Politics and Government

Staff / WGLT

City of Bloomington officials are mulling over two new proposals for a downtown hotel, following last month's collapse of a plan to locate an upscale hotel and conference center near the coliseum. Both proposals come from developer Jeff Giebelhausen, who's been working with the city for more than a year to redevelop a dilapidated building and the Commerce Bank facility.

Michael Hill / WGLT

People in the Twin Cities are reacting to the Connect Transit route and schedule overhaul that will start on August 15th. Sheila Eskew of Bloomington said she's happy with the changes.

Staff / WGLT

The Normal Town Council has unanimously approved a Complete Streets resolution. The policy establishes rules for making streets and sidewalks accessible to people using any form of transportation.

City Manager Mark Peterson said budget is a consideration when implementing a Complete Streets upgrade and some improvements are not financially supportable. Peterson said there is enough flexibility to make adjustments in street design based upon the existing conditions.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr


  Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump have been in the national spotlight for decades. But Americans are still getting to know their vice presidential running mates, Gov. Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, and Gov. Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana. 

Someone who's known Pence a long time is a Catholic Benedictine Sister from Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, IN.

Sister Sharon Bierman taught Pence in seventh and eight grades at St. Columba Catholic School in Columbus, IN.

Normal Council To Consider 'Complete Streets' Policy

Jul 31, 2016
IvoShandor / Wikimedia Commons

A formal Complete Streets proposal is under consideration at Monday's Normal Town Council meeting. If approved, the resolution would further establish rules for making streets and sidewalks accessible to people using all forms of transportation.

Erik Rankin

Democrats, led by Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are continuing to try to appeal to a segment of voters most think may vote for GOP nominee Donald Trump.  Illinois State University Politics and Government professor Erik Rankin and ISU students attended the convention in Philadelphia this week. 

DNC Featured Speeches 'From The Heart'

Jul 28, 2016
Sarah Burris / Flickr

The stage at the Democratic National Convention was a Who’s Who of the Democratic Party Wednesday night, and it was almost unclear who took the cake as the best speaker of the night.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Chris Koos says he will run for his fourth full term as Mayor of the Town of Normal. The 68-year old Koos also served a portion of a term when former Mayor Kent Karraker resigned.

Eight years ago Koos said he probably wouldn't run again. Four years ago, Mayor Koos said he would not run again and would make an effort during the term to mentor potential successors.

Yusuf Sarfati / Personal Collection

On July 15, a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces failed in its attempt to overthrow the government.   On the day of the coup, Illinois State University Professor of Comparative Politics Dr. Yusuf Sarfati landed in Istanbul to begin a one-year sabbatical. Talking with WGLT's Jon Norton via Skype, Sarfati said despite the tension between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and various opposition groups, he had no inkling a coup was imminent.

"Neither me or anyone who was watching Turkey closely imagined a coup or at least a coup attempt could have happened right now" said Sarfati.  "Turkey has been unstable for the past year, however not in anyone's wildest imagination was that expected." Everyone was shocked."

Connect Transit

Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson is speaking out against the 2016 Republican Platform released last week at the Republican National Convention. The document calls for the removal of Highway Trust Fund money from public transit systems such as Connect Transit in Bloomington-Normal.

City of Bloomington

The City of Bloomington believes it's too expensive to stay self insured for worker health coverage. During GLT's Sound Ideas, Mayor Tari Renner said the city is moving to a risk pooling group with more than 100 other municipalities and other units of government.

Haley Kosik

Humanization was the unofficial theme of speeches at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night. Illinois State University Politics and Government Professor Erik Rankin is in Philadelphia with ISU students for the convention this week. During GLT's Sound Ideas, Rankin said Hillary Clinton has often been accused of having a "non-feeling political presence", but speakers highlighted her as a mother and grandmother.

Rankin said President Bill Clinton's speech about his relationship with Hillary was great to bring up her early political career and how she has become stronger and more powerful over time. Rankin said it was interesting for his students to watch Bill speak about his wife due to the fact that many people look back at his infidelities.

Connect Transit Moving Forward With August Overhaul

Jul 26, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Connect Transit Board of Trustees approved proposed fee changes as part of a system overhaul that takes effect in three weeks. Beginning on August 15, riders will be able to purchase one-day and seven-day passes for fixed routes as well as 10-ride and 20-ride cards for Connect Mobilitity routes. 

