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updated: 9/23/2011 7:51 AM

Sounding off on "don't ask, don't tell"

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  • Republican state Sen. Tom Johnson wants lawmakers to stay out of Springfield every other year.

      Republican state Sen. Tom Johnson wants lawmakers to stay out of Springfield every other year.

  • Tammy Duckworth sounded off this week on the repeal of don't ask, don't tell.

       Tammy Duckworth sounded off this week on the repeal of don't ask, don't tell.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Dan Cronin

      Dan Cronin

  • Raja Krishnamoorthi

      Raja Krishnamoorthi


Eighth District Democratic candidate and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, praised the military's official repeal of the don't ask, don't tell policy.

Here's what Duckworth, who lost both her legs co-piloting a Blackhawk helicopter that was shot down in Iraq, said in a statement.

"When my Army buddies were pulling me out of a downed helicopter in Iraq, it didn't matter to me if they were gay or straight.

"Members of my family have served our country during every period of conflict since the Revolution, and so have gay and lesbian Americans. It's taken far too long, but this week America is stronger because now all who can do the job and love their country may serve in our nation's military.

"There's a lesson in the fight to repeal DADT -- when Americans of goodwill come together, we can accomplish anything."

Right to peaceably assemble:

Speaking of the 8th District, Democratic primary bidder Raja Krishnamoorthi, of Hoffman Estates, announced this week that he will be organizing a "Defend Middle Class Jobs" rally at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, outside of the inaugural Midwest Tea Party Convention in Schaumburg. Krishnamoorthi is "outraged" that the Tea Party has chosen to hold TeaCon 2011 "in his own back yard and has called on Democrats to join together and stand up to the Tea Party on behalf of the middle class and President Obama."

Palomo makes a move:

With Congressman Joe Walsh declaring a bid for the 14th District this week, the 8th District lacks a Republican incumbent.

Andrew Palomo, a Barrington Republican, is the first to make a move (state Rep. David Harris is "mulling" a bid). We met Palomo, a financial planner who's making his first run for office, last week at the Cook County GOP party chair election in Chicago's Greektown.

Tired yet?

With all this election news, we wanted to get some perspective from an officeholder who isn't running in 2012. So we called Republican state Sen. Tom Johnson of West Chicago, who said when he was appointed to fill the remainder of U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren's term that he wouldn't run for another one. He hasn't changed his mind.

"I've been through all that before," Johnson said.

So what about all those Republican primary races shaping up in the suburbs?

"You need to have some primary races," Johnson said. "It sharpens people's focus."

Take a year off:

On the government side, Johnson said he might propose an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would have state lawmakers working only every other year.

Now, they have an annual spring session where the budget -- among many, many other things -- is worked out. Then, a fall veto session runs for a couple weeks in October and November.

Some other states have two-year budgets like Johnson is proposing. Johnson said the yearly sessions here give lawmakers too many opportunities to fiddle with Illinois law.

"It's pretty ridiculous we go down there every year and introduce four or five thousand pieces of legislation," he said.

Johnson acknowledges chances of approval right now might be slight, but said he just wants to get people talking about the idea.

"It might be crazy," he said. "It might be good."

It's actually more:

Since the Illinois General Assembly convened in January, 7,215 bills, resolutions and constitutional amendments have been filed by its 177 members.

Divide and conquer:

Palatine Township GOP Committeeman Aaron Del Mar, who last week backed out of the Cook County party chair race, seems to have gotten rewarded for pledging his support to Sig Vaznelis of Lemont. Committeemen voted Vaznelis party chair last week over Arlington Heights resident Ruth O'Connell, the Wheeling Township GOP committeeman. This week, Del Mar said he has been named deputy party chair. By none other than Vaznelis.

New digs:

Our Springfield bureau has moved out of the Illinois Capitol this week, where it was for decades, while the wing is being renovated.

Now, we'll share office space nearby with some other members of the Springfield press corps. But in our particular room, a wall was built between we print folk and the radio reporters who supply stories to WBBM NewsRadio and other stations.

The wall is good news for our productivity.

Even when those guys aren't live on the air, they talk about traffic and weather every 10 minutes.

•Keep up with suburban politics every day on Suburban Political Recount at

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