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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


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.


Watchdog: State Senator Cleared of Harassment, But Acted Inappropriately

An inspector general found Ira Silverstein’s conduct was “unbecoming of a legislator,” though he didn’t violate harassment laws.

WBEZ Updates

Nearly All Democratic Attorney General Candidates Call For County's Party Head To Resign

Nearly all Democratic candidates running for attorney general are calling for one of Illinois’ most powerful politicians to step down.


‘It’s A Crime’: Illinois Cap On Legionnaires’ Payouts Lowest In U.S.

The $100,000 maximum went into place decades ago. A top state official wants to remove it after an outbreak at a veterans’ home in Quincy.


Risk Of Legionnaires’ ‘Cannot Be Eliminated’ At Quincy Veterans’ Home, CDC Reports

Federal health authorities warned Thursday that the state-run veterans’ home in Illinois where 13 people have died of Legionnaires’ disease may never be clear of the bacteria that causes the sometimes fatal illness, and more cases could be inevitable.

WBEZ Updates

CDC Says There's Still Evidence Of Bacteria In Veterans' Home Water

Federal testing is finding new evidence of the bacteria tied to Legionnaires’ disease at Illinois’ largest veterans’ home.


Email Shows State Waited 6 Days To Publicize Legionnaires’ Outbreak

Emails obtained by WBEZ show officials waited six days to publicize a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak, which an expert calls 'mind-boggling.'


3 Years, 13 Legionnaires’ Deaths At Illinois Veterans’ Home

Since 2015, 13 residents of a veterans’ home have died from Legionnaires’ disease. Eleven families are suing the state.


Chicago Lawmaker In Sexual Harassment Probe Did Legal Work For Accuser’s Family

North Side lawmaker Ira Silverstein’s political career is at risk. His law license could be, too.

WBEZ Updates

Gov. Rauner Signs Law To Allow Watchdog To Probe Springfield Ethics Complaints

A new Illinois law empowers a recently named legislative watchdog to probe a backlog of ethics complaints in Springfield.

WBEZ Updates

State Rep. Jeanne Ives Aligns With Trump In Potential Primary Challenge Against Rauner

Republican state Representative Jeanne Ives is aligning herself with President Trump in her potential primary challenge against Governor Bruce Rauner.

Morning Shift

Suburban State Rep. Blames Chicago Violence On ‘Cultural Problem’

Republican Rep. Jeanne Ives says Chicago’s violence can be blamed on absentee fathers.

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