture on the point that the Republicans need to appeal to the moderates and independents. She said the GOP needs to focus on the Hispanic vote, the black vote, and came as close as possible to saying Republicans should shelf the more controversial social issues(Pro-life, anti-amnesty) in order to appease those offended by the conservative position on these topics.
It became pretty clear that while the RNC says they want to “hold true to their conservative values”, when it actually comes to doing it, they are still too scared of losing strategic voting groups to make a clear statement.
At one point Larimer began to speak of strategic areas of the country that the GOP needs to win elections. She talked about the Northeast and New England areas. She spoke of the problems the GOP had because of the liberal hold on these areas. She explained the urgency of winning elections in these areas at whatever cost. She said this was imperative the Republicans gaining power again.
After various audience members pleaded with her to stand strong as a conservative and others will follow, she kept with the argument, “we want to win don’t we?”
Win at all cost was the theme of the day. The audience was angry. The people were witnessing the RNC’s attempt to get back in power rather to get back to principles.
When leaving the town hall meeting it was depressing to think that after the tough elections Republicans faced in the fall, they still had not figured out that nominating one of the most progressive Republican Candidates in John McCain did not work.
The strategy of appealing to the moderates, and “reaching across the isle” did not work and can not work. Republicans should pay attention to the people at the town hall meetings. Stop thinking of this country as some sort of strategic map and start standing for something.
Citizens in the country need a clear alternative to the liberal agenda of the left. We need to get back to speaking to the individual and the rights of each individual instead of segmenting the population into focus groups, ethnic groups, and voting factions.
Speak to the individual and appeal to the God given rights within each of us, and people will follow. Unfortunately, at this point the RNC is not demonstrating that they are prepared to stand up for conservatives. Until they do, it is hard to trust that they are even capable of it. It seems their goal is to win the election at all cost.
9-12’ers believe it is better to lose an election standing hard for your principles than to win an election through compromise. Sending a compromising individual to Washington results in an individual that compromises the people in Washington.

Written by:
Jody Pitcher
Peoria 9-12 Project
Chapter Leader

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Peoria 9-12 Project is hosting Joan Krupa as guest speaker

The Peoria 9-12 Project will be hosting Joan Krupa as a guest speaker. The topic of discussion is on reforming ethics in IL politics. This is a non-partisan discussion for citizens to learn how to hold our elected officials accountable and represent the principles and values we, as Americans stand for. All who have concerns are welcome. The discussion will be held at Peoria Lakeview Library on Saturday May 30th, at 3pm. Please contact me by, Jody Pitcher to RSVP.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meanwhile, Rep. David Leitch moves and shakes in Springfield...

Judging from the following press release, it appears that our state Representative David Leitch is well plugged into the needs of the community and is busy moving legislation through the ranks in Springfield. Currently, David is focusing on reforming the states mental health system, constituent services, and the issues relating to health care in Illinois. He is also working on economic development, education reform and restoring the Illinois River.

There is no substitute for experience in government, and David seems to know the ropes well enough to affect real and positive change in Illinois. Way to go, David. We are so proud of you, and continue to pray for your sucess!

From a Press Release:

Leitch Bills supporting Mental Health Services and Renewable Energy go to Governor this Week

Springfield, IL… State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) is pleased to announce that two bills he passed in the Illinois House (HB 204 and HB 3746) have now passed the Illinois Senate and will be sent to the Governor.

House Bill 204 would require the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to reimburse advanced practice nurses for psychiatric services they provide, as authorized by law, to Medicaid recipients.

Under current law, the Illinois Medicaid Program does not reimburse for Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) services delivered to patients for psychiatric conditions. By allowing reimbursements to APN’s for mental health services, additional individuals may be reached in underserved populations such as rural areas and low-income urban settings. Delivery of services by APN’s has been cost effective for the delivery of other health care services and would be a potential cost effective solution to increased delivery of mental health services.

“Since there are only 5,000 child psychiatrists in the U.S., this bill is of extreme importance for increasing behavioral healthcare services,” Leitch said. “I have been trying to pass this for 10 years, so I thank Sen. Dale Risinger for his great work in the Senate.”

The other bill passed, House Bill 3746 would provide that a county or municipality may not require a wind tower that is used exclusively by the end-user to be setback more than 1.1 times the height of the device from the property line.

