chicago democrats

Trauma Filled Communities

What should we be doing about the violence in Chicago that we’re not doing? Is there a community-wide discussion about taking care of your household? Are too many felons returning to their communities with no opportunities to be reintegrated into society? Do residents of the south and west sides want help from the National Guard? State Rep. LaShawn Ford from the Austin neighborhood joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

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Lethal Failure By Chicago Political Ruling Class

What “solutions” were offered by Tiny Dancer and Superintendent Johnson to curb the violence on the south and west sides of the city? Will another expanded city bureaucracy do the trick? Where’s Black Lives Matter to discuss how to end the gang violence? When will Chicagoans stop genuflecting to the political class and demand real change? Dan and Amy discuss the failure of Rahm Emanuel and the decades of failure of Chicago politicians to create opportunity in minority communities and protect its residents.

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The Worst Accountability Money Can Buy

Rather than doing the right thing, the politicians in charge want you to believe the situation is complicated. They hope to convince you the solutions are difficult. But whether or not children are safe is a straightforward question. CPS and the politicians in charge have either done the right thing or done the wrong thing. Pat Hughes explains it is that simple in this week's Two Minute Warning.



Why does an active member of the Chicago Democratic Party decide to leave after years of support? Have black communities in Chicago been systematically forced into a belief that the Democratic Party represents them? Lex Anderson, a local Chicagoan joins Dan and Amy to explain why he’s now a libertarian.

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Gary Grasso: GOP Candidate For Attorney General

As an experienced attorney, former Mayor of Burr Ridge, member of the Dupage County Board and Chairman of the Dupage 911 board, Gary Grasso says he has the litigation and public service experience to be the next Attorney General of Illinois. He says he’s not been bought and paid for by Governor Rauner as his opponent is and will fight to end the accepted, corrupt “Chicago Way.” Grasso joins Dan and Amy to discuss his campaign in the tight race for the GOP nomination of Attorney General. 

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Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy, and we spent a lot of time talking about the governor's primary; Ives versus Rauner, but there's other statewide primary elections on the Republican side that we should take note of as well. We've spoken with Erika Harold before on this show, she is a candidate for Attorney General in the Republican primary, where you've got about...I don't know...EIGHT candidates on the Democrat side, including former Governor Pat Quinn... Jacobson: And that's gonna be a tight race... Proft: Yeah, it could be interesting. Especially if Quinn's the nominee. Jacobson: Yeah, do you think Quinn will get it? Proft: You know, residual name ID and good will on the Democrat side...I think Quinn would be the favorite. I could see Raul winning, but I think Quinn is the favorite, in the closing days we'll see. And also, some recent polling has the Republican contest for the Attorney General nomination quite close as well, we're basically a statistical dead heat. Erika Harold is one candidate, the gentleman who joins us now is the other candidate. He's a DuPage County Board member, former mayor of Burridge, and attorney of course...Gary Grasso. Gary, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Grasso: Well, thank you! Good morning, Dan. Good morning, Amy. Appreciate you having me on! Proft: No problem. So, the rationale for your candidacy? Why you would make a better GOP nominee than Miss Harold? Grasso: Well, it's all about qualifications and experience, and Dan, I've been a litigator, which is what the key role of the Attorney General is, a litigator for 40 years, almost. My opponent has very little actual litigation experience. I have tried cases, I've handled hundreds of cases in civil litigation, I've been at major firms downtown, have my own firm now. So that's key to why I'd be the better candidate. Also, I'm a former mayor, as you said, I'm also the Chairman of the 9-1-1 Board in DuPage County. I have extensive public service, and a record of achievement, so I also know how to run an office. Don't forget, the Attorney General is an office where it's probably the biggest, the second-biggest law firm in the state of Illinois, there's over 350 attorneys there, an equal number of staff. So, I have that experience too, my opponent, she hasn't really managed anything, she's...I don't even believe a partner in her own law firm. So, you have to look at my qualifications. And you know, I could have left the state, I could have been one of those outmigrators...I'm going to be here to fight for the people of Illinois. I'm the right guy with the right experience to go after the Cook County Democrat political system, and that's going to be my number one priority, fighting public corruption. Proft: Well, let me just press in the experience thing a bit, because as Oscar Wilde famously observed, "Experience is what we call our failures." You know, we...I think there's too much deference to experience in this state, which is why we keep putting the same people in the same office. "Well, what's their qualification?" "I've been here!" Well, that's not much of a qualification, performance is the qualification. So just speaking to all of those positions you've held, and all of those posts that you've...where you've been in a leadership position, tell us a bit about accomplishments, performance, that would translate to the Attorney General's office. Grasso: Right, so on the litigation side I've been very successful in my practice, Dan, I've been successful in my cases representing various clients. Of course like anybody else, as you say, various part of that is that you don't always win every case, but you know from experience you get judgment, and that's what's really really important here. On the public service side, I've been a successful mayor! I helped with...well I got a lot of help from others...but I was the mayor in Burridge when we built the Village Centre in the worst economic times, at no true expense to the taxpayers. We built a new Police Department, privately financed. We brought in Loyola as what is one of their major out-campus facilities in Burridge. I was also able to get many public services and the bridge branded over I-55 to...for the benefit of our taxpayers in Burridge. Now, on the 9-1-1 Board, I have been the Chairman there, well we've consolidated down, so what have I done there? Well, with the help of a lot of other people also, prior to me and me personally, we have consolidated, I'm a big person about consolidating government, we have WAY too much government in this state, and we brought the 9-1-1 Board down from 22 Call Centers to 3. And in that period, we have saved the taxpayers 7 to 8 million dollars annually in DuPage and what have we done with that money? We have turned it into more technology, and better service. So when you look at my experience, and my accomplishments, that's exactly why I'm the better choice. Jacobson: Well, yeah you do sound like you give a new resume there, an accomplished career...but why do you WANT this job? Grasso: Well, I have...my wife and I will be married 40 years in May, we have six grown children, three grandchildren, I've got a lot at stake in Illinois. And again, I could be...I could take the easy way out. I could be one of the out-migrators. Take..."Well, I don't want to pay these high property taxes anymore!", which are rampant across the entire state of Illinois. The equity in people's homes have been diminished because of the leadership...that would be Dan's point. We put in the same same people...who are those same same people? Mike Madigan, and his cronies. They have to go! Proft: Well, yeah...although you could argue that, and I would argue that, Republicans have done a lot of that same people business too, which is why the Republican Party is in the super-minority position despite the state being DESTROYED by those Chicago Democrats, so as Cook...this is sort of "a conspiracy of fools" of sorts, to borrow a David Foster Wallace... Grasso: *laughs* (Jacobson: Have you had any debates...) I'm not amongst them! Proft: *laughs* Ahh, okay. Yeah, okay, I concede the point, so... Grasso: I'm not amongst those people, Dan, and I'm gonna go after those people! We have accepted...we have accepted this, this, this way of doing business in Chicago, "Oh! It's okay. That's the Chicago way!", that's wrong! It's been wrong for the 30 years, 40 years that Madigan and his people...just look at the whole property tax assessment system. Look at what has been uncovered, as for the cronyism there. That's where they get their MONEY. That's where they get their POWER. We've got to break that! Jacobson: It's so weird, because Mike Madigan sits on a committee that sets tax codes and then he owns a company where he reduces...power for people's property taxes. It's just mind-blowing, and his daughter Lisa has been the Attorney General for 16 years! Grasso: Right! So that's a blatant conflict of interest. Look, lawyers are NOT supposed to put themselves in conflicts of interest, not have semblance of impropriety. We have accepted...we have accepted that the longest-serving speaker of any House in America and now the longest-serving Attorney General in Illinois history have been there, father and daughter, protecting each other. She ran on a platform in '02 on public corruption. She has done nothing! Give you another example. Sexual harassment issues that have just come up. Outrageous! Never, never tolerable anywhere. What does Mike Madigan do? "Oh, I'm gonna...I'm gonna appoint my own committee." What? You're going to appoint your OWN committee to investigate YOURSELF? Susan Mendoza, and other people that HE put in office. Where is Lisa Madigan on this? This is exactly where I will be, where the Attorney General should be. We can't tolerate this anymore! Proft: So, so when, when it's things like the General Assembly failing to appoint a Legislative Inspector General for three years, you're gonna...you're gonna be at the tip of the spear, making sure the legislators, making sure the public officials are abiding their responsibilities under the law and...number one, and number two, if they run afoul of the law, you're not going to wait for 219 South Dearborn, you're going to get involved and prosecute corruption? Grasso: I will, Dan! It's exactly...part of the Attorney General's job...I use the word ALL, A-L-L, it is to A-dvocate, it is to recommend remedial L-egislation...*laughs* which I could get into too...and of course, primarily to L-itigate, which I think I have the great experience. But, that's what you do, you advocate. You use the bully pulpit, you shine the bright light. You say what...Inspector General, do your job! Public Access Officer, do your job! And I will do that as Attorney General. And as a Republican, I can do that. And I'm the independent Republican in this. My opponent is fully on board with the governor. The governor just financed her campaign again! She keeps saying "Oh, oh, I'm not!" He just put a whole bunch of money in her campaign because this race is neck-and-neck. She is bought and owned by the governor. I am independent. I am putting my OWN money into this campaign. I could leave the state, but I want to be the next Attorney General. Proft: For more information on your campaign, people can go where, Gary? Grasso: GaryGrasso.com. Proft: G-R-A-S-S-O, GaryGrasso.com. Gary, a Republican candidate for Attorney General, thank you so much for joining us, good luck, appreciate it. Grasso: Dan, Amy, thank you for having me on the show, appreciate it.

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Tonia Khouri: An Experienced, Principled, Conservative Leader

In a Republican primary one candidate is being supported by Alderman Ed Burke and the Chicago Machine. We can’t afford to elect another Republican who will side with the Democrats and surrender on the reforms our state so desperately needs. In this week's Two Minute Warning, Pat Hughes explains whose behind Nic Zito's campaign, and why you should vote for Tonia Khouri.


Stop Forking Over Your Lunch Money

Thanks to the Chicago Democrats who rule our state legislature, families, on average, will fork over an additional one-thousand dollars of their income to bail out state government next year. In this installment of Dollars and Sense, Pat Hughes outlines what government will cost you.


Change On The Outside. Continuity On The Inside.

The political drama "Boss" was an eerily accurate depiction of real Chicago politics.  Chicago’s political machine: the corruption, the suffocating addiction to power, and the manipulation that made voters believe they had a choice between candidates. Pat Hughes explains how the show's theme: “Change on the outside. Continuity on the inside” is one of the ways the Democrat establishment maintains power over the families of Illinois.


Peddling A Con

Just when we thought that Chicago Democrats couldn't be any more hostile to businesses, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proves us wrong.  Pat Hughes takes on Preckwinkle in this week's Two Minute Warning.


What's At Stake In Democrats' Education Funding Bill

Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he will issue an amendatory veto to the Chicago Public Schools' bailout Democrats are proposing. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to Illinois Policy's Ted Dabrowski about the history of Springfield bailing out Chicago Public Schools, and how the new legislation would hurt school districts across the state. They also talk to a Republican legislative candidate who is stepping up to challenge a Chicago Democrat representative.








This Project Scares The Living Heck Out Of Them

Former ABC-7 political reporter Charles Thomas joined Dan & Amy to discuss his new project, The Chicago Drum, focused on elevating new voices in Chicago's Black community. Does the Chicago Democrat Party serve the interests of the Black community? How will the Chicago Drum help hold black elected leaders accountable? Can we change the narrative by changing the voices that are heard? Why are white liberals so resistant to give the black community a voice?



