Charles N. Wheeler III

Analyst

The director of the Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) graduate program is Professor Charles N. Wheeler III,  a veteran newsman who came to the University of Illinois at Springfield following a 24-year career at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Wheeler covered state government and politics for the Sun-Times since 1970, when he covered the Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention. For the last 19 years of his Sun-Times tenure, Wheeler was assigned to the newspaper’s Statehouse bureau. During that time, he was elected to 16 consecutive one-year terms as president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association and served for many years on the PAR program and admissions committees.

Since 1984, he has written a monthly column for Illinois Issues magazine, which has won five Capitolbeat awards for magazine commentary/analysis. In 2006, the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association inducted him into The Lincoln League of Journalists, which honors men and women who have provided exemplary service to other journalists and to daily newspapers published in Illinois. In 2013, he was chosen as the Journalist of the Year by the Journalism Department at Eastern Illinois University.  He is also a regular on the panel for State Week, WUIS' weekly political analysis program that airs on public radio stations across Illinois.

Before joining the Sun-Times in 1969, Wheeler served more than three years as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Panama. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN, majoring in English, and received a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Wheeler draws on the talents of many UIS faculty with expertise in such fields as public budgeting, political science, and communication, as well as professional journalists and state officials, to present students with a well-rounded program to bridge the academic and professional areas.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Nuclear plant workers in Clinton and Quad Cities — not to mention Exelon and ComEd shareholders — got a helping hand from Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly. But there was no such luck for the many social service providers, university students and countless others hoping for Illinois' first full budget in a year-and-a-half.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Democratic leaders met for the the first time in months. Judging from their diverging responses, you might wonder if they were actually in the same room. Meanwhile AFSCME members rallied after getting bad news from the state labor board.

Mendoza campaign

Democrats prevailed in statewide races, but couldn't hold on to seats in southern Illinois. Meanwhile, suburban Republicans may hold less sway in the party's legislative caucus.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Republicans made gains in the Illinois House and Senate, but Democrats cleaned up in statewide races. Meanwhile, Illinois government is still without a balanced budget — does the election change anything?

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

An election season of unprecedented spending on negative advertising is coming to an end. How does it rank? And what does it mean for the future?

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth participated in their first televised presidential debate this week. Kirk made a comment about his opponent's ethnic heritage for which he later felt compelled to apologize. We'll ask Charlie Wheeler why voters should care about the special election for Illinois comptroller. And Sen. Dick Durbin might mean it when he says he isn't interested in taking on Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Donald Trump's talk of "rigged" elections prompts Illinois and Chicago officials to say widespread voter fraud is a thing of the past. Meanwhile, a Chicago Democratic operative feels the burn of a conservative undercover activist. And could there be unintended consequences for state parks if Illinois voters approve the so-called transportation lockbox?

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Republicans continue to struggle with their reactions to Donald Trump's bus video. Congressman Rodney Davis withdrew his endorsement while Gov. Bruce Rauner continues trying to dodge the question.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune editorial board is backing Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth over Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, citing concerns about Krik's ability to do the job following his 2012 stroke. And the advocacy arm of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute has screened its movie attacking House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Public Domain

A proposed amendment to the state’s constitution would protect money set aside for transportation projects. Supporters say the change is needed because money that's supposed to be earmarked for building roads has gone to other expenses over the years. But the amendment could allow some of those practices to continue, while endangering other popular programs. 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Simon Poll says incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk is 14 points behind Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. Democrats and Republicans are trying to use the other side's unpopular leaders to sink down-ballot candidates. Plus, Illinois is awash in campaign cash.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner stuck to his script during his Facebook Live event. He also denies that his legislative agenda is "hurting some class."

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner has donated $16 million of his fortune to help elect Republican candidates. But he also says he's not really involved in the election. Huh?

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

  Advocates for changing how Illinois’ legislative districts are drawn are not done yet, there’s continuing fallout from the ongoing unnatural disaster known as the Illinois budget, and Chicago violence hits a grim milestone.

The most recent attempt at changing the way legislative districts are drawn might have had a shot — had only the proposal left the auditor general out of the equation. 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to change the way Illinois' legislative districts are drawn.

albatross
Michael Sale / Flickr.com/michaelsale (cc-by-nc)

Republicans and Democrats gathered in Springfield this week for party meetings and rallies at the Illinois State Fair. Republicans mostly avoided mentioning presidential nominee Donald Trump, preferring to focus on Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Democrats, meanwhile, were happy to embrace Madigan, and tried to tie Republicans into an embrace of Trump, too. Both parties are hoping the other side's top politicians will become an albatross around the necks of down-ballot candidates.

Jamey Dunn, Kent Redfield, and Charlie Wheeler
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Kent Redfield (UIS) and Charlie Wheeler (UIS) discuss former Gov. Rod Blagojevich losing his bid to have his prison sentence reduced.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, convicted former governor Rod Blagojevich's resentencing resulted in the same 14-year prison term.  Also, Michael Madigan's failed primary challenger is suing him for defamation of character.  Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn, WBEZ's Tony Arnold, and Jason Meisner of the Chicago Tribune join the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A state labor board declined to rush the Rauner administration's request for a speedy decision on a dispute with state employees, while the AFSCME unions seems to be readying for a strike. We'll also talk about what last week's stopgap budget means for schools and universities.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Democrats and Republicans came together to approve a partial state budget. It's enough to sustain some government operations through the end of the year, but it's still a long way away from functional government.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

  Gov. Bruce Rauner says his Republican negotiators and Democrats are getting closer to an agreement on a partial state budget. Meanwhile, bipartisan gun control legislation has surfaced in the wake of the massacre of 49 people in Orlando, Fla.

Jamey Dunn, Charlie Wheeler, and Brian Mackey
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn, Brian Mackey, and Charlie Wheeler discuss the possibility of a budget agreement before the end of the fiscal year.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he and his administration have done "heroic" work to keep Illinois government running. But time and money are catching up with that effort, and that will cost taxpayers for years to come.

Illinois political leaders’ performance on the budget is reminiscent of the losingest team in modern baseball. 

a metaphor about Illinois government
I.W. Taber / Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

  After spending seventeen months fighting over the governor’s agenda and the end of May fighting about a temporary spending plan, now Democrats and Republicans are fighting about political fighting itself. Also: whales (!).


House floor
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois has a constitutional requirement that its budget must be balanced — spending has to equal revenues every year. But is the Illinois budget ever really balanced?

Brian Mackey put that question to two people who closely follow Illinois' finances: Charlie Wheeler, director of the Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield, and Jamey Dunn, editor of Illinois Issues.

    

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Thwarted in a last-minute attempt to thrust a temporary spending plan on Democrats, Gov. Bruce Rauner is liberal in his use of the word "failure." Democrats, meanwhile, train their fire on each other.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

With just days remaining before the scheduled end of the spring legislative session, Democrats and Republicans appear far apart on a state budget and the governor's agenda. Will Illinois enter a second year without a spending plan?

NPR Illinois State Week logo (Capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Legislators and top Rauner administration officials are acknowledging what it’ll take to solve Illinois’ budget mess: billions of dollars in spending cuts and tax hikes. But they're also insisting it's just a possibility, not a bill, and certainly not a deal.

In other news, a familiar name is suing over the "Independent Maps" ballot initiative.

NPR Illinois State Week logo (Capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced in a hush-money scandal and admitted to molesting children; Governor Bruce Rauner said he hopes for a 2-year budget deal with legislative leaders by the end of May; and the governor insists contact negotiations with AFSCME are at an impass.  Kerry Lester of the Daily Herald joins the panel.

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