Gender Important to ISU Student at DNC

Jul 26, 2016
Erik Rankin

An ISU student at the Democratic National Convention is now committed to Hillary Clinton, after first supporting Bernie Sanders. Speaking during GLT's Sound Ideas, Haley Kosik said gender does matter in this election.

Judith Valente / WGLT

The Bloomington city council  unanimously agreed to drill water supply wells around Lake Bloomington and Lake Evergreen. At a cost of $170,000, engineering firm Baxter and Woodman Inc. will drill into the St. Peter Aquifer

Erik Rankin

Bernie Sanders has the large task of speaking to his supporters at the Democratic National Convention, while also working to unify the party for Hillary Clinton, according to an ISU political scientist.

Illinois State University Politics and Government Professor Erik Rankin is in Philadelphia with ISU students for the convention this week. During GLT's Sound Ideas, Rankin said Sanders has to make sure people don't forget about his revolution within the Democratic party. 

State Rep. Ron Sandack Abruptly Quits

Jul 25, 2016
Ron Sandack / Ron4Illinois.com

Top-ranking Republican state Rep. Ron Sandack from suburban Chicago has resigned from the Illinois House, citing ``cyber security issues.''  

The House Republican floor leader from Downers Grove issued a statement late Sunday that said he began to ``re-evaluate his continued public service'' his role ``after some cyber security issues arose.''

LBJ Library / Creative Commons

The Reverend Jesse Jackson says it is a crisis that leaked emails show the Democratic National Committee may have favored Hillary Clinton.

But Jackson told reporters at the party convention that Democrats will move past it. 

Senator Raoul

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has already said he plans to run for re-election in two years.

Democrats don’t have a single obvious candidate for governor. But there’s a lot of talk at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia about the possibilities.

Judith Valente / WGLT

Bloomington Aldermen will vote on spending $107 thousand on engineering services to look at the costs of installing water supply wells near Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake.

Amanda Vinicky / IPR

Donald Trump's acceptance speech at the GOP convention was a litany of problems he said the country faces. 

It was nothing like Ronald Reagan's famous slogan "It's morning in America."

Michael Hill / WGLT

Illinois State University president Larry Dietz commented on an alleged rape that happened during an ISU Preview orientation program. Speaking at the Board of Trustees meeting earlier today, Dietz said this is the first time this has happened since the event was founded in 1966.

Straying From GOP Message May Have Little Impact

Jul 21, 2016
Tom McClure

The Republican national convention was designed around presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign theme, "Make America Great Again," with different subtitles such as Make America Safe Again, Make America Work Again and so on. ISU politics and government professor Tom McClure said during Sound Ideas, podium speakers at the Cleveland event have done a poor job of sticking to the theme.

Illinois State University

A father and son are accused of drugging a prospective ISU student and sexually assaulting her in a university dormitory.

It allegedly happened during the orientation program called Preview. ISU Chief of Staff Jay Groves said the situation is unprecedented in the half century of successful summer offerings.

David Gill

The State Board of Elections has ruled independent 13th District Congressional candidate David Gill does not have enough petition signatures to get on the November 8th ballot.

The Bloomington Physician collected nearly 8,600 signatures, but that's still 2,000 fewer than he needed.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

McLean County Board members have given a little heat to the building and zoning department over a lack of transparency involving a change to wind farm rules.

And some board members are upset they didn't move up the food chain to chair committees in the wake of the latest shuffle of panel assignments.

Amanda Vinicky / IPR

Republican officials who’ve been holding out on endorsing Donald Trump are moving to his corner, albeit reluctantly.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Channahon said walked a tight political line Tuesday when asked directly about his stance on Trump.

Independent Maps Case Heads To Appeal

Jul 20, 2016
Creative Commons

A judge has ruled that a voter referendum seeking to change the way Illinois draws its political boundaries is unconstitutional for the November ballot.

It's the second time that such an attempt has been blocked in the courts.

Tom McClure

One member of the Illinois State University contingent at the Republican convention in Cleveland says he sees strong similarities between support for Donald Trump and the Know Nothing party of a century and a half ago.