Time to shut the Chicago revolving door

By Jordan Harp

“So where are you from?”

“(Insert Chicago suburb here), it’s near Chicago. Where are you from?”

“A town called Swansea.”

“Where’s that at?”

“It’s in southern Illinois”


And such is how a conversation normally goes for me with the typical student here whom I have just met.

I don’t have the exact numbers, but you only have to be here for a couple of days to realize that this campus is basically a far-flung suburb of Chicago. Chicagoans and Chicago suburbanites seem genuinely shocked sometimes that there is in fact life in Illinois below Champaign.

The same seems true for Illinois politics.

Of course the Chicago area is by far the most populated area in the state, so most state politicians would end up coming from the Chicago area.

Yet, it appears it is about time for Illinois citizens to start looking elsewhere than Chicago for their representation, because it isn’t only their baseball team that sucks. Pat Quinn, a Chicagoan, became our governor a couple of weeks ago, and as of this column’s printing, there have been no corruption scandals involving him. Give him time, he won’t disappoint.

But it is all too obvious that Chicago does have a bit of a problem with its politicians. Because of the problems politicians from Chicago have caused, it might be time for a ban on them running for office. Chicagoans may think this is ridiculous, but it is for their own good as well, because the crooked politicians that Chicago produces hurt the entire state. Who are these crooked politicians? Here are some examples.

Of course we have to start out with the recently removed Rod Blagojevich. The disgraced former governor was arrested on charges of attempting to sell Obama’s vacated Senate seat, among others. Blago was born and raised in Chicago’s northwest side.

His predecessor was George Ryan, who is currently serving six and a half years in prison over the illegal sale of licenses, state leases and contracts. Ryan grew up in Kankakee County, about 60 miles outside of Chicago, which just proves that you only have to be within the general vicinity of the city to be infected.

We also have Otto Kerner, who served as governor from 1961-1968. He was convicted in 1973 of accepting bribes, conspiracy, and perjury. He was a Chicagoan.

It isn’t just limited to governors. Carol Moseley Braun became the first black female senator and Illinois’ first female senator.

Some of her “errors” include: $249,000 in unaccounted campaign expenditures, a 1996 trip to meet with the then-dictator of Nigeria despite U.S. sanctions against him and hiding $28,750 from Medicaid and dividing it up between her and her two siblings for which she was later fined by the U.S. Senate. Once again, born and raised in Chicago.

There is also former representative Dan Rostenkowski, a nearly 40-year House member, who was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, a very powerful position. In 1996, Rostenkowski was convicted of conspiracy to launder money from the postal service. Another Chicagoan.

The opposite also seems to be true, where Illinois’ honest politicians come from other places. Lincoln was born in Kentucky, lived in Indiana, and then moved here at 16.

Paul Simon (not the musician), a former senator known for his bowties and integrity was born and raised in Oregon. Our last honest governor, Jim Edgar, was born in Oklahoma and raised in Charleston, a southern Illinois town.

Let’s give the benefit of the doubt to Durbin, Burris and Obama, mainly because none of them were born or raised in Chicago.

Of course there are plenty of honest politicians from Chicago, but with the rate of unscrupulous ones coming from there you have to wonder:

Can we really take the chance anymore?

Jordan is a junior in MCB and the baseball team he was referring to was the Cubs. Maybe this is their year.