“The problem is the current law is designed for wind farms, not a single user,” said Leitch"

Under current law, counties and municipalities have the authority to regulate the siting of wind farms or wind devices. However, if signed into law, this bill will ensure that a property owner can install a wind tower for personal purposes without having to adhere to county and municipal setbacks that are required for larger wind farms.

Leitch said he was pleased at the progress of his legislative agenda this session and went on to say that, “these two bills, especially, are of critical importance throughout the state and I am hopeful that Governor Quinn will soon sign them into law.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Aaron Schock to host Congressional Art Competition this Saturday at Lakeview Museum

From a News release:

Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) will announce the winners of this year’s Congressional Arts Competition at the Lakeview Museum at 2:00 p.m., on Saturday May 16, 2009. All participants, along with their families, teachers, media and the general public are invited to attend this reception.

“I know how valuable creative expression is for students’ growth,” Schock said. “I am just amazed at the level of talent at this year competition. Some terrific works were submitted by so many students; the choice is certainly going to be difficult. No matter which work is chosen, the Eighteenth district will certainly be well represented in Washington.”

WHO: Congressman Aaron Schock

WHAT: 27th Annual Congressional Arts Competition

WHERE: Lakeview Museum, 1125 West Lake Avenue, Peoria

WHEN: 2:00 p.m., May 16, 2009

The competition, open to all area high school students, included paintings, drawings, collage, prints, mixed media, computer generated art and photography.

The “Top Ten” and “Best in Show” will be determined by Jim Richerson, President & CEO of Lakeview Museum; William Butler Executive Director of the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria; and Jennifer Lee Executive Director of the Peoria Art Guild, who are serving on the judges panel.

At the end of June, the winning artwork will hang for one year beside works from other Congressional districts in the passageway between the House office buildings and the United States Capitol.

The Congressional Arts Competition began in 1982 as an attempt to offset reductions in federal grants for arts programs by giving creative students the chance to have their talents recognized nationwide. Since then, more than 650,000 students have participated in the competition. The work of thousands of young American artists has been showcased in the Capitol complex.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rove Against Card Check

by Atomic Lib Smasher

Card check does not play in Peoria. Former adviser to President George W. Bush was in town yesterday speaking at one of the downtown hotels against the misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act", which basically makes votes to unionize public. From The Peoria Journal Star:

Labor leaders say relationships they worked to build with management for more than 20 years in central Illinois were jeopardized Monday with Karl Rove's appearance to speak against the Employee Free Choice Act.

Though his appearance only lasted about an hour, the effects will be long lasting. The closed-door fundraiser was hosted by the Economic Freedom Alliance, a seven-state coalition that opposes the legislation and is traversing the Midwest.

"This group comes in without any care or any sensitivity towards those relationships. Bringing Karl Rove in is a lightning rod. That's not somebody you bring in to have a meaningful dialogue," said state Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria.

Rove was a former adviser to President George W. Bush and currently is a commentator for Fox News. About 200 people representing roughly 30 unions rallied outside the Hotel Pere Marquette supporting the act, which they say will make it easier for employees to join labor unions.

The thing about card check is that it brings in more government to the workplace and further intruding on your lives. Those who should normally be making the decisions regarding union contracts - the employers and employees - would have the terms ultimately dictated to them by Big Government. Most importantly, each worker would be required to publicly declare their candidate of choice to anyone within eyesight or earshot. How is that "free choice"? Especially when you know how "coercive" union leaders can be?

I admit, in some places unions were needed for fair treatment of workers. But this was back in the days of kids working in coal mines and people exhausting themselves working 14 hour days 6 days a week. Now there are laws in effect that do protect workers from harsh practices. Unions anymore are more of a political arm for the Democrat party. Look at the teacher's unions, the UAW, SEIU, AFSCME, etc. All vote heavily Democrat. Why? They want to vote in the party that's going to help them more, such as with this card check even though it takes away the right to privacy (you libs should be all for that) of the employees on whether to unionize or not.

Now I know the libs would view someone like Karl Rove "in favor of big businesses and the corporations!" But it's "big business" that does employ people and work to keep prices low for the consumer. Take a look at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has the lowest prices around due to the fact that they do not have to raise them to pay for a union. Therefore more people shop there, and more jobs are needed. Karl Rove is not in favor of "big business". He and many others are in favor of big wallet America. Less union dues equals more money in your pocket! Now, if we could only do something about those high taxes.

