WBEZ | politicians http://www.wbez.org/tags/politicians Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Where was Senator Dick Durbin at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-senator-dick-durbin-25-107104 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/durbin mid 30s (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>At 68 years old, Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin is one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill. First elected to the Senate in 1996, Durbin now serves as the Assistant Majority Leader, the second highest ranking position in the Senate.</p><p>His memories of being 25, however, might be classified as his more humble beginnings.</p><p>Durbin was a young father and husband&mdash;he had one young daughter, with another baby on the way. He was graduating from Georgetown Law School and had just accepted a job offer in then Lt. Governor Paul Simon&rsquo;s office in Springfield.</p><p>And, as he&rsquo;ll tell you himself, he had hardly any money to his name.</p><p>&ldquo;I skipped my graduation ceremony,&rdquo; Durbin recalls. &ldquo;I needed to get on to payroll and get a paycheck so fast that I just skipped it and said send me the diploma in the mail.&rdquo;</p><p>So, he packed up a U-Haul truck with his few belongings and his Newfoundland dog (the dog&#39;s full name, for the record, was Johann Sebastian Black. Durbin says they called him Bassy, for short. He didn&rsquo;t explain further.) and headed across the country to Springfield. His brother followed the U-Haul in Durbin&rsquo;s old Volkswagon.</p><p>Durbin says he spent his last dime putting his wife and baby on a plane, so he spent the nights of this road trip in the back of the U-Haul with his brother and Bassy.</p><p>He thinks even the people who know him well now would be pretty surprised to hear how poor he was when he was 25.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ&rsquo;s morning producer and reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 14:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-senator-dick-durbin-25-107104 Where was Congressman Gutierrez at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-congressman-gutierrez-25-107062 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/luis25.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://gutierrez.house.gov/about-me/full-biography">Illinois U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez</a> has made a name for himself across the nation as one of the most vocal &nbsp;proponents of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/gutierrez-ryan-push-immigration-overhaul-chicago-106786">immigration reform</a>.</p><p>Gutierrez is a longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives &ndash; he&#39;s been serving since 1992. And years before that, he served as alderman of the 26th Ward in Chicago.</p><p>So, you&rsquo;d think, this guy must have been working toward a spot on Capitol Hill all his life.</p><p>Wrong.</p><p>25-year-old Luis Gutierrez was a 1st, 2nd and 3rd teacher in Puerto Rico. He had followed his then-girlfriend, Soraida, there and eventually married her.</p><p>The two were making a life for themselves - Soraida was going to school, and Luis was the lone male teacher in a little school out in the mountains. He was paid minimum wage - about $3.25 per hour, he says &ndash; which was hardly enough to feed the two of them and get Soraida to school. So, as Gutierrez recalls, he gave what little money he had to Soraida for school and then got creative.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember - it&rsquo;s probably a violation of the law today, I hope it wasn&rsquo;t one then, although I&rsquo;m sure the statute of limitations have run out,&rdquo; Gutierrez said. &ldquo;I used to eat with all the children in the school lunch program.&rdquo;</p><p>Gutierrez says he soon realized Puerto Rico wasn&rsquo;t the best option for him and his wife, so they moved back to Chicago, where he was from originally. After a month or so of fruitless attempts to find a job, Gutierrez decided to get his his chauffeur&#39;s license and drive a cab.</p><p>Yes, you read that right. Illinois U.S. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZbMdFUFAro">Congressman Luis Gutierrez</a>, drove a cab when he was 25 years old.</p><p>&ldquo;So, for all of those that see the cab driver, remember, it could be a transitional moment in their life, and one day they could be actually adopting and proposing the laws of the nation, that guy in the front seat,&rdquo; Gutierrez said.</p><p>In this interview with WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian, Gutierrez tells the stories of his 25th year, and explains how that person had not a clue in the world that he&rsquo;d wind up in elected politics. He also discusses how his personality has changed over the years, and what parts of his 25-year-old self had to change in order to be the lawmaker he is today.