Welch is your state rep now, River Forest

Opinion: Columns

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Jack Crowe

I usually spend my column making fun of the inane things that happen in Oak Park. Only rarely do I get a chance to tweak our neighbors in River Forest. This is one of them.

In a close election for the 7th District state representative, Emanuel "Chris" Welch is up by approximately thirty votes over his opponent Rory Hoskins. River Forest delivered the margin of victory, 260 votes, for Welch.

To those 260 River Forest voters I ask the following question:

Are you out of your minds?

Imagine you heard the following about Village President John Rigas: Imagine that he had hired at least 13 of his close friends and six of his relatives to work for the village, including his brother as a janitor and his best friend as a $92,000 a year "night foreman." Imagine that he had been romantically involved with two village employees and after they broke up, both were fired. Imagine he, wanting to give a friend a job, had ordered the village administrator to "make it happen," saying, "I need her to be hired."

Rigas didn't do any of this. He wouldn't have. He is an upstanding citizen (and a well-deserved River Forest Villager of the Year for 2012). If he had done such things, he would have been hounded from office by outraged River Forest voters.

But according to a recent investigation by the Sun-Times, Chris Welch, the president of the Proviso High School District 209 school board and the soon-to-be state representative for River Forest, did all the things listed above and more.

In fact, according to a Tribune report, Proviso District 209 has paid about $940,000 over nine years to four of Welch's relatives, including an aunt and two cousins. And the brother has a criminal record.

When he gets to Springfield, Welch will fit right in. He will fit in with Chicago state Rep. Derrick Smith, who is facing federal criminal charges for allegedly accepting $7,000 in bribes in exchange for supporting a state grant to a not-for-profit. He will fit in with our Darth Vader, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

See, Welch's election is why we keep paying the "corruption tax" in Illinois. For every phony position filled by a lazy in-law with the expectation that she or he will kick back some of the salary come election time, we lose.

And what will be Welch's position on curing the $80 billion in unfunded teacher pensions and the billions in overdue payments owed to state contractors? It's easy. He said, "One thing we need to do is increase our revenue. ... It's not rocket science." No sir, it isn't, for an Illinois legislator such as yourself.

And we should not be surprised if the feds come knocking at Proviso Township High School District (if they aren't already). And we should not be surprised if yet another Illinois legislator makes decisions based not on what is best for his constituents but in furtherance of that timeless Chicago mantra "where's mine?"

We may be goofy in Oak Park, but this joke is on you, River Forest.

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Reader Comments

17 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Comment Policy

Keith from River Forest  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 5:34 AM

Why is ok to the FPR & WJ that US Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr easily won re-election even though he was under investigation from the Federal Government for misuse of funds, or State Senator Jesse Trotter for attempting to bring a loaded gun on and aircraft or State Rep LaShawn Ford who is under indictment on 17 counts of bank fraud case or State Rep Derrick Smith who too is under indictment for an allegedly taking a $7,000 bribe and was removed once from his house seat. cont:

Keith from River Forest  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 5:32 AM

part 2: They all are in positions to actually vote on laws and programs that effect and govern the state and country. Not to mention a direct effect on the allocation of money while be paid by the state and government. Yet the FPR chose to pick on a low level part-time employee who has been given a second chance just to continue to take shots at Welch. Where are your priorities?

Mark Christian from Maywood  

Posted: April 16th, 2012 3:15 PM

Gary, no one has accused you of taking anything. But according to Maywood residents Edwenna Perkins, Cheryl Ealey and Joe Ratley, they had to take you and the Village to court for refusing to answer FOIA requests. That was wrong of you and the Village. Also Gary, if you and the Mayor still had influence in your village, Hoskins would be the rep now. Welch won Maywood. Hoskins lost. How do you explain that when he didn't have Yarbrough or Moore's help? He even did well in North Maywood.

Gary Woll from Maywood  

Posted: April 13th, 2012 12:20 AM

All right, lets go into things that almost no one is concerned about except partisans on one side or the other. For the record I have NEVER nor would I ever, not respond to any FOIA request. The main issue is Chris Welch and SOME of his supporters whose view of government is "whats in it for me" philosophy. In my 33 years of elective service name me just one person who has got a job or a contract because of MY political considerations. That's because there is none to find.