I would put up the rest of the piece, but it is extremely biased. Probably due to the unionized forces (and the Democrat sycophants) for the PJ Star. They say nothing about the negative aspects, for which there are plenty including loss of jobs, in the story whatsoever.

Cross posted over at The Conservative Dominion.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Peoria 9-12 Project

We are a local organization in Peoria, IL. We met for the first time on March 13, 2009 to view a live television special aired by Glenn Beck on Fox News Channel. We had 156 people attend and started organizing that day. Our group's foundation is based on the 9-12 principles and values listed by Glenn Beck.

Principles:1. America Is Good. 2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. 3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. 4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. 5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. 6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. 7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. 8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. 9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

12 Values: Honesty, Reverence, Hope, Thrift, Humility, Charity, Sincerity, Moderation, Hard, Work, Courage, Personal, Responsibility, Gratitude.

Peoria 9-12 Project was one of the organizers' for the April 15th Tea Party. This was our first rally to express our concerns for the enormous spending our government is responsible for. Currently, we are planning for future rallies. Our next rally is May 30th at noon in Liberty Park.

Peoria 9-12 Project meets twice a month. We believe in being proactive in local, state, and federal legislation, educating our community, and furthering the conservative movement. Our next meeting is Sat. May 9th at Lakeview Library at 4pm. On May 30th at 3pm at Lakeview Library, Joan Krupa will be our guest speaker. She will be discussing ethics reform in IL politics. All are welcome, limited space available. Please visit to sign up for a local chapter near you. I am the organizer for Peoria and you can contact me by email (

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Congressman Schock goes to bat for Peoria's #1 employer

Aaron Schock lays it all out for Neil Cavuto on how President Obama's new plan to tax off-shore profits of US companies will have devastating consequences for the likes of Caterpillar, Inc.

"What the President is talking about will close the door on good paying American jobs. The head of tax law at Caterpillar told me that this plan would have devastating consequences on their ability to compete globally and will speed up the process of foreign competitors buying up US Corporations."

Schock hopes that the phones in the Halls of Congress ring off the hook with calls from employees and shareholders urging them to kill this plan.

For some on-going local perspective on this issue, see this thread over at the Peoria Pundit.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aaron Schock on Bradley Student Radio

Bradley Junior Wassim was thrilled to welcome Congressman Aaron Schock on his weekly radio show. Last week Schock dropped by The Edge Bradley Student Radio for a light-hearted casual interview. The discussion centered around issues relevant to Bradley Students. He talked about how he was able to complete his college career by the use of summer school and mini-mesters, and also talked about his life in Washington.

No doubt Aaron welcomed an easy interview after going up against the likes of Steven Colbert. Kudos to Aaron for never forgetting his roots. Thanks to Paul Wilkinson for the hawtie photos!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fair and Balanced

I always squirm a little bit when I hear Fox News refer to itself as fair and Balanced. Anyone with half a brain would realize that it is no more fair and balanced than, say, CNN.

I did have a lightbulb moment today when I realized that if you look at it from a broader perspective, as in the entire Media, this little slice of conservative main stream media does help balance out the political scale. In fact, if we had about 3 more news channels just like Fox News, the distribution of main street media might then be considered fair and balanced.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This is kind of cool...

I have just started dabbling a little in Twitter. As I posted the prior story, I couldn't help but notice some of the links on the same site. Here I found the twitter page of Karl Rove. He is pretty hacked off at President Obama right now. He just published this in the Wall Street Journal.

You can follow your friends, enemies, celebrities, and politicians on Twitter (if they twitter). Search for their name here. All Repubs should have a Twitter account. If you don't know anything about it, stay tuned. I'll write more about it later.

Oh, and memo to Aaron (if you are reading)- send a few Tweets to populate your Twitter page! Lol!

Schock among DC's most influential "under 40"

Here is the link

Leading The News
Rep. Schock is D.C. influential after three months
By Michael Gleeson
Posted: 04/17/09 11:47 AM [ET]

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) has been a member of Congress for only a little more than three months and has already made a list of the 250 most influential Washingtonians under 40.

Schock, who at 27 is the youngest member of Congress, joined basketball player Caron Butler of the Washington Wizards and several other lawmakers on the Washington Life magazine’s list.

“It is great to meet all of these people who have made a difference of the community here in D.C.,” said Butler, one of several on the list honored for their charitable work. “I have met a lot of very interesting people, and I am honored to have made the list."

Besides Schock, notable political names on the list include Reps. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), Glenn Nye (D-Va.) and Adam Putnam (R-Fla.). Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) and Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty also made the list.

In the past, Washington Life’s “Young and The Guest List” was a reflection of one’s social status in the city. This year, however, the magazine emphasized charitable contributions.

Change, as reflected in politics, was on the lips of many at a Thursday night gathering of those who made the list.

“The promise of change, the idea President Obama spoke about on his campaign is here in this room tonight. Change is not just rhetoric anymore; the spirit is alive and visible in the achievements of the people at this party tonight,” said Lamell McMorris, founder and CEO of Perennial Strategy Group and a member of the list.

Sticking with the theme of change, Washington Life, which last year held its party in a mansion in Georgetown, this year utilized a space in an unoccupied office building in the Noma district (north of Massachusetts Avenue), which lies just north of Union Station and Capitol Hill.

A space comprised of nothing more than concrete floors and exposed duct working was transformed into one of the poshest party spaces, leaving many of the revelers in awe. Glamorous sitting couches, gorgeous bars and 360-degree views of the city from the 10th floor led many of the trendier, jet-setting attendees at the event to note how Washington Life had brought the spirit of a hip New York City party to D.C.

“I am grateful to be included on this list along with my good friends Adam Putnam and Glenn Nye,” Schock said in an interview Friday. He was unable to attend the party because he is back home in his district for the recess.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Is our local media arithmetically challenged?

Five hundred or three thousand? That is the question regarding the head count at last Tuesdays tea party in downtown Peoria.

It appears that our local newspaper estimated the crowd to be over 500, while WEEK reported closer to 3,000. Granted "over 500" could also mean 3,000, but so could the phrase "over 10".

My educated guess - somewhere in the middle - but closer to the higher figure. Maybe all media should consider having a trained in-house "crowd counter". ;)

Hat Tip: Atomic Lib Smasher

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Peorians exercise their right to assemble

Hundreds of protesters flooded the downtown Courthouse grounds yesterday to participate in one of the hundreds of tea parties going on all throughout the country. The tea party's are being used as a vehicle by ordinary citizens to voice their concern over the massive spending by congress.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I saw many of our local Republican friends in the crowd but the protest was non-partisan. Republicans, Democrats and Independents all weighed in. As usual I captured plenty of images to post here:

People came from all over the middle part of the state, including Henry, Kewanee, and Ottawa.

The signs were very clever and creative:

The protesters marched all around the courthouse several times and at its peak the line completed the full circle of sidewalk surrounding the courthouse.

Everything was very civil and peaceful but you could sense the level of commitment and determination of the protesters by how firm and how high they held their signs. There is something about a peaceful protest that sends chills up my spine every time. It just makes me so dang proud to be an American!

We should all be thankful for and exercise our amendment rights. Who knows how much longer they will be around.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Aaron Schock to appear on The Colbert Report tonight

Update: Schock Rocks!!! Both Schock and Colbert demonstrate their amazing skills of deadpan... Here is the link:

From an e-mail from Steven Shearer:

Hey all, Aaron Schock should appear on the Colbert Report tonight on Comedy Central cable network. Check local listings but it is usually on at 10:30 or 11:30 pm. Should be funny.

I'll post the youtube link here as soon as it is available!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Comments are now enabled...

Apparently some have been having trouble leaving comments. I believe I have identified the problem and it should be fixed. If you continue to have trouble please send an e-mail to

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Election wrap-up. Congrats to all of our candidates...

...particularly Mayor Jim Ardis who won re-election with over 90% of the vote. Has that ever happened before?

Dan Irving won handily with nearly 80% of the vote in the 5th District. He serves my district so I'll be keeping him busy. Heh heh.

Republican Patrick Nichting is our new City Treasurer. Congratulations to Pat on a brilliant campaign.

Tim Riggenbach will serve the 3rd District, winning by a slim 13 votes over Beth Akeson. Quite the nail biter. Outstanding campaigning by both candidates.

Barbara Van Auken defeated relative newcomer Curphy Smith in a contentious campaign. Curphy did very well against an incumbent and something tells me we will be seeing more of him.

