JIM EDGAR and JOHN SHAW:: Celebrating statesmanship in Illinois – Herald & Review

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The Paul Simon-Jim Edgar Prairie State Statesmanship Award will honor exceptional leadership in Illinois by state and local government officials. It will be presented to leaders — statesmen and stateswomen —who display unusual vision, courage, compassion, civility, effectiveness, and bipartisanship in their work for their communities and Illinois.

When considering a public policy issue, the first question a statesman or stateswoman asks is, “what is in the public interest?” Personal and partisan considerations can follow later — but hopefully much later.

Given our current political climate, it is easy to forget that statesmanship, while unusual, has been a critical feature of Illinois politics and history.

Abraham Lincoln represents the model statesman. Even while dealing with the existential crisis of the Civil War, Lincoln looked to the future and supported initiatives to create land grant universities, complete the transcontinental railroad, and help pioneers settle in the West.

Illinois has been blessed with other statesmen over the decades, including exemplary governors from both parties. Edward Coles prevented Illinois from becoming a slave state in the 1820s. John Altgeld bravely pardoned three men who it seems were wrongly convicted of the 1886 Haymarket bombing. Henry Horner supported tax increases and bond issues to pay for unemployment relief during the Depression. William Stratton helped build the state’s highways and universities in the 1950s and also advocated for civil rights. Richard Ogilvie pushed through Illinois’ first income tax in 1969 and established the state’s Environmental Protection Agency. Statesmanship in Illinois has not occurred only in the governor’s mansion but also in the halls of the Capitol and in city halls up and down the Prairie State.

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via “Illinois Politics” – Google News https://ift.tt/2DKMb2N

November 24, 2020 at 07:30PM

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