Lester: Bolingbrook mayor hosted Trump, will go to inauguration
Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar got a lot of blowback from local residents when he announced he'd be hosting Donald Trump in town for a September fundraiser. Now he's making plans to attend the Republican business tycoon's presidential inauguration.
Claar says he jumped on the Trump bandwagon early because he was "tired of Republican leadership in Washington. Democrats weren't getting anything done, either."
While he knew Illinois -- which Tuesday was a blue island among a sea of red states -- would go Democrat Hillary Clinton's way, Claar says money talks, and hosting fundraisers was a way to get some attention.
"He wasn't coming here to build an organization," Claar says of Trump. "There weren't a lot of people who stepped up for Trump in Illinois or in the Illinois Republican Party. I was embarrassed about that."
Claar said in recent months he's had two one-on-one conversations with Trump, including one, in June, where Trump asked for an opinion on who he should select as vice president. "I don't think he picked him because I suggested it, but I said (Indiana governor) Mike Pence would be outstanding."
As far as keeping in contact? "It's kind of a one-way street, and that's his way, not mine," Claar says. "But if he were to come back to Illinois, I'd want to be part of that, sure."
'Make the best of it'
Waukegan resident Ann Buche Conroy got to see a side of the Clintons few others have -- from working at the University of Arkansas Legal Clinic that Hillary Clinton, then Hillary Rodham, founded in 1975.
Conroy -- a mother of five young children at the time she was also a law student -- recalls Hillary Clinton as "the quintessential person in that kind of job. Very kind, very understanding, honest and straightforward and very bright." Former president Bill Clinton, meanwhile, "was always surrounded by a cloud of adoring students."
Today, Conroy -- a retired Lake County assistant state's attorney who volunteers at the Prairie State Legal Services -- says it's important to keep things in perspective.
After coming to the legal clinic Wednesday to find another woman in tears about Clinton's loss to Trump, Conroy said she has reminded herself and others of the quote from the late renowned basketball coach John Wooden: "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."
Under their noses
The fall veto session is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Springfield, and a piece of legislation that has the potential for a lot of controversy is quietly advancing. House Bill 557, which would have the General Assembly draw Chicago School Board districts -- is expected to be taken up in the Senate. The bill passed the House in March nearly unanimously -- with only four of 110 members voting against. Did Republicans, who have pushed separately for the legislative redistricting process to be taken out of the hands of the General Assembly, read the bill? "I honestly don't remember it," state Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein said. "The only thing I can think of is it's an alternative to an elected school board."
Band of brothers
It's the end of an era for former 10th District congressman John Porter's staff, of which Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk was a central figure.
Kirk, who was defeated by Hoffman Estates Democrat Tammy Duckworth in his re-election bid Tuesday, was hired as a legislative assistant in Porter's office after graduating from the London School of Economics in the 1980s. Five years later, he was named chief of staff. When Porter retired, Kirk held the 10th District seat himself for a decade.
Porter's staff also included Chicago attorney Peter Friedman and Bill Cadigan, a Winnetka attorney and member of the state board of elections. They love to reminisce about the long days in Porter's office, which sometimes were followed by long nights in bars, and some memorable congressional staff softball seasons. Kirk's recovery from a 2012 stroke provided an incentive for the former colleagues to resume their get-togethers, and that isn't expected to stop.
Speaking of Springfield
Wishing longtime Daily Herald statehouse bureau chief Mike Riopell, a friend and longtime colleague, well as he begins a new chapter at the Chicago Tribune. We'll miss him tremendously in our newsroom.
Your calendars, this week
Sports columnist Barry Rozner will moderate a GOA Regional Business Association luncheon with Blackhawks President and CEO John McDonough at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Westin Hotel in Itasca. For tickets and more information, see www.thegoa.com.
Meanwhile, I'll be giving a postelection analysis with Northern Illinois University Professor Matt Streb to the Schaumburg Business Association at Chandler's Chophouse and Banquets in Schaumburg at the same time that day. For more information, see www.schaumburgbusiness.com.
And Friday, Grammy nominated vocalist Margaret Carlson is doing a benefit for Friends of Kane County Child Advocacy Center at 7:30 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Geneva. Carlson owns Profusion in Geneva and, to boot, is a national lacrosse referee. Tickets are $25. Call (630) 845-3445.