Politics and Government

Brandon Hepner and Brian Taylor
Ryan Denham

Bloomington-Normal is a large metro area that’s home to several college campuses and plenty of Chicago transplants. So how did Republican Donald Trump still manage to win McLean County?

Staff / WGLT

A Bloomington Alderman believes road resurfacing overshadows the need to maintain and upgrade the City's water infrastructure.

Staff / WGLT

A Bloomington mayoral candidate thinks there's room in the budget to fund priorities such as infrastructure and public safety by cutting amenities.  Ward 1 Alderman and candidate for mayor Kevin Lower also is cool on raising fees or taxes during what he repeatedly called a recession. 

Staff / WGLT

Based on the number of people who didn't vote for President,  three community leaders representing people targeted by President-elect Trump are optimistic about a path toward healing divisions created by the campaign. 

IPR

Illinois lawmakers will attempt to override vetoes from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in the coming weeks during their brief, annual fall session.

One veto lawmakers are expected to try to overturn is legislation to automatically register eligible voters when they visit certain government agencies, like the Department of Human Services and the Secretary of State. The idea passed with overwhelming bipartisan support but Rauner vetoed it in August citing concerns about fraud.

Matt Turner / Flickr

For the first time since summer, Governor Bruce Rauner and the legislature's four top leaders got together Tuesday morning.  They're set to do it again Wednesday.

Tuesday's gathering didn't last long--roughly a half an hour.  House Speaker Michael Madigan characterized the tenor as "very respectful." But, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, had a different view.

"We listened to the Speaker's comments and we're frankly confused by them," she said.

Here's the confusion. Or the dispute, anyway.

Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council is on record in support of continued state funding for Connect Transit. The Twin Cities' bus system faces a shutdown in January unless the Illinois Comptroller transfers funds appropriated earlier this year by the state legislature.

The $5 million owed to Connect Transit is part of a larger funding package for several downstate transit systems. Connect Transit's General Manager Andrew Johnson, who is President of the Illinois Public Transportation Association, spoke to council members about the state's legal authority to provide funding.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal activists are worried about what Donald Trump will actually try to accomplish as President. Sonny Garcia and Bill Rau, both part of Illinois People's Action appeared on  Sound Ideas, and organized a protest in downtown Bloomington. Garcia said there is a lot of concern Trump will try to make good on promises to deport eleven million people...

Gov. Rauner's Income Triples In 2015

Nov 11, 2016
Illinois Lawmakers / Illinois Public Media

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner made $188 million last year. That’s according to tax returns released Friday.

Rauner’s income this year was more than 3 times the $58 million he made last year. He earned his fortune as a venture capitalist before taking office in 2014. When he became governor, he put his investments in a so-called blind trust. His 2015 tax returns show Rauner and his wife paid more than $50 million in federal and state taxes.

Emma Shores / WGLT

On Tuesday, November 8. Illinois State Students participated in the 2016 Presidential Election. Students engaged in the civic duty of voting and also attended a viewing party for the 2016 President Election results hosted by University Program Board. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Some members of minority groups in Bloomington-Normal said a Donald Trump presidency will undo several decades progress.

About 200 citizens joined together on the courthouse square in Bloomington Wednesday night in a demonstration organized by Illinois People's Action, to say they still feel a better America is worth fighting for.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

The Donald Trump presidential campaign was full of bold promises. Two Illinois State University political scientists said his supporters will hold him accountable if those promises are not met by the mid-term elections in two years or the next presidential race in four years.  Erik Rankin and Tom McClure regular political analysts for Sound Ideas

Matt Turner / Flickr

Illinois’ constitution has been amended for the 14th time since it was adopted in 1970.

Voters overwhelmingly approved what’s known as a “lockbox” for transportation dollars.

A well-funded alliance of business and labor organizations waged a campaign for the amendment, after lawmakers skimmed millions from Illinois’ road fund to pay for other needs.

Mike Sturino is the CEO of The Illinois Road and Transportation Builders.

Donald Trump speaks at a podium
Michael Vadon / Flickr

Amid a closer-than-expected national race for president, Republican Donald Trump narrowly edged out Democrat Hillary Clinton among local voters in McLean County.

With all but one precinct reporting at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Trump edged Clinton with 45.7 percent of the total McLean County vote, compared to her 44.6 percent. Trump’s victory was by just 860 votes.

Normal water tower
Staff / WGLT

The Town of Normal is planning for the future...the year 2040 to be exact. A committee of community members presented the Normal 2040 Plan to the Town Council Monday night.

Committee members said the plan will work as a blueprint to improve the community and residents' lives. 

McLean County Government

Editor's note: Kimberly Pfeifer did not respond to repeated requests by GLT News for an interview.

McLean County Board candidate Dave Selzer says he agrees with the county's move into mental health services.

James Matthew Anderson poses at WGLT studio
Ryan Denham

Every day for the past few months, a presidential candidate has visited Bloomington-Normal. But don’t be surprised if you missed the motorcade.

His name is James Matthew “Matt” Anderson of Mahomet, who commutes every day to Bloomington where he works as an attorney. Anderson is a registered write-in candidate for president in McLean County, an easier-than-it-sounds decision he made as a disgruntled voter.

YouTube

An Illinois Wesleyan political science department survey of some likely Bloomington voters shows an unusually high number--20 percent--remain undecided about who to vote for president.

Students in Tari Renner's Elections and Research Methods and Statistics classes polled 421 likely Bloomington voters over three days last week. IWU student Robert Perez served as the lead research assistant.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has apologized for mocking Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth's immigrant background and her family's history of military service.

In a Twitter post Friday, Kirk says: "Sincere apologies to an American hero, Tammy Duckworth, and gratitude for her family's service."

At a U.S. Senate debate Thursday in Springfield, Duckworth spoke of how her family has "served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution." Kirk responded that he had "forgotten (that her) parents came all of the way from Thailand to serve George Washington."

Emma Shores/WGLT

Traffic stops in Normal have increased dramatically since the police department began a policy requiring officers to have a minimum off two contacts with citizens during each shift.

Police made 19,637 traffic stops last year compared to 12,961 in 2014 -- an increase of 51 percent.

That amounts to an additional 21 stops a day, according to Illinois State University Criminal Justice Professor Michael Gizzi, who analyzed the traffic stop data.

Fruin Not Running For Re-election

Oct 24, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Alderman Jim Fruin recieved a standing ovation following his announcement that he will retire from representing Ward 9. Fruin made the announcement at Monday's council meeting. He said he'll finish up his term that ends in April.

Downtown TIF Up For A Vote

Oct 23, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

A Tax Increment Financing District in downtown Bloomington could receive approval from the city council Monday.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump's unwillingness to answer a question about accepting the results of the election, during last night's debate, may not be a big deal. Illinois State University professors Tom McClure and Erik Rankin discussed the debate on Sound Ideas.

Renner Re-establishing Cuban Sister Cities

Oct 19, 2016
Tari Renner

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner flew south last week to reconnect with Caibarien, Cuba and Remedios, Cuba, which were originally established as Sister Cities to Bloomington and Normal in the early 2000s.  

No City Funding For Creativity Center

Oct 18, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

A proposal to phase-in upgrades to the Creativity Center is receiving support from the Bloomington City Council. However, Aldermen want to use privately-raised money to pay for the project.

Alderman Amelia Buragas said she supports a resolution that says the council supports the Activity Center and will engage in a public-private partnership, but it doesn't commit city funds to it.

Michael Hill / WGLT

  

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner agrees with some council members who say that the city should focus on older neighborhoods before newer parts of town when it comes to sanitary sewer and storm water infrastructure. Aldermen met Monday to discuss the five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Some Bloomington Aldermen want to work on improving sanitary sewer and storm water infrastructure in the older parts of town before moving on to newer parts.

Creativity Center Could See $5.2 Million Update

Oct 16, 2016
City of Bloomington

Bloomington Alderman will discuss a plan to use mostly private funds to renovate the Creativity Center, north of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, during a committee meeting Monday.

Staff / WGLT

Buses may run on diesel fuel, but it takes money to fill the tank. Late cash transfers from the State of Illinois could mean Connect Transit will have to park its buses and suspend service at the end of the year.

Bill B/Flickr

Republican candidates for local offices are struggling with how to respond to their party's presidential candidate's treatment of women. 

Pages