Lester: PAC leader says gridlock has eroded GOP support of abortion rights
There was a time when Personal PAC, the women's reproductive rights political action committee, included 17 Republicans in the Illinois House and six in the Senate among those supporting access to birth control and abortion.
The late Republican state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan of Des Plaines was one of the committee's biggest advocates and even vacationed in France with Personal PAC President Terry Cosgrove, a Morton Grove native.
Personal PAC still considers itself bipartisan, and moderate Republicans still exist. But Cosgrove says increasing partisanship in state politics and a spike in the amount spent on races mean that, for the first time, the PAC counts no Republicans among those publicly supporting its mission.
Where the money is
Cosgrove's PAC plans to spend more than $1.5 million on 18 legislative races. Eleven are in the suburbs.
Among those Cosgrove says will be getting up to $250,000 in funding: Democratic state senators Melinda Bush of Grayslake, Tom Cullerton of Villa Park and Laura Murphy of Des Plaines, and state representatives Sam Yingling of Round Lake Beach, Deb Conroy of Villa Park and Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg.
Eyeing a turnaround
Another behind-the-scenes player funding suburban candidates in close races is Wheaton native and conservative radio host Dan Proft, whose Liberty Principles PAC funnels millions of dollars to Republican campaigns.
Proft aims to re-establish GOP dominance in the suburbs on Nov. 8. "I think there are real opportunities for substantial pickups throughout Cook and the collar counties," he said.
Home for the holiday
Fox Valley Mall in Aurora has become the first local mall to announce it'll close its doors on Thanksgiving Day, citing an effort to "help renew the tradition of families spending Thanksgiving together" and to "rekindle the magic of Black Friday as the official start of the holiday shopping season." Fox Valley joins the Bloomington, Minnesota-based Mall of America, where a spokesman told The Associated Press earlier this month that the aim in staying closed is to offer workers time with their families.
Remembering, after 30 years
A memorial service will be held at the Itasca Fire Department, 520 W. Irving Park Road, at 10 a.m. on Nov. 10, the 30th anniversary of the death of Illinois State Police Sgt. John Kugelman of McHenry.
Kugelman was struck while manning a roadblock during a vehicle pursuit. The Illinois legislature this spring passed a resolution honoring Kugelman and renaming the I-290/I-355 interchange near Itasca as the Trooper John Kugelman Memorial Interchange.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation included three suburbs in its assessment of 506 cities for protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Aurora received 79 points out of 100 for policies that include transgender-inclusive health benefits, hate crimes reporting and municipal leadership on matters of equality. Joliet scored a 78 and Naperville a 42. Nationwide, the average was 55.
Wonder how the overall money race between Illinois Republicans and Democrats is shaping up? The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform added up the totals for all Senate and House candidate committees and found Democrats have much more cash on hand, but Republicans raised and spent much more in the third quarter.
Remaining funds as of Sept. 30 totaled $15.9 million for Republicans and $36.4 million for Democrats.
Nekritz hosts legislative fellow
State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, who is unchallenged in the Nov. 8 election, is "beyond excited" to welcome legislative fellow Teseen Khalid from Islamabad, Pakistan.
Khalid works as senior research officer in the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services. Khalid will be conducting research for Nekritz in the coming weeks and accompanying her to events in the Northwest suburban 57th District as well as in Springfield.