Last but definitely not least my friend and fellow blogger LAURA PETELLE won Spanglers seat on the District 150 School Board. She won in a landslide victory capturing over 50% of the vote in a 3 way race - all the while struggling through a challenging pregnancy. I am so proud of you Laura and know that you are going to get in there and make the difference we have been praying for. Folks, Laura and I working together on her campaign is proof positive that Republicans and Democrats can and should work together to serve their community. Laura's resounding victory was a clear message from the community that they are tired of misplaced priorities - that they seek a new vision and direction from someone not tainted by failed, nepotistic district policies.

And lest I forget, I was tickled at the passing of the "Build the Block" referendum. That in itself was deserving of it's own post.

Congratulations to all the candidates, to those who prevailed and did not prevail. It takes a huge personal and professional sacrifice to put your reputation on the line and run for public office. You all stepped up and were there - an act deserving of our respect and admiration and we thank you.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Boston Tea Party makes its way to Peoria!

Several Peoria Tea Party Rallys are taking place on tax day, Wednesday, April 15. They will both take place downtown by the courthouse. The first one I was notified of via Peoria Republican Women e-mail. Here are the details:

Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Peoria County Courthouse Courtyard
324 Main Street, Peoria, IL 61602

Do you love this country? Do you love the rights and freedoms this country provides that so many died for? Do you want to see actions more than words from your politicians that reflect the principles and values you stand for? come to the Peoria Tea Party.

We will be meeting in the courtyard area where the vendors stands are in the summer. Please bring family and friends to join the cause. This would be a great experience for youngsters and teens. Also, bring signs that are constructive and peaceful. Make sure your voice is heard.

The details of another tea party taking place were posted on the Community Word blog here. That tea party is sponsored by a national organization. They will be meeting downtown as well. It appears there may be some overlap. I wonder if we should all try to join forces? In any event, I'm going to try to hit both of them. See you there!

Update: Here is some information about the Boston Tea Party for a few of my historically challenged friends at, who allege similarities between last weeks passage of the sales tax by voter referendum and the British Monarchy's taxation of the American colonists leading up to the infamous Boston Tea Party protests in 1773.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

State Representative Jim Watson speaks at Republican Womens Lunch

As we journey through this thing called life, occasionally we stumble upon someone truly remarkable. Peoria county Republican Women will agree that they did just that at Wednesday's luncheon when they were introduced to key note speaker State Representative Jim Watson. A quick youtube and google search of his name will give you just a sampling of the amazing story of this not-so-ordinary politician.

Representative Watson, who represents the 97th District (Springfield vicinity), is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and recently returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq. He had some amazing and inspiring stories to tell - and he doesn't hold back. He described the good, the bad and the ugly of his most recent tour- starting with the wrenching decision as to whether or not he should voluntarily embark upon another extended and dangerous tour of duty as the father of 3 children. "Once a marine, always a marine" Jim explained, and he knew some of his fellow marines were serving their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tours of duty. Additionally, he knew instinctively that he had the expertise they needed the most - government building. In his capacity as state legislator, he knew that he possessed the tools to help them succeed. True to the Marine spirit, Jim answered the call larger than himself and in February of 2008, departed for Iraq. His mission - to teach ordinary Iraqi's who have suffered under years of terror and oppression to learn to govern themselves.

Jim had a slide show presentation that illustrated their daily lives, their challenges and their successes. We were all moved as he showed the friendships and trust that developed between the people of Iraq and their Western liberators. He described the need for resourcefulness as the government they were to build would start from nothing. Jim explained how he downloaded Illinois statutes as a basis and modified them to fit the needs of the Iraqi people. He explained the challenges of instilling confidence in new Iraqi government leaders when those that fulfilled similar roles before them had been cruelly tortured and executed.

Jim completed his second tour of duty in September of '08. He said it was quite an adjustment returning to the relative opulence of American life. "Who would have ever thought that you would miss ice-cubes, or pavement?" He is somewhat disturbed by our cultures propensity to squander and take advantage of the opportunities we have here in America. I was reminded of our own election the day before where less than 20% of eligible voters turned out to vote.

Jim agrees with the current Obama Administration policy on Iraq. He feels that a gradual pull-out is in order and that this is the right time to begin the transition of power. In no small part due to the efforts of Representative Jim Watson and his comrades. Thank you, Jim, for blessing the Peoria Republicans, and thank you for your outstanding and selfless service to our country.

If you are so moved, you can send him an e-mail at and thank him as well.