WBEZ | Rickey Hendon http://www.wbez.org/tags/rickey-hendon Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Veteran Illinois lawmakers try to hang on against ambitious primary challengers http://www.wbez.org/story/veteran-illinois-lawmakers-try-hang-against-ambitious-primary-challengers-97226 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-12/IMG_1293.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Just over a week to go before Illinois' primary election day. Candidates for all sorts of offices are knuckling down and knocking on doors.</p><p>That includes the multitudes running for the 177 seats that're up in the Illinois House and Senate. We looked at a pair of those elections, which couldn't be more different.</p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><strong>DISCUSSION: </strong>More on Monday's <em>Afternoon Shift with Steve Edwards</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332752351-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-march/2012-03-12/leg-races.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>Last year when Democratic leaders drew new boundaries for state legislative districts, they manufactured some match-ups that otherwise would not have been. Take the 24th state Senate District in the Western suburbs: held by Republican Kirk Dillard, a senator since 1993.</p><p>"You know, essentially I went Northward, very much like a glacier would move," said Dillard on Sunday in his campaign office, looking at a map of his new district. "You know I think [Democratic leaders] did it because they needed to take care of some senators on the south suburban area."</p><p>Dillard could be governor right now if he'd managed to swing a couple hundred votes in 2010. In the GOP primary, he fell just short of beating fellow state Senator Bill Brady, who later fell just short of beating Democratic Governor Pat Quinn.</p><p><strong>Dillard v. Nybo</strong></p><p>But instead of ruling the state, Dillard is going door to door to fend off a Senate challenge. His campaign is buying no TV ads, no radio. Just mail - and lots of it.</p><p>"It is amazing how fast when you really focus on it, you can get mail out the door. But literally in the last weeks, you could be talking upwards to 800,000 to a million pieces of mail," Dillard said.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-12/IMG_1299.JPG" style="width: 350px; height: 263px;" title="State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale"></p><p>And that's to a district with about 217,000 residents, by the last Census count.</p><p>Most of Dillard's mailings are positive, he says, but one this week will knock his opponent, state Rep. Chris Nybo.</p><p>"You know, if you put a sign up, you just mark it down 'Yes,' you know, 'YS" for yard sign, and the notation that you placed it. But it should be a good day out there. I mean the weather's nice so people should be in a good mood," Nybo said in a pep talk Sunday to about a dozen volunteers wearing his green campaign T-shirts.</p><p>He's a state representative with little more than a year of House experience. But he's running for Senate against Dillard in part because Democrats drew him into a district with another Republican House member. Nybo chose instead to go for the promotion, against Dillard.</p><p>"You know, I mean, Kirk is a nice guy, but he's been down there a long time," Nybo said. "And I think we need some new energy down there. I don't think anybody should be making careers of this stuff."</p><p>And with all those votes in Dillard's career, Nybo's found quite a few to criticize. Dillard's campaign, meanwhile, put up an attack website featuring "The Chris Nybo Report Card."</p><p>Oddly enough, both these Republicans have ties to the Democratic president. Dillard appeared in a TV commercial for then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama during the Democratic primary for president, praising him for bipartisan work. Nybo volunteered on the congressional campaign of Mr. Obama, who was his law professor at the time.</p><p>As you can imagine, both men are quick to deflect blame for their cracks in party loyalty.</p><p>"I don't think he should say anything about my 15 nice words about President Obama about an ethics bill he sponsored with me when he was walking precincts and a student coordinator at the University of Chicago," Dillard said.</p><p>"Kirk Dillard is criticizing what I did as a 22-year-old college student with what he did as a 50-something-year-old party - acknowledged - party leader," Nybo said.</p><p>This is one of four Illinois Senate primaries statewide that feature two current Republican members of the General Assembly. Not an uncommon occurrence in elections following redistricting.</p><p>Boundaries changed all over the state, though not all that much in one Chicago Senate district that nonetheless is seeing a big Democratic primary fight. The 5th District is entirely within Chicago - a bit of the North Side, but mostly on the West.</p><p><strong>Collins v. Watkins</strong></p><p>"How you doing? God bless you," Patricia Van Pelt Watins greeted potential voters in the entranceway of a charter school in the Lawndale neighborhood.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-12/IMG_1283.JPG" style="width: 350px; height: 263px;" title="Patricia Van Pelt Watkins of Chicago"></p><p>Some parents tell Watkins they voted for her last year when she ran for Chicago mayor. Watkins hears that a lot, but doesn't always believe it.