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posted: 5/24/2013 9:52 AM

Immigration advocates urge GOP to 'remember November'

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  • Darlene Ruscitti

    Darlene Ruscitti

  • Susan Garrett

    Susan Garrett


In delivering hundreds of petition signatures to U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's office this week, immigration reform supporters showed they won't be bashful about using last year's election results to try to lobby Republicans.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights dropped off petitions with about 500 signatures at the Highland Park Republican's Springfield office Thursday (he wasn't there). The group pointed to Republican congressional losses in the suburbs and urged lawmakers to "remember November."

The increasing Latino population in the area is one of a handful of reasons Democrats were able to oust former Republican U.S. Reps. Joe Walsh of McHenry, Judy Biggert of Hinsdale and Robert Dold of Kenilworth last year.

"That's what we're using to motivate our folks," said the group's CEO, Lawrence Benito.

The response

Kirk has long said that any immigration reform proposal "must first restore the American people's confidence in their government's ability to control the border," Kirk's spokesman Lance Trover emails. "Once that confidence is restored, Sen. Kirk believes bipartisan reform can improve our broken immigration system."

Garrett gets board post

Former state Sen. Susan Garrett has joined the board of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, one of the state's foremost good-government groups.

The Lake Forest Democrat is known in Springfield for taking up ethics causes, so the new gig makes sense. Garrett didn't run for re-election in 2012 after 14 years in office.

"Oversight, accountability and transparency should be essential components of Illinois government," Garrett said in a statement. "I will be working with ICPR to ensure that these principles are emphasized and embraced."

And Ruscitti almost has

The Illinois Senate this week started moving to approve the appointment of Darlene Ruscitti, chair of the DuPage County Republican Party, to the Northeastern Illinois University board of trustees.

Ruscitti's name has been in the news a lot the last few years. She's the superintendent of the DuPage Regional Office of Education, and she abandoned a GOP primary race for Congress against former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh in 2011.

A Senate committee set up her appointment confirmation for a full vote.

Changing hands

State Rep. Lou Lang's decision to hand off control of massive slot machine and casino expansion legislation to another lawmaker could just be a procedural step.

Or it could be a sign the massive gambling plan with big implications for the suburbs might stall once again.

Along with state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan, the Skokie Democrat has pushed the proposal for up to 1,200 slot machines at Arlington International Racecourse and new casinos in Lake County and Chicago for years.

It already faced a tough road to becoming law. Lawmakers have a week left in their session, and gambling expansion could get buried under the unusually large number of big issues that have yet to be resolved at the Capitol.

And Gov. Pat Quinn has, time and again, failed to find common ground with lawmakers.

Now, the governor will have to negotiate legislation with a new face: state Rep. Bob Rita, a Democrat from Blue Island in the South suburbs. Rita told The Associated Press talks are "advancing rapidly."

Could a fresh face break things open?

Or should I copy this item down to use again next year?

Time will tell.

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