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Dave McKinney

Dave McKinney

Reporter, State Politics

Dave McKinney, state politics reporter at WBEZ, spent 19 years as the Chicago Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief with additional stops at Reuters and the Daily Herald. His work also has been published in Crain’s Chicago Business, the New York Times and Chicago Magazine.

McKinney, named by the Washington Post in 2014 as one of the country’s best statehouse reporters, has won the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Best-in-Business award, the Chicago Headline Club’s Lisagor Award for political and government reporting, the Chicago Bar Association’s Herman Kogan Award for Meritorious Achievement and the Chicago Journalists Association’s Sarah Brown Boyden Award. McKinney also was named Journalist of the Year by his alma mater, Eastern Illinois University, inducted into the university’s journalism hall of fame and was recipient of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s Dawn Clark Netsch “Straight Talk Award” in 2015.

In Springfield, McKinney captured Rod Blagojevich’s final words as governor on the day of his 2009 impeachment by asking if he felt obliged to apologize to Illinoisans. “Sorry for what?” Blagojevich answered in a phrase that became the next day’s front-page headline. McKinney also covered corruption under Blagojevich and George Ryan, came face to face with Fidel Castro during Ryan’s 1999 trip to Cuba and live-tweeted an exorcism by Springfield’s Roman Catholic bishop after Illinois legalized gay marriage in 2013.

A lifelong Illinoisan with family roots downstate, McKinney is married, the proud father of two children and owner of a golden retriever and Wheaten terrier.

Recent Stories


Records Show Quincy Home Couldn't Find Woman Who Later Died Of Legionnaires’

Was Dolores French dead for two days before the Rauner administration found her? A coroner says yes, the state says no.


Documents: Rauner’s Own Administration Critical Of Legionnaires’ Notification

Rauner’s Veterans’ Affairs Department says it properly notified staff of a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak. His Labor Department disagrees.


Top Democrat: Full Quincy Legionnaires’ Fix Could Come After Election

Senate Democrat says Rauner could get $16 million to repair a troubled veterans’ home, but the governor’s $245 million plan is in question.


Rauner Urges $245M Fix To Troubled Quincy Vets’ Home

After a WBEZ investigation, Rauner wants lawmakers to replace the home where 13 residents have died of Legionnaires’ since 2015.


Top Rauner Aide Suggested Blaming Duckworth For Legionnaires’ Deaths

The idea was floated in an email from Rauner’s deputy chief of staff. “I’m not going to dignify that email from her,” Duckworth says.


IL Veterans' Affairs Chief To Resign Amid Quincy Legionnaires' Scandal

The head of the agency that oversees a state-run veterans’ home plagued by Legionnaires’ disease is resigning.


Bill Could Award Legionnaires’ Victims’ Families $2M From State

The measure comes after a WBEZ investigation into a troubled downstate veterans’ home that saw 13 people die from the disease since 2015.


Casino Sale Raises Questions About A Windfall - Or A Conflict - For Pritzker

The proposed sale of an Illinois casino may mean more than $3M for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and free him of potential conflicts of interest.


Illinois Report Alludes To More Legionnaires’ Cases At Quincy Home

The report says there is the possibility that spikes in pneumonia in 2006 and 2008 could have been related to Legionnaires’.


The Legionnaires’ Emails Rauner Doesn’t Want Lawmakers To See

See what Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration redacted when Legionnaires’-related emails were released to lawmakers.

WBEZ Updates

Ives Reluctantly Says She'll Vote For Rauner

The Republican who narrowly lost Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary is reluctantly saying she’ll vote for Gov. Bruce Rauner this fall.


Rauner: Replace Downstate VA Home With New ‘Ultra-Modern’ Facility

The governor’s plan come as his administration faces mounting criticism over how it handled a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak at the home.


State Health Chief Calls His Email About Legionnaires’ Death ‘Insensitive’

Illinois’ public health director says his email reaction to the son of a grieving Legionnaires’ victim is “not something I’m proud of.”


State May Demolish Dorms Following Deadly Legionnaires’ Outbreak

The state could replace buildings at the Quincy veterans' home with “state-of-the-art” facilities after 13 Legionnaires’ deaths since 2015.


Read Some Of The Legionnaires’ Emails Rauner Is Fighting To Keep Secret

WBEZ obtained 1,400 emails between state and public health officials. Some discuss how to spin a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak.


4 Things To Listen For In Governor’s Budget Speech

Deja vu all over again? Illinois lawmakers, wary of another budget impasse, look ahead to Wednesday’s annual budget speech.


Illinois Public Health Director Denies ‘Cover-Up’ Of Legionnaires’ Outbreaks

Lawmakers clashed with members of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s cabinet during a hearing about Legionnaires’ outbreaks at a state-run veterans’ home.


Land Of Lincoln Governor Goofs Honest Abe Quote

At the end of this week’s State of the State address, Gov. Bruce Rauner misattributed a quote to Abraham Lincoln, scholars say.


4 Things To Listen For In Governor’s State Of The State Speech

Turnarounds, talking points, education, and money. Listen for what Gov. Bruce Rauner says in Wednesday’s speech — and how he says it.

Illinois Elections 2018

Kennedy’s Debate D’oh And Rauner’s Back Porch

Chris Kennedy wouldn’t compliment J.B. Pritzker on the debate stage — and he regrets it. We analyze that story and the week in politics.

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