</p><p>"Right. Because there's too many of them," Watkins said. "Wait a minute. I only got [9,704] votes. How in the world did all these people vote for me? I guess they wanted to in their hearts."</p><p>The state Senate, some voters tell Watkins, is where she ought to be.</p><p>"Yeah, because they think this position fits me better," she said.</p><p>The seat used to be held by the outspoken Rickey Hendon, until he resigned - suddenly and without much explanation - early last year. Watkins applied for the vacancy, but Democratic leaders chose Annazette Collins, who'd served a decade in the state House.</p><p>"Well, if I win [a full term], people will have recognized that we've done a good job," Collins said in an interview last week at her office.</p><p>Collins talked of her efforts to overhaul the state's youth prison system. She boasted of bringing lots of state money home to the district, a positive symptom of seniority she said Watkins would be without.</p><p>"If I lose, it means that there are people who want change, and they want something different. And our community is upset. People are mad. They're mad at the president because things aren't changing fast enough. They're mad at everybody, except themselves," Collins said.</p><p>A loss could also mean that voters gave weight to some of the negatives lobbed Collins' way in recent months. Media reports have questioned whether she really lives in the district, as required by law. Last week the<em> Sun-Times</em> reported she gave university scholarships to people who live outside her district.</p><p>"I don't know that [this election is] so much tougher [than in the past], but it's very nasty," Collins said.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-12/IMG_1288.JPG" style="width: 350px; height: 263px;" title="State Sen. Annazette Collins of Chicago"></p><p>Collins had a public showdown recently with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, a Watkins supporter who compared Collins to former Governor Rod Blagojevich.</p><p>But with turnout expected to be brutally low, Collins is counting on a strong get-out-the-vote game. Helping lead those efforts as a paid member of her campaign team: Rickey Hendon, the onetime politician whose abrupt resignation a year ago put this seat in play.</p></p> Mon, 12 Mar 2012 19:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/veteran-illinois-lawmakers-try-hang-against-ambitious-primary-challengers-97226 Annazette Collins tapped by Democratic officials to replace Rickey Hendon in Illinois Senate http://www.wbez.org/story/annazette-collins/annazette-collins-tapped-democratic-officials-replace-rickey-hendon-illinois <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-14/IMG_0005.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois state Rep. Annazette Collins is getting a promotion to the state Senate. Democratic leaders in Chicago appointed Collins to fill out the term of Rickey Hendon, a controversial lawmaker who abruptly resigned last month.</p><p>About a dozen Democratic ward committeemen gathered Monday afternoon at a West Loop restaurant to interview candidates for the Fifth Senate District vacancy. More than 12 hopefuls showed up, including Collins, former candidate for governor Scott Lee Cohen and Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, who recently ran for Chicago mayor.</p><p>Collins won unanimous support from the Democratic leaders during a public vote. But it was a different story earlier, behind closed doors. Sec. of State Jesse White chaired the meeting, and told reporters there was a &quot;heated discussion.&quot;</p><p>&quot;So the fix was not in,&quot; White said in response to a suggestion that the outcome was pre-determined. &quot;Everyone up there had their thoughts about who was best qualified to be the senator of this district. And we just finally - a few moments ago - arrived at who that person should be.&quot;</p><p>As proof of that, White revealed that he was not personally in favor of Collins' candidacy.</p><p>&quot;There were about four people that I liked very well,&quot; said White, who controlled about 17 percent of the weighted vote used to select a new state senator. &quot;But the four I liked [did not include] the one that ended up with the position.&quot;</p><p>An underlying tension affecting Monday's proceedings was the complicated web of West Side political alliances. This includes, most notably, the tough re-election fight for 24th Ward Chicago Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon, who controlled nearly a quarter of the weighted vote. Dixon faces a strong challenge in an April runoff from the man she unseated from the city council four years ago, Michael Chandler.</p><p>Dixon's chosen candidate for the Senate vacancy was Vetress Boyce, a former business executive who actually ran against the alderman in the February election. Boyce finished out of the runoff, in third place behind Dixon and Chandler.&nbsp;</p><p>Boyce finished third again Monday in the closed-door votes cast by Democratic officials, behind Collins and Patricia Van Pelt Watkins.</p><p>Collins credited her victory to her ten years of experience in the General Assembly, and the heft that could provide in the upcoming redistricting fight that could leave the Fifth Senate District looking much different than it does now.