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is the WBEZ Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Tue, 07 May 2013 15:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-congressman-gutierrez-25-107062 Fact-checking politics: 'There cannot be a thing that's a wrong fact' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-09/fact-checking-politics-there-cannot-be-thing-thats-wrong-fact-102229 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/herman%20cain%20DS.jpg" style="float: right; height: 213px; width: 300px; " title="Herman Cain on 'The Daily Show'" />&quot;There cannot be a thing that&#39;s a wrong fact,&quot; said writer Benno Nelson at <em>The Paper Machete</em>. But he points out that, despite this, politicians these days seem to be arguing quite the opposite.</p><p>Like&nbsp;Herman Cain, for example, who, when making an appearance<a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-august-29-2012-herman-cain"> on <em>The Daily Show</em></a> last week said to John Stewart, &quot;Here&#39;s where we differ on the facts. And I would challenge you on the facts. Your facts are wrong. This happens all the time when people have the wrong facts.&quot;</p><p>Read an excerpt of Nelson&#39;s thoughts below or listen above:</p><p><em>For me, listening to politicians talk is like listening to an audio recording of a live performance. I know there are things going on that I don&#39;t have access to. I know the medium is controlling my impression of the truth but its difficult to diagnose the scope of that control without more information. In the case of a recorded performance you&#39;re just out of luck; you may or may not be missing something and there&#39;s no way for you to know how good or bad that thing you might be missing might be. </em></p><p><em>But in politics, the control for this, the anchor, should be facts. Like 100 percent of America, I haven&#39;t read the Affordable Care Act, haven&#39;t read the Ryan budget, haven&#39;t read Bowles-Simpson. And so we enter a contract where we pick people who we trust to tell us the facts. But we know they&#39;ll also tell us their opinion, they&#39;ll also try to sell us something or get us to vote for them. But the facts will anchor us.</em></p><p><em>Following the Republican National Convention, there&#39;s been a lot of attention paid to the extent to which politicians are failing at this; saying things sort of specifically provably wrong.&nbsp;</em></p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a><em>&nbsp;is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It&#39;s always at 3 pm., it&#39;s always on Saturday, and it&#39;s always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine<em>&nbsp;needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/paper-machete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 08 Sep 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-09/fact-checking-politics-there-cannot-be-thing-thats-wrong-fact-102229 Politicians not allowed to speak at this year's 9/11 anniversary http://www.wbez.org/news/no-politicians-allowed-911-anniversary-100804 <p><p>This year&#39;s Sept. 11 anniversary in New York will be the first in which politicians are excluded from speaking at the commemoration ceremony at ground zero.</p><div><p>The 9/11 memorial foundation sent a letter to victims&#39; families Wednesday and released a copy to The Associated Press.</p><p>Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the foundation&#39;s chair, had said he wasn&#39;t sure if the victims&#39; names should each be read this year, now that the memorial listing each name has opened.</p><p>But the foundation&#39;s letter says victims&#39; family members will read the names.</p><p>Concerns have arisen that political disputes are overtaking the site. Construction for the memorial museum slowed as a result of political and financial disagreements. The foundation says that this year for the first time politicians will not speak at the ceremony.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 11 Jul 2012 12:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-politicians-allowed-911-anniversary-100804 The personalities behind the pols http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-06/personalities-behind-pols-84815 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20100908_tarnold_79560_Judg_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Certain personality traits will win you friends and influence. But character flaws can topple even the most charismatic of politicians. Failed marriages, sexuality and suspect finances have killed a number of careers. And certain candidates – for say, President – can expect to have their personal history dissected at the cellular level. But how deep do we dig for gossip when it comes to state and local representatives? To find out, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> was joined by a woman who’s made a career of profiling politicians. Author Carol Felsenthal writes <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Felsenthal-Files/" target="_blank">The Felsenthal Files </a>blog for <em>Chicago</em> magazine.</p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 13:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-06/personalities-behind-pols-84815