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updated: 1/31/2014 5:51 AM

Kirk thinks 'Petey' Roskam could be a fine U.S. House speaker

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  • Peter Roskam

      Peter Roskam

  • Jeanne Ives

      Jeanne Ives

  • Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivered his State of the State Address Wednesday.

      Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivered his State of the State Address Wednesday.
    Associated Press

 
 

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park thinks his fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton, could have a shot at being speaker of the U.S. House one day.

Here's what he told the Washington, D.C., publication Roll Call about Roskam, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House: "I think Petey has a great career ahead of him. I thought when he got elevated to the position, with the normal churning of leadership, that someday Roskam could be speaker."

Petey?

I'm told Kirk is quoted correctly, and he did call Roskam "Petey."

I'm also told that's not exactly a common Roskam nickname.

Maybe it'll take?

Roskam is the House GOP chief deputy whip, a spot that puts him in Speaker John Boehner's leadership team.

Speaking of speakers

Republican former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert will join in an event next week to ask Congress to approve changes to federal immigration laws. It's an issue that local Democrats have been pushing hard for -- with many inviting immigration activists to Tuesday's State of the Union address.

But it's unclear if the divided Congress this year -- an election year -- will agree to do anything.

Calm yourself

State Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, in a video about the five-year anniversary of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment trial, recalled learning of Blagojevich's 2008 arrest: "I was going to the doctor for my annual physical, so needless to say, I had to go back a couple of days later to have my blood pressure taken again."

Work less, make more

Lobbyists who try to sway Cook County officials made more money than any year it's been tracked, County Clerk David Orr reported Thursday.

The 2013 numbers: $2.8 million paid to 190 lobbyists, who contacted officials 961 times.

The 2012 numbers: $2.4 million paid to 199 lobbyists, who contacted officials 1,227 times.

Who's backing whom?

The Schaumburg Township Republican Organization backed Winnetka businessman Bruce Rauner for governor, state Sen. Jim Oberweis for U.S. Senate and veteran Larry Kaifesh of Carpentersville for Congress in the 8th District.

Another retirement option?

As President Barack Obama plugged the confusingly named MYRA retirement program in his big speech Tuesday, a handful of state lawmakers have introduced legislation this week to create a sort of similar new retirement option here.

State Sen. Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat, said the new plan is meant for people who don't have access to a retirement plan via their employers. They could be automatically enrolled in a state-managed retirement fund that saves 3 percent of each paycheck into their accounts.

Workers would be able to opt out of the program or change how much they save. Why make the savings automatic? Biss says it's to get people who naturally procrastinate to save for retirement.

"If you survey them 10 years later, they're grateful it happened," he said.

State-controlled?

Should people be skeptical of putting their money in an account controlled by the state of Illinois, which, of course, has a questionable financial reputation?

Biss says the money would be overseen by a board, and the investments offer a low-fee savings option.

"You've got a number of eyes watching over this," he said.

Lawmakers would have to approve the idea. In the suburbs, Harmon, and Democratic state Sens. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge, Mike Noland of Elgin and Terry Link of Waukegan have signed on as backers.

Know when to hold 'em

State Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican, sent a response to Gov. Pat Quinn's State of the State address that carried the theme of Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler."

"On a cold winter's afternoon, on a train bound to nowhere, poker face intact, Governor Quinn said, 'Illinois is making a comeback,' and 'We're getting the job done ...' the message read.

And it closed with: "Governor Quinn, I call. Lay all your cards on the table, because if you're gonna play the game, boy, you got learn to play it right."

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