Thursday, February 9, 2012

EXTRA: Ill. Lege cauldron of confusion

There are times when I wonder if the seven years I spent covering the Illinois General Assembly left my mind a little bit warped.
FRITCHEY: Still confused?

Then, in a humorous moment on Thursday before the Cook County Board, I got the impression I’m not the only person who feels that way.

FOR IT WAS during a hearing of the county board’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee that we got to hear an exchange between two former legislators-turned-county officials.

County board member John Fritchey, who represents the Northwest Side of Chicago, said the debate on an immigration-related measure was as confusing and chaotic as his memories of serving in the Illinois House of Representatives.

During his questioning of county Sheriff Tom Dart (who also served in the Illinois House before returning home), Fritchey said, “You and I both served a decade in the Legislature and survived it.”

To which Dart quipped, in response, “I’m still going to counseling.”

WHICH GOT ONE of the day’s few chuckles – considering that some of the people who appeared before the committee were there to make statements about the dangers posed by all those “illegal foreigners” who should not be receiving anything in the way of sympathy from Cook County government.
DART: Still recovering?

And for what it’s worth, five of the current county board members are former state legislators. Earlean Collins, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and John Daley of Chicago, along with Gregg Goslin of suburban Glenview, are the others. Which also means many of the county agency staffers have some Statehouse experience on their resumes.

Which makes me feel a sense of déjà vu at times, since in providing coverage of county government for one of the suburban-based daily newspapers, I’m dealing with too many of the same people I knew a decade ago.

I can’t escape them, anywhere.


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