Mark Christian from Maywood  

Posted: April 12th, 2012 2:00 PM

I think Miaundra is right. Maywood's officials to lack credibility. Mayor Yarbrough, his wife Karen Yarbrough and Gary Woll have been investigated by the BGA more than Welch. Woll was sued after refusing to answer FOIA requests which he is legally obligated to do as Clerk but refused to do. Now, the Village is being investigated for spending $150,000 on a Village credit card. And these are Hoskins' supporters. What a joke.

Miaundra from Maywood  

Posted: April 12th, 2012 1:56 PM

I think Gary Woll and all Maywood elected officials lack credibility. Rory Hoskins was supported by Mayor Yarbrough, Clerk Woll and most of the Board of Trustees. Yet, a review of the election results show Welch won Maywood big. I take that to mean the people of Maywood are fed up with Yarbrough, Woll and the whole gang over there that pretend to be reformers. I think Dr. McKinnor has it right. Election is over.

Gary Woll from Maywood  

Posted: April 9th, 2012 10:46 PM

Mr. McKinnor comments should be taken into context as one of a tiny number of Maywoodians who worked for Chris Welch and has long been associated, my opinion, the most regressive politics in Maywood. Check out his abysmal record in running the Maywood Park District with almost no programs. It is sad that he defends the horrible record of Chris Welch. Al, we have known each other for years. Do you just accept that all the information regarding Mr. Welch's record is just the way we do business?

Dr. Al McKinnor from Maywood  

Posted: April 9th, 2012 1:27 PM

To all concern the election is over and altho your candidate may not have won the negativity needs to stop your job now is to judge the new State Rep. on what he can/will do for our communities not on his pass record at another agency. If we judge all elected officials on who they employ they all need to quit.260 voters voted their choice at least they voted what happen to the other 75% of the voters that decided for what ever reason not to vote. Forget about who won and work to make it better.

elsa from Forest Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2012 12:10 PM

Tommy, What exactly did you "find out" about Hoskins? Did you really believe that smear tactic that was paid for by Welch?

Luke ScottWalker from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2012 5:36 PM

Tommy...of course Welch is a good communicator. How else would he romance two staffers? No, this is the high water mark for the Illinois Democrat party; these are the best they have to offer. By the way, Blago was also a good communicator. How's that workin' out for you?

Ned Ryerson from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: April 5th, 2012 4:42 PM

Jerry G, the point is that democrats have given us a terrible option here; and because we live in a one party state, no alternative exists. However, it seems like you don't understand sarcasm very well, so, I'd suggest you revert to age appropriate material. I hear Dr. Suess is popular now, so give it a try.

Jerry G  

Posted: April 5th, 2012 5:29 AM

Interesting. One day, someone will have to explain how deliberately making yourself sound like you don't know what you're saying is somehow an insult to someone else. It should be a fascinating explanation.

Tommy from River Forest  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 9:25 PM

I went to a meet and greet for Chris Welch and while I was not sold on him I did find him to be a good communicator. What troubled me the most was what I found out about Rory Hoskins. Folks Mr. Hoskins is worse than Welch. This was a case of two terrible candidates and a slap to the democratic party. They should find better people.

Ned Ryerson from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 4:30 PM

Apologies. Jerry, not Jane.

Ned Ryerson from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 4:29 PM

Jane, I meant it. It was meant to be an insult to all the democrats who voted for this knucklehead.

Jerry G  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 2:09 PM

Obviously, Ned meant to say 'Democratic Party.' Because the last time I checked, there was no such thing as a 'democrat party,' and referring to one only makes a person sound foolish and uninformed.

Ned Ryerson from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: April 4th, 2012 12:34 PM

This is a shame. I had hoped the local progressive wing of the democrat party in Oak Park would have written a letter to River Foresters (as they did to influence the village election a few years ago) to comment on Hoskins and warn us of Welch, but alas, only radio silence from our friends to the east. Now, we get a state senator and a rep who are both worthless. Looks like we are on our own.

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