Fund Rainbow Sidewalks, But Not Pension Benefits

Chicago’s police pension fund will be insolvent by 2021 according to a new analysis by the Chicago City Wire, but the focus is on taxpayer funded permanent rainbow crosswalks. Is there a huge silent majority that supports President Trump in the gay community? An LGBT group wants Christians to pay for their "pride" but not be allowed in the public square. Should opposition to the redefinition of marriage disqualify one from Department of Education discussions? Dan & Amy discussed values, and priorities, and took your calls.


Revolt Or Bolt: Homeowners Expect 10% Tax Hike

The average homeowner in Chicago will see their property taxes increase by another 10%. Do you have to hate your money to buy in Chicago? How will you respond: revolt or bolt?  Dan & Amy discussed what you can do, other than move, with Cook Co. Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak. And Commissioner Patlak explained who we have to thank for this series of property tax hikes.


I Live In Fear

Dan & Amy talked to Bruce from Skokie who detailed the pain Speaker Mike Madigan and the Chicago Democrats are inflicting on families across Illinois. Bruce implored people to wake up and revolt against the high property taxes that are confiscating families' homes to fund the luxury lifestyle of the ruling class.


Revolt Or Bolt? Chicago Home Values And Property Taxes

Dan & Amy discuss the latest exclusive regional report on Illinois property taxes. The region examined this time: Chicago's West Side. Dan & Amy looked at Chicago's South Side last week.

View previous regional reports here:

North Shore

Lake County

DuPage County

South Suburban Cook

McHenry County


Dollars And Sense: Opportunity Tax

What happens when a wanna-be governor proposes a new payroll tax? Pat Hughes explains in this edition of Dollars and Sense.


Mussman's Mission

Democrats run Illinois. If they wanted a property tax freeze or property tax reform, they could have it. So why aren’t our property taxes frozen? Pat Hughes explains in this edition of "Two-Minute Warning."

I’m Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas’ Two-Minute Warning.

Representative Michelle Mussman, Mike Madigan’s baby-faced “Mom on a Mission” marionette, is running comprehensive property tax reform! Well, wait a minute… what about the campaign mailers we all got months ago saying Michelle Mussman and other democrats had voted for a property tax freeze. This is Illinois, isn’t it? Democrats run this place. If they wanted a property tax freeze or property tax reform, they could have it.

So why aren’t our property taxes frozen? For the same reason, Michelle Mussman’s bill won’t reform them. Mussman and Madigan don’t want to reform anything. They benefit from the current system. The higher property taxes go, the more property tax appeals there will be for the law firms– including Speaker Madigan’s – that fund democrat campaigns. Campaigns like Rep. Mussman’s that received over $850,000 from Madigan’s political committees.

The thing is they know they’re going to have to answer for the fact that your property taxes are sky-rocketing. They need to have a vote or two to put on a campaign mailer. So, they bring a bill to the floor with no intention of seeing it passed into law.  

In this case, wide-eyed Michelle Mussman trots out “Comprehensive Property Tax Reform.” It is a cynical game that is being played on your time and with your money.

Families are literally being taxed out of their homes. Do they really think you will be so blinded by glossy campaign mailers that you won’t notice that? Yes, and what’s worse: they count on it.

That’s why the real fight in 2018 must be about more than Republicans vs. Democrats, Rich vs. Poor, Men vs. Women, Gay vs. Straight, White vs. Black vs. Hispanic.

The real battle will be: predatory political insiders vs. people who play by the rules. Decide which side you’re on and get in the fray. Or buckle up as Illinois continues its rocky death spiral.

You’ve been warned.


Political Scientist Dick Simpson On The Past And Present Of Chicago Machine Politics

How did the city of Chicago become known for corruption, and why has it struggled to change its ways? On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to Dick Simpson, University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor and former Chicago alderman, about the past and present of Chicago machine politics, as well as how to change its future.

How does Rahm Emanuel's machine differ from Richard Daley's? How  have Chicago mayors skated past corruption charges while governors, aldermen and state legislators go to jail? And what would an active Republican Party in Chicago providing real competition do for the city's ethics?

Proft and Simpson discuss all this and more, in a detailed discussion on the history of Chicago politics and the reforms the city needs.


