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Palos Hills mayor: Local government works

  • Written by Joe Boyle

Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett served up some food for thought at the “Breakfast With Your Legislators” Saturday morning by referring to a recent poll that had some failing grades for state and national leaders.

“Forty-six percent of those polled said the country is going in the wrong direction, and only 22 percent polled in the state believes we are going in the right direction,” said Bennett during the breakfast session sponsored by the Southwest Conference of Mayors that was held at the Belvedere Chateau in Palos Hills.

The Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll stated that Illinois voters disapprove of the job performances of President Donald Trump, Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-22nd). The three rated poorly, according to the poll. Trump, Rauner and Madigan each received more negative than positive evaluations.

“The only government that works is local governments,” said Bennett, who serves as the president of the Southwest Conference of Mayors. “We do it at the local level all the time. We continue to do this through our local organizations. We learn to balance budgets and work with what we have. Sometimes they don’t understand this in Springfield.”

Bennett went on to compliment the guests at the breakfast, the majority of whom were southwest suburban mayors. Local officials have the ability to work together for the common good, Bennett said.

The breakfast meeting also included guest speaker Dr. Paul Lisnek, a political analyst for WGN-TV and CLTV. A business expo was also held offering a variety of items for local institutions in the southwest suburbs.

Lisnek, a multiple-Emmy award winner who has been the political analyst for WGN-TV since 2008, told the audience that he gets hate mail from either side of the political spectrum. which he views as a badge of honor. He commented on a variety of topics including free speech and the upcoming primary. He touched on several races, including the showdown between incumbent Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) and Marie Newman.

“Lipinski, he’s in trouble,” believes Lisnek. “Marie Newman is giving him the greatest challenge he has had in years. Cong. Jan Schakowsky and Cong. Luis Gutierrez have come out for Newman. Has the 3rd District changed? It certainly has. It just depends on how many young people come out to vote. He (Lipinski) is in the race of his life.”

Lisnek also commented on some of the state races, including Gov. Rauner facing state Rep. Jeanne Ives in the primary race.

“I find it amazing Rauner’s attack on Jeanne Ives,” Lisnek said. “Saying that Jeanne Ives and Mike Madigan are somehow working together, I mean who really believes that. Do I think he is in trouble? No. But she has brought up some social issues.”

He also mentioned that JB Pritzker will probably win the crowded Democratic primary for governor.

“But his approval rating is only in the 30s. With all the money he has spent and the advertising he should be much better than that. But most polls have (Chris) Kennedy trailing by four points. Daniel Biss has slipped a bit.”

In the Cook County State’s Attorney’s race among the Democrats in another crowded field, Lisnek believes Pat Quinn could win, but added that state Sen Kwame Raoul has tightened it up. Lisnek said he would not be surprised if Fritz Kaegi defeats incumbent Joe Berrios in the Cook County Assessor’s race.

And despite Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle taking a pounding over the soda tax, Lisnek believes that she will still defeat former Chicago Ald. Bob Fioretti.