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updated: 12/10/2010 5:16 PM

Was Noland's suggestion for party dress out of line?

Noland says no one complained, but experts suggest it wasn't wise

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  • Sen. Michael Noland, an Elgin Democrat

      Sen. Michael Noland, an Elgin Democrat

By Kerry Lester

Newly elected state Sen. Michael Noland's suggestion that women who attend his victory party wear "jeans and a cute top" is just an attempt to make everyone feel comfortable at the event.

And, Noland says, he hasn't heard a thing about the suggestion -- from females or males invited.

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Still, political experts say it might not have been the wisest move, especially for a lawmaker who just won an expensive, often bitterly negative race by a mere 555 votes.

"What's the pro of doing it? I really don't know. I don't see what it adds to the victory party. The only thing you might do is offend some people," Northern Illinois University Political Science Professor Matt Streb said.

Noland's suggestion came in a recent e-mail blast to supporters, one of his first actions since officially declaring victory over Republican Steve Rauschenberger Nov. 10.

"Now that we've finally won this long, hard-fought race, I would like to invite you to join me for a victory celebration at our annual Holiday Hoot-n-Anny. Ladies jeans and a cute top, gentlemen overalls. Hey, it's a Hoot-n-Anny!"

Noland, an Elgin Democrat, doesn't see his actions as offensive.

It's all in the name of fun, he says.

"The idea is to wear something that you might find at a farm dance," Noland, who grew up downstate, said. "I thought I'd make people feel comfortable."

This isn't the first time in recent memory Noland has taken heat. Just last week, he admitted using chunks of John F. Kennedy's civil rights speech in his own speech on civil unions on the Senate floor. He later apologized for not crediting JFK.

"That could make this a bigger issue," Streb said. "Little things can add up into one big mistake. This is not someone who won by a comfortable margin."

Noland noted that his party, set for 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Milk Pail in West Dundee, is open to the public.

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