Daisy Contreras

Reporter

Daisy reports on various assignments for NPR Illinois.  She graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting master’s  degree program at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she spent time covering the legislative session for NPR Illinois' Illinois Issues.  Daisy interned then researched for the Chicago Reporter.  She obtained an associate degree in French language from Harry S Truman College and a bachelor's degree in communications from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before coming to Springfield, Daisy worked in communication roles for several Chicago non-profits. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

It was a good day to be a Democrat in Illinois as Governor J.B. Pritzker was sworn in on Monday along with a diverse group of statewide office holders. In his inaugural speech, Pritzker set the stage for an ambitious progressive agenda in the upcoming legislative session. But, the Democratic governor along with a Democratic majority in the General Assembly have their work cut out for them.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

A new General Assembly sworn in on the eve of a new Governor and administration.   Tina Sfondeles of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the panel.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Outgoing Republican Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti will pass on the baton to Juliana Stratton next week, when a new administration is sworn in.

 

But before that, we sat down with Sanguinetti to talk about her upbringings with immigrant parents--a Cuban mother and Ecuadorian father, her influence on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s policies and what it has meant to be the first Latina lieutenant governor in the country.​

 

 

Interview Highlights

 

On her influence on Rauner and the policies he pursued:

The Illinois General Assembly began a new legislative session Wednesday—with both new and familiar faces. Though the legislative leaders remain the same, making what was old “new” again,  Democrats have expanded their veto-proof majority, known as a “supermajority".

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

On his way out of office, Gov. Bruce Rauner is offering a few pointers to the Illinois Republican Party. He also touts what he views as the main achievements of his administration. 

Rep. Lou Lang
Brian Mackey / WUIS

A top Illinois Democrat is stepping down after more than 30 years in the House of Representative to become a lobbyist. Lou Lang was until last year the number three Democrat in the House.

Lang has long worked on marijuana and gambling legislation and is becoming a lobbyist as those are expected to become top issues in the coming year.

“I’m around, I’m not going anywhere and any legislator that needs my help to make something happen that I’ve been working on, I’m more than happy to help them,” he said. 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

Chicago Ald. Ed Burke is accused of using his position to steer business to his law firm. The city's longest-serving alderman has ties across government in Illinois and the city — will there be other shoes to drop?

Lincoln Home
Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield remains closed to the public as the partial federal government shutdown nears its second full week. There are two sites in Illinois affected by the closures -- the other is the Pullman National Monument in Chicago. The National Park Service runs both.  

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Brian Mackey

A look back at the top stories in Illinois politics and government over the past year.

Lydia Fu for ProPublica Illinois / Lydia Fu for ProPublica Illinois

Hundreds of kids and teenagers are suing the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. This comes after an investigation by ProPublica Illinois found children are being kept in psychiatric hospitals longer than medically necessary.

General Assembly chamber
Matt Turner / flickr

 

The Illinois General Assembly could include sports betting on their agenda this year.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After years of effort, a bipartisan coalition passed criminal justice reform legislation in Congress this week. Turns out the relationship between Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and presidential adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner played a role in keeping the legislation on track.

Jenna Dooley / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission has selected a new inspector general – to investigate misconduct and harassment within the Statehouse

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Two small towns in rural Illinois recently lost their Walmart stores -- more than three decades after the retail giant came in and pushed out mom and pop shops. Now, the communities have lost convenience as well as major property and sales tax revenue. Some see it as an opportunity to revitalize main street, while others are not so optimistic.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker announced his ninth and tenth transition committees this week, including one on business issues and economic development. He also reiterated his committment to raising Illinois' hourly minimum wage to $15.

Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice, Prairie Rivers Network and Sierra Club

Illinois coal-fired power plants are allowing hazardous coal ash—a byproduct of coal burning—to seep into groundwater and affecting the quality of future drinking water. That’s according to a recent report, "Cap and Run," released Wednesday by several environmental advocacy groups that included the Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network, