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Mike Riopell

Political Editor
  • Phone(217) 782-6165
  • Emailmriopell@dailyherald.com
  • BlogPolitical Recount
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Mike Riopell is the Daily Herald's political editor, working out of the Capitol Complex in Springfield. He started there the day after Election Day 2010 after several years reporting on politics and government for several downstate newspapers. Earlier, he worked in the Daily Herald's Lake County bureau.

Riopell tries to cover the machinations of state government and politics from a suburban perspective, focusing on local politicians and policy that has a big impact in the suburbs. This includes the Friday Suburban Political Recount column he co-writes with political writer Kerry Lester and their blog of the same name.

He particularly enjoys stories that take data the state keeps - from gambling revenues to food stamps usage and child support delinquency - to reveal changes to life in the suburbs.

He has a master's degree in public affairs reporting that he earned partly via an internship in the Daily Herald's Statehouse bureau in 2005.

Riopell lives in Springfield with his wife and daughter, and enjoys haphazard attempts at home repair, being outside and cycling, particularly his bicycle commutes to work at the Capitol Complex.

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New laws in 2015: Bears, boats and a new tollway speed limit

Dec 26 2014 | 5:30 am - Higher speed limits on urban tollways, traffic tickets that don't entail getting your driver's license seized, protection for bears and cougars, and new boater safety programs are just some of the new laws effective Jan. 1.

Rauner concert: Toby Keith, Buddy Guy, trio of politicians

Dec 22 2014 | 5:53 pm - An unpredictable political year has done it one last time: A trio of Illinois state lawmakers and their Jimmy Buffett-inspired band will open a concert for country superstar Toby Keith and blues legend Buddy Guy next month. Republican Gov.-elect...

Quinn wants 2016 special election for comptroller

Dec 18 2014 | 5:56 pm - Gov. Pat Quinn wants lawmakers to set up a special election in 2016 to replace former state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. The outgoing Democrat called lawmakers to Springfield for a special session Jan. 8.

George Ryan, who took big trip to Cuba, praises move

Dec 17 2014 | 4:36 pm - Former Gov. George Ryan, who made a famous trip to Cuba in his first year as governor 15 years ago, praised President Barack Obama’s move Wednesday to establish diplomatic ties to the country. Ryan said he wrote more than one letter to Cuban...

Rauner: State agencies say they’ll run out of money

Dec 16 2014 | 4:21 pm - Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner said Tuesday state agencies are asking for about $760 million to prevent running out of money by the summer, but he didn’t outline a plan to address it. The Winnetka businessman said agencies have been...

Madigan: Rauner gets to appoint comptroller for full term

Dec 15 2014 | 4:52 pm - Republican Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner has the authority to appoint a new state comptroller to a full term next month, Attorney General Lisa Madigan says. Gov. Pat Quinn, meanwhile, can appoint a successor for the late Judy Baar Topinka until her term...

Kirk honored at retirement ceremony

Dec 15 2014 | 5:16 pm - U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk was honored at a Penatgon ceremony Monday celebrating his retirement from the Navy, where he spent more than 20 years in the reserves.

Jim Edgar says Topinka’s ’06 loss to Blagojevich ‘the public’s fault’

Dec 12 2014 | 11:10 am - Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's one loss for statewide office - her 2006 run for governor - wasn't her fault, former Gov. Jim Edgar tells Daily Herald Political Editor Mike Riopell. "That was the public's fault," Edgar said. Just days before...

Warren District 121 board member apologizes for saying don’t hire gay leader

Dec 11 2014 | 6:27 pm - Warren Township High School District 121 board member Liz Biondi says she apologizes “to everyone I offended” by stating she doesn’t want to hire someone who is gay to replace retiring Superintendent Mary Perry Bates. She added...

Rauner hires former Biggert aide, Mitch Daniels’ attorney

Dec 11 2014 | 8:28 pm - Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner has named a chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert as his go-to in Washington, D.C. Kathy Lydon was the Hinsdale Republican’s top staff member for 14 years, Rauner’s team says.

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