By Jim Bowman
At the July 30 town hall forum in Franklin Park,five legislators faced an audience of 80 or so in park district headquarters, a very nice building next to Metra tracks.
* Two senators: Oak Park's Don Harmon (D_39th) and
John Mulroe (D_10th), officed at 6107 B Northwest Highway. He has four kids, three in college. Ran, "new to politics," in 2010, because the state was (is) "on the brink of disaster," he said, using language Harmon used in none of four forums this summer, and as one of the first things he said, for that matter.
* Three representatives:
Kathleen Willis (D_77th), in her first term, a onetime Elmhurst College librarian officed in Northlake; Oak Park's Camille Lilly (D_78th), officed in the city at 5755 W. Division; and Mike McAuliffe (R_20th), in office since July, 1996, officed also in the city at 5515 N. East River Road.
McAuliffe, the sole Republican present, made the point early on that he works with the others, had little to contribute in the ensuing conversation.
Same for Lilly, who managed several times to get in reference to her experience as a sophomore legislator -- appointed in 2010, elected without opposition in 2012. Indeed, the evening's weightiest considerations came around to what she has experienced since her appointment, her voyage of discovery, even as she offered observations that she alone among the legislators considered germane.
During a discussion of the state's economic situation, for instance, she noted that Illinois' population is growing. Apparently she had in mind the state's 3% uptick, 4/1/2010 to 7/1/2012, compared to the countrys 1.7%, as the Census Bureau has it.
In a discussion of the state's being business-friendly, she said, "We signed legislation today" to encourage "small business loans." We? That day? Nothing in the news about this, nothing on state government web sites. I emailed her for clarification on Aug. 1 and again on Aug. 16, each time copying Harmon, got no response.
She said she was "proud" of her vote in favor of stopping double-pension-dipping, said (twice) there's constant "monitoring" of that. "It's important," she said. "To me." Squelching the rumor that when she says something is important, she means to others, not herself.
All in all, Lilly remained true to form as modestly talented, randomly informed, and good at picking up odd facts for mentioning in the public forum. She's Oak Park's finest in the Illinois House.