</p><p>But Collins acknowledged Monday that politics is not all about resume, when she alluded to another factor in the Democratic negotiations:&nbsp;the rivalry between Sec. White and her chief backer, former Ald. Ed Smith, who controlled close to 14 percent of the weighted vote.</p><p>&quot;In politics, everybody wants control, and they want their own power,&quot; Collins said. &quot;And so they want someone that they can say, 'This person is in my organization.'&quot;</p><p>The bid of another candidate who garnered a lot of media attention quickly fizzled. Scott Lee Cohen failed to garner any nominations from committee members, who questioned his Democratic credentials given his recent bid for governor as an independent. Cohen said he may run for the seat when it is next up for election, in 2012.</p><p>With Collins' move to the state Senate, Democratic officials must now appoint her replacement in the state House.</p><p>&quot;Van Pelt Watkins had a lot of support, and when it comes to this legislative seat that's coming up, we think that she's going to be a viable candidate,&quot; White said after the meeting.</p></p> Tue, 15 Mar 2011 01:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/annazette-collins/annazette-collins-tapped-democratic-officials-replace-rickey-hendon-illinois Democratic officials set to replace Rickey 'Hollywood' Hendon http://www.wbez.org/story/annazatte-collins/democratic-officials-set-replace-rickey-hollywood-hendon <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/RickeyHendon.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Democratic officials from Chicago will meet Monday at a West Side restaurant to try to replace the outspoken, controversial and dramatic ex-Illinois state Sen. Rickey Hendon. A crowded field of candidates includes two now-well-known political novices - one who shook up the races for Illinois governor and lieutenant governor last year, and another who shook up the recent race for Chicago mayor.<br /><br />The decision of who will replace Hendon, who shocked his colleagues by submitting a letter of resignation in late February, will be made by the 13 elected Democratic ward committeemen who represent portions of the Fifth Senate District. The vote is weighted, based on how many votes each ward cast for Hendon in 2008, when the seat was last up for election. Whichever candidate can secure more than 50 percent of the weighted vote gets the seat for the final two years of the term.<br /><br />Former lieutenant governor and governor candidate Scott Lee Cohen claimed that &quot;several&quot; committee members approached him about applying for the Senate seat.<br /><br />&quot;I honestly don't think it's right or fair to reveal their names,&quot; said Cohen, who withdrew as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor last year, following allegations of steroid and domestic abuse. He later launched an independent bid for governor.</p><p>Explaining his interest in the state Senate seat, Cohen said, &quot;Ever since I wanted to be involved in politics my main focus was job creation and protecting the people of the state of Illinois. Of course, being a state senator [would give] me the opportunity - I [would] have a voice, I [would] have a vote, and a tremendous way to protect my constituents.&quot;<br /><br />Cohen said Friday morning that he was still unsure whether he would end up going for the appointment. But later in the day, his spokeswoman, Kathy Posner, said Cohen had decided to submit his resume to the selection committee.<br /><br />Another potential contender is Patricia Van Pelt Watkins - a minister, former non-profit leader and candidate for mayor.<br /><br />&quot;I want to serve. I want to serve. I want to serve. And I believe that I have the right temperament and also the right ideas, to bring the kind of change that Chicago needs,&quot; Watkins said. &quot;And a...state Senate seat here in the 5th District, makes all the sense in the world.&quot;<br /><br />Watkins emerged from political obscurity to influence the race for mayor - less through her vote total (she won less than 2 percent) than through her clashes with the only other woman on the ballot, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun. Braun was forced to apologize to Watkins after accusing her of being &quot;strung out on crack&quot; in recent years. Watkins has acknowledged drug use three decades ago, though she said she never used crack. <br /><br />Watkins said she was approached by two committee members who gauged her interest in the Senate appointment, but on Friday morning said she was not confident she has their votes.<br /><br />&quot;You have to trust the committeemen to navigate through the process themselves, because there's nothing that a potential candidate can do from the outside,&quot; Watkins said. &quot;Once they get in the room and they start talking and sharing ideas and coming up with different scenarios, it can come out any kind of way. We don't know how it's going to come out.&quot;<br /><br />The most weighted votes - about a quarter of them - are controlled by 24th Ward Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon, who is also the ward's committeewoman. Her spokesman, Frank Watkins, said Thursday that Dixon is meeting with candidates and &quot;still considering her options.