Defending Bacon

State Reps, like Michelle Mussman and Barb Wheeler, are voting to defend and recognize bacon as a breakfast meat. Deb Conroy, Scott Drury, Carol Sente and Marty Moylan are resolving hot-button issues like making cycling the official state exercise. And over in the Senate, Julie Morrison and Sam McCann worked to ban elephants from being part of traveling circuses. With all the problems Illinois faces, Pat Hughes dissects their misplaced priorities in this edition of "Two Minute Warning."

I’m Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas ‘Two Minute Warning.’

Talk to anyone about Illinois – anyone. Democrat or Republican. They understand how serious the state’s problems are. So, you would think that most of our legislators have a sense of urgency about solving those problems… but, you would be wrong. There is a reason Illinois is… well, Illinois.

In Springfield, State Reps, like Michelle Mussman and Barb Wheeler, are voting to defend and recognize bacon as a breakfast meat. Deb Conroy, Scott Drury, Carol Sente and Marty Moylan are resolving hot-button issues… like making cycling the official state exercise. And over in the Senate, Julie Morrison and Sam McCann worked to ban elephants from being part of traveling circuses.

Bacon, bikers and Dumbo. Sounds like my seventeen year old daughter’s legislative agenda…when she was nine.

Are these people serious? We haven’t had a balanced budget in two years!

Taken all together, it is tempting to characterize the Illinois General Assembly as a “Do-Nothing” legislature, but that’s not the real story.

In reality, Illinois government is working exactly as intended.  Winning elections isn’t a chance to advance a set of principles. Winning elections is a way to distribute favors to friends and political allies.

Legislators are protecting a political machine that was carefully constructed by politicians and powerful special interests. The machine doesn’t reform itself. The machine grows itself by distracting voters with idiotic bills in public, so it can continue handing out favors in private.  

State legislators don’t care that you are being taxed out of your homes, or are struggling with unemployment. They have spent 2 years ignoring these problems, passing wildly unbalanced budgets,and refusing to address the need for reform. Oh yeah…and defending bacon.

Change is not going to come from Springfield. It has to come from you: the people who play by the rules and are getting screwed. You – collectively – have the numbers, the resources, and the principles to end this nonsense. Whether or not you do will determine the fate of our once great state.

You’ve been warned.


Democrats Serve A Constituency. It’s Just Not You.

Last week, Democrat State Representatives Silvana Tabares and Robert Martwick proposed one point five million dollars in new spending to translate government sites into Spanish.

This is Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas ‘Two Minute Warning.’

Illinoisans need to ask themselves three questions:

Who is upholding the Springfield status quo?

Who is challenging it?

And which side do you want to be on?

Last week, Democrat State Representatives Silvana Tabares and Robert Martwick proposed one point five million dollars in new spending to translate government sites into Spanish. To give this context: the state owes ten billion dollars to its vendors, including social service providers who serve the needy and vulnerable. The state’s unfunded pension liability is uncontrollable at one-hundred and thirty billion dollars. Our property taxes are the highest in the nation. And our credit rating is the lowest in the nation.


In fact, Republican Reps. Keith Wheeler and Mark Batinick pointed out that Google provides the same service at no cost.

But, Illinois Democrats supported the bill anyway. Why? Because Google Translate doesn’t create new government contracts for their politically-connected friends. See, their objective is to hold onto power at any cost… in this case, one point five million dollars. So, when a Democrat comes up with a new way to spend money, no matter how altruistic it seems, it must be viewed with skepticism.

Tabares and Martwick’s bill is only the most recent bad example. Democrats seem impervious to reality because they benefit from these outmoded, failed ideas. Reform is not in their interests. Democrats serve a constituency. It’s just not you. They serve the entrenched interests who fund their campaigns.

It’s time to support people who are interested in you. Do your legislators uphold the status quo or do they challenge it? It is critical that you ask these questions and are very honest in answering them. Thanks to decades of failed leadership, the next election will be “do or die.”  

You’ve been warned.