Lester: Mayor's epic road trip now in Congressional Record

A suburban mayor's effort to recite Lincoln's Gettysburg address at 50 state capitols in 50 days is now part of the Congressional Record.

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton presented Burr Ridge Mayor Mickey Straub last week with the laminated text of the remarks the congressman made on the House floor about Straub's accomplishment.

Straub drove 15,000 miles to 48 state capitols and flew to those in Hawaii and Alaska between Sept. 4 and Oct. 17, 2012. He began in Pennsylvania, near Gettysburg, and finished at Lincoln's tomb near the Illinois Capitol in Springfield.

Straub, who estimates the trip cost him more than $20,000 and put thousands of miles on his Lincoln Town Car, says the journey deepened his faith and sense of patriotism.

"I launched the trip on behalf of God and country, but it was actually God and country that pulled me through," he said. "It started more about principles and patriotism, but it was the people who kept me going."

Watch Roskam's tribute to the trip at

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  State Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin. Daniel White/

Easier name changes

State Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin is sponsoring a bill that would make it easier - and less costly - for women to return to their maiden names. The legislation, which passed the House unanimously, would allow a woman to resume using a former or maiden name at any time.

Currently, women who want to return to their maiden names have to file a petition in court and pay for a legal notice to be published for two consecutive weeks.

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College of DuPage President Ann Rondeau. Daily Herald file photo

Goodwill efforts at COD

Speaking to members of the College of DuPage Courier student newspaper staff last week, I was interested to hear of recent goodwill efforts new President Ann Rondeau has made with the staff. Rondeau, students told me, made a point to visit the newsroom and sit down for a wide-ranging interview. Former President Robert L. Breuder, who was fired in 2015, was known to tussle with college journalists.

<h3 class="leadin">Dems join social media fray

Calling the suburbs the "central battleground" for state legislative races in 2018, Illinois House Democrats are launching their most expansive social media campaign to date Monday, I'm told.

The caucus is led by House Speaker Michael Madigan, who famously shuns using a cellphone or email. With that, House Democrats have fielded criticism for being technologically behind other camps at the state Capitol.

Senate Democrats have a Twitter account that has 16,000 followers ,and GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner of Winnetka regularly broadcasts on Facebook Live and has nearly 19,000 Twitter followers. Before this new campaign, Illinois House Democrats had a Twitter account with just 528 followers.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says the new campaign, called Lifting Up Illinois, will supplement the social media efforts of House members.

Brown wouldn't discuss the cost but said it'll be paid by the Democratic Majority campaign committee. Brown said the committee spent about $500,000 on social media during the last election. Expect that to spike this term.

Follow the pages at and

<h3 class="leadin">Debate finals

I had the pleasure of judging the finals of the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association's 2017 Speech and Debate Tournament at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, which drew more than 150 home-schooled students from six states. John Klaves and Catherine Alles, who debated the consequences of banning United States citizens from getting organ transplants in China, won the day. Organizers would not release their hometowns, citing privacy. They'll head to regionals in Bloomington-Normal next month.

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