&quot;<br /><br />Complicating the political calculus of the selection process is Dixon's own political peril. She faces a tough city council re-election fight from Michael Chandler, the ward's former alderman who narrowly lost to Dixon in 2007. <br /><br />In fact, Chandler himself has popped up as a possible contender for the Senate seat. Chandler said the possibility was brought to him by former 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith, who is still the ward committeeman there, and holds close to 14 percent of the weighted vote. Chandler said he told Smith he wasn't interested. There's &quot;no way in hell...I would force-feed Sharon Dixon on my constituents&quot; by giving her a free ride in the runoff, Chandler said.<br /><br />Asked about that conversation, Smith said he was only asking Chandler if he was thinking about the Senate seat, and said Chandler is &quot;a close friend&quot; who once headed his ward organization. Smith, who resigned from the city council last fall, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate, but said Thursday he was not seeking the seat.<br /><br />A member of Smith's political organization is going for it. State Rep. Annazette Collins occupies one of the two House seats that make up the 5th Senate District. (The other is Art Turner, Jr., who was only elected this past fall, and whose father was engaged in a bitter and protracted rivalry with Hendon.) <br /><br />Collins said she heard from Senate Pres. John Cullerton (a Democrat, though one who does not have any official votes in the process) that she is a &quot;frontrunner&quot; to replace Hendon. She said it would be refreshing to move to a new chamber, and &quot;be more of a leader, [have] more of a voice&quot; on issues related to housing and poverty.<br /><br />Others interested in the Senate appointment include Frank Bass, who was one of 17 challengers to Dixon in last month's election, Roxanne Nava, an official with the state Department of Commerce and Economic Development, and Bruce L. Jackson, executive director of Gift House, an organization that offers testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Jackson unsuccessfully ran for the legislature last year, and for 24th Ward Alderman in 2003.<br /><br />On Monday, interested candidates will speak to the selection committee for ten minutes each at Moretti's, a West Loop pizza restaurant. The meeting will be chaired by Sec. of State Jesse White, who - in his position as 27th ward committeeman - controls close to 17 percent of the weighted vote.</p><p>White said Friday he is not leaning toward a particular candidate, though he acknowledged some applicants could put together enough commitments prior to the meeting to win a majority of the weighted vote.<br /> <br /> &quot;I just want to make sure that we select the best person to represent the people of the Fifth District,&quot; White said. &quot;And we want to make sure that person is a perfect fit for Springfield, and can be put in a posture by which they can become re-elected&quot; in 2012.</p><p>That final goal is muddied a bit by legislative redistricting, set to take place in the next few months. With the city losing some 200,000 residents in the latest census, Rickey Hendon's Fifth District could be a lot different than his successor's.</p><p>In addition to White, Smith and Dixon, the other Democratic committeemen with some say in the matter are Ald. Bob Fioretti (about 16 percent of the weighted vote), county commissioner John Fritchey (7 percent), Ald. Danny Solis (6 percent), John Corrigan (5 percent), Ald. Emma Mitts (3 percent), aldermanic candidate Michele Smith (3 percent), Jesse Juarez (3 percent), Ald. Ric Munoz (1 percent), Ald. Roberto Maldonado (1 percent) and county commissioner John Daley (a small fraction of 1 percent).</p><p>White said the applicants' presentations will be open to the public, but the committee's &quot;decision process&quot; will not be. He said he plans to announce the new senator by 5 p.m. on Monday.</p><p><em>Updated on 3/11/11 at 3:31 p.m.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 21:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/annazatte-collins/democratic-officials-set-replace-rickey-hollywood-hendon The Weekly Political Roundup: February 21st – February 25th http://www.wbez.org/blog/best-game-town/2011-02-25/weekly-political-roundup-february-21st-%E2%80%93-february-25th-82996 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Rahm victory.