IVCA-PAC Hosts the 2010 IVCA Legislator Meeting Series

IVCA-PAC Hosts the 2010 IVCA Legislator Meeting Series

September 1, 2010

Since 2004, the IVCA-PAC has hosted lunches and dinners with dozens of elected officials and more recently candidates for elective office. (View the list of meetings here.) These small meetings (typically with one legislator) allow IVCA to share our industry's concerns and interests in an open dialogue while allowing our members to learn about legislators' concerns and/or confidence in the direction of Illinois government. Three lunches have already been held in 2010 and two are scheduled for September.

IVCA members met with Republican Senate Leader Christine Radogno on July 27th.

This was the second time Senator Radogno met with our members for lunch (first lunch was in March 2009). We had a wide ranging discussion on the major issues facing the state today, IVCA legislative agenda and the prospect for significant change in the General Assembly's composition post the November elections.

Senator Radogno was optimistic that the Republicans would pick up seats in both the House and Senate and depending on the number of those pick-ups, we could expect to see a stronger pro-business stance especially in the Senate where she and Senate President Cullerton continue to work on a cooperative approach to business issues. As we all agreed, a new Governor would also make a major difference in how the General Assembly would likely function in 2011. She noted that everyone's focus in Springfield will continue to be resolving the budget crisis but that with increased Republican influence the focus would be on increasing efficiencies, streamlining programs and cutting waste before revenue enhancement could occur. She also said her caucus would continue to support IVCA's legislative agenda recognizing its potential positive impact on job growth in Illinois.

The 2010 Series kicked off on July 26th with Democratic House Candidate Daniel Biss and members of the IVCA-PAC Board and Legislative Committee.

Daniel is the democratic candidate for the open IL-17 House seat (parts of Evanston, Wilmette and Glenview - “ seat was vacated by Republican Beth Coulson). Daniel first ran in the district against Beth in 2008 where he received 48% of vote. Until recently he was an Assistant Professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago and also volunteers as a math teacher at the North Lawndale College Prep High School. Daniel earned his doctorate from MIT and his undergraduate degree from Harvard.

Daniel is a very strong candidate - “ smart, articulate and eager to begin public service in the Illinois House - “ and is expected to win in November. During our lunch, he expressed a strong desire to make a difference in Springfield focusing on ethics, more efficient government and on programs and policies to boost the state's economy and job creation. The group was very impressed with him and also found that he understood our business and would be a strong supporter of it, especially given its positive impact on job creation.

Our next lunch was with Republican House Candidate Chris Nybo on August 19th.

Chris is running to replace retiring Republican Representative Bob Biggens in the 41st District (Lombard). He is expected to win in November and has been conducting an active campaign.

Again our members were most impressed with Chris' understanding of our business and his willingness to learn about our current issues and help us pass our key legislative initiatives. He is anxious to go to Springfield where he hopes to connect with newer and more forward-thinking legislators on both sides of the aisle to start working on legislation that can actually help resolve some of the major issues facing the state.

Chris is an attorney at Vedder Price and has been active in local politics and the community and supports tax relief, transparent financial management and disciplined spending. If elected he wants to focus on reforming state government (e.g., meaningful campaign contribution limits), reforming pensions, supporting PAYGO (pay as you go) for balanced spending and new programs to stimulate job creation. He also wants to focus on developing a stronger pro-business climate in the state, understanding how Illinois' competitiveness has declined relative to our neighboring states. Our lunch group all agreed that Chris would be a welcome addition to the IL House.

Several IVCA members are scheduled to meet with House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-District 84) on September 13th. This is the second IVCA Legislator Meeting with Rep. Cross.

Minority Leader Cross understands our issues and is supportive of trying to resolve them. He is, however, limited in his ability to influence the IL House's actions given his contentious working relationship with Speaker Madigan who can control the House's schedule and agenda.

We expect Rep. Cross to discuss at length what he sees as the prospect of increasing Republican seats in the House and how that might influence the agenda in 2011. He will also discuss the differences between the Democrats and Republicans suggested approaches to resolving the budget deficit.

IVCA members are also scheduled to meet with Ann Williams on September 30th. Ann is the Democratic candidate for the open IL-House 11 seat (north side of Chicago - “ seat was vacated by Democrat John Fritchey). Ann is expected to win in November after having won a three-way primary with a strong fundraising lead and several major endorsements from leading public officials and the Chicago Tribune.

An attorney, Ann is a former assistant attorney general having worked for more than four years with Lisa Madigan and is also a former staff member to House Speaker Michael Madigan. Following her years of public service, Ann continued her advocacy in the private sector, serving as a liaison between state government and business for a pharmaceutical company, working to provide access to affordable prescription medications and consumer healthcare products to the public (appears to be a lobbyist although her bio doesn't use that word). Ann is very interested in meeting with the IVCA and learning about our business and issues. She is also expected to be one of the new, bright and forward-looking legislators hoping to change the culture and - œthe business as usual-  operations of Springfield.

These lunches will continue through December and are open to all Investor Members with priority given to IVCA-PAC contributors. Please contact Kathy Pyne if you are interested in attending a future Legislator Meeting.