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="334" width="500" alt="" class="'caption'" title="(Getty/John Gress)" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-25/Rahm victory.jpg" /></p><p>This week, it&rsquo;s pretty straightforward, and you probably don&rsquo;t need us to tell you: the big story came early (then, repeated often) with Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s mayoral victory Tuesday. He won with 55% of the vote, avoiding a runoff; the Chicago News Cooperative has <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/emanuel-jumps-out-to-early-lead/ ">a breakdown</a> of how he did ward-by-ward. Despite being the first mayoral race in 22 years without an incumbent running (and <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2011/02/city-election-official-predicts-turnout-just-over-50-percent.html">official predictions</a> that over half the city&rsquo;s eligible voters would come out), <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/TheBlog/archives/2011/02/24/in-rahms-race-voting-stifled-by-lack-of-suspense">turnout</a> was only 42% overall. <br /><br />The next day, Emanuel thanked voters at the 95th Red Line station before holding a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/emanuel-hits-streets-morning-after-election-win">press conference</a> to outline some of his priorities. He says he&rsquo;s not looking for a rubber-stamp City Council. But if he can get a majority of the next council in line with his agenda, <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/is-emanuels-big-victory-a-mandate-for-dramatic-cuts/">big cuts</a> are likely to come. <br /><br />As part of <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/runoffs-for-aldermen-pose-first-test-for-emanuel/ ">the effort</a> to encourage a friendly City Council, Emanuel says he&rsquo;ll use his resources to help out certain candidates in runoff races. There are 14 aldermanic runoffs set for April 5&mdash;and some candidates such as 24th Ward incumbent Sharon Dixon <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/eugene-sawyer/some-aldermanic-candidates-say-theyd-happily-take-emanuels-leftover-cash">have already said</a> they&rsquo;d love the assistance.</p><p>Other wards with runoffs include the 20th, where Che &ldquo;Rhymefest&rdquo; Smith is up against incumbent Willie Cochran, and the 50th, where longtime Ald. Bernie Stone is facing a challenge from Debra Silverstein. <br /><br />Regardless of the outcomes in those races, it&rsquo;s clear that <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/chicago-city-council-election-change-coming-but-how-much/">change is coming</a> to the council. The most notable indication may have been in the 47th ward, where 30-year-old Ameya Pawar pulled off a surprise upset against a hand-picked successor of longtime Ald. Gene Shulter; Pawar will become the city&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/47th-ward/chicago-gets-first-asian-american-alderman">first Asian-American alderman</a>. In another first, Illinois State Rep. Susana Mendoza is the <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Mendoza-First-Female-City-Clerk-116725899.html">first woman elected</a> to the post of City Clerk.<br /><br />In midst of all the post-election analysis, Cook County Board President (and former Alderman) <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-24/toni-preckwinkle-talks-cuts-after-election-82832">Toni Preckwinkle joined</a> <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about the cuts coming to county government. The board is considering her 2011 budget today; this morning <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2011/02/cook-county-board-votes-to-repeal-sales-tax-increase-by-2013.html">they voted</a> to repeal the last half of the county&rsquo;s recent sales tax increase. <br /><br />The big news this week in state matters is Democratic state Sen. Rickey Hendon&rsquo;s announcement that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/bill-brady/rickey-hendon-outspoken-chicago-democrat-resigns-illinois-senate">he&rsquo;s resigning</a>. He refused to answer the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-rickey-hendon-resigns-20110224,0,6222573.story"><em>Chicago Tribune</em>&rsquo;s questions</a> about whether or not his decision to quit had anything to do with a Federal probe of state grants he sponsored.</p><p>And speaking of the Feds, prosecutors this week <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/3972150-417/prosecutors-to-drop-some-charges-against-blagojevich.html ">moved to drop</a> three charges against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in an effort to simplify their case against him. Also this week, current Gov. Pat Quinn <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-quinn-budget-20110224,0,2199510.story">reduced budget cuts</a> to the Department of Human Services from $208 million to $100 million. <br /><br />In a bit of national politics that hit home, Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski and Bobby Rush are <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=greg-hinz&amp;plckController=Blog&amp;plckScript=blogScript&amp;plckElementId=blogDest&amp;plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&amp;plckPostId=Blog%3a1daca073-2eab-468e-9f19-ec177090a35cPost%3ac86b99f2-e392-4122-a390-b08880e7c1d4&amp;sid=sitelife.chicagobusiness.com#axzz1F0Y0wAjp ">railing against </a>(pun intended) Republican efforts to cut funding for the Englewood Flyover project. It&rsquo;s part of an effort to reduce rail congestion in Chicago. <br />&nbsp;</p><p><em>Photo credit: Getty/John Gress</em></p></p> Fri, 25 Feb 2011 22:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/best-game-town/2011-02-25/weekly-political-roundup-february-21st-%E2%80%93-february-25th-82996 Rickey Hendon, outspoken Chicago Democrat, resigns from Illinois Senate http://www.wbez.org/story/bill-brady/rickey-hendon-outspoken-chicago-democrat-resigns-illinois-senate <p><p>An outspoken Illinois lawmaker from Chicago resigned his office Thursday. Democratic state Sen. Rickey Hendon has represented parts of the city's West Side in the legislature since 1993.<br /> <br /> &quot;I have decided to call it a day and retire from this wonderful institution,&quot; Hendon wrote in his letter of resignation. &quot;I appreciate my constituents and supporters and I pray that they will accept my decision and allow me to move on with my life.&quot;</p><p>The senator is known for his spicy sound bites - which at times have gotten him in trouble - and dramatic speeches. In a recent floor debate, he spoke about a bill abolishing the death penalty, which is an issue he has championed for years.<br /> <br /> &quot;Because when you put someone to death, it's too late!&quot; Hendon said.<br /> <br /> He also gave a speech in favor of legislation allowing for civil unions in Illinois.<br /> <br /> &quot;It's not going to destroy America, it's not going to destroy our state,&quot; Hendon said. &quot;It's just fairness, ya'll. That's all.&quot;<br /> <br /> And, in an interview with WBEZ, he spoke about Rahm Emanuel's quest to be mayor.<br /> <br /> &quot;I've heard that Rahm Emanuel curses more than Rod Blagojevich,&quot; Hendon said. &quot;So let him bring his nasty attitude right on into this race.&quot;<br /> <br /> A former alderman, Hendon himself flirted with a run for mayor last fall.</p><p>Other than to confirm his resignation, Hendon did not answer requests for comment on Thursday. But he has recently complained of high blood pressure. Governor Pat Quinn, a fellow Democrat, alluded to that when asked Thursday about the resignation.<br /><br />&quot;I've always liked Rickey Hendon,&quot; Quinn said. &quot;He has a big heart and a lot of energy. I know he's had a few health problems of late, and I know he's a good man.&quot;<br /><br />During Quinn's recent campaign, Hendon called the governor's opponent, Republican state Sen. Bill Brady, &quot;idiotic, racist, sexist [and] homophobic.&quot; Hendon later apologized for those remarks.<br /><br />Hendon was deeply involved in the campaign of city clerk candidate Patricia Horton, who is currently a Water Reclamation District commissioner. Horton lost by a wide margin in Tuesday's election.<br /><br />In a failed bid for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor last year, Hendon bragged of his ability to bring home state money for his district. Some of those grants have reportedly been the subject of federal subpoenas to state agencies.</p></p> Thu, 24 Feb 2011 22:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bill-brady/rickey-hendon-outspoken-chicago-democrat-resigns-illinois-senate Bill abolishing death penalty passes legislature http://www.wbez.org/story/dave-syverson/bill-abolishing-death-penalty-passes-legislature <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP03012105006.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A bill abolishing Illinois' death penalty will soon be sent to Governor Pat Quinn. That's after the repeal passed the state Senate Tuesday afternoon in a 32-to-25 vote.</p><p>Quinn has not said whether he will sign the bill into law. His press secretary, Annie Thompson, said in an email that Quinn &quot;plans to review the bill when it lands on his desk.&quot;<span style="font-size: 11pt; color: rgb(31, 73, 125); font-family: 'Calibri','sans-serif';"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p>During the Senate debate, some lawmakers speaking out against abolishing the death penalty shared stories of vicious murders, many in which a child was killed. They said those situations warrant capital punishment.</p><p>&quot;In these most serious cases, we need this tool on behalf of the citizens and behalf of the people of Illinois,&quot; said state Sen. Dave Syverson, a Republican from Rockford.</p><p>&quot;You can name all of these horrific crimes. It's not about those. What about the ones who didn't do it?&quot; asked state Sen. Rickey Hendon, a Democrat from Chicago who has long supported abolishing the death penalty. &quot;Because when you put someone to death, it's too late.&quot;<br /> <br /> Illinois has had a moratorium on executions for the past eleven years, after more than a dozen death row inmates were exonerated. The measure passed Tuesday would eliminate the state's death penalty altogether.</p><p>Some opponents said the moratorium meant there was no reason to rush. Republican state Sens. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale&nbsp; and Linda Holmes of Aurora called for the issue to be decided directly by voters.</p><p>&quot;I would like to give the people of Illinois the opportunity to make this decision themselves,&quot; Holmes said on the Senate floor. &quot;Let's have them weigh-in on this. This could be put to referendum. Let's find out how they feel on this issue before we go ahead and make this decision for them.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We are a representative democracy. We have a responsibility,&quot; Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago told his colleagues.</p><p>&quot;If you don't want to take responsibility in making these hard decisions, resign,&quot; said Raoul, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate.</p><p>The bill narrowly passed the Illinois House last week.</p></p> Tue, 11 Jan 2011 21:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dave-syverson/bill-abolishing-death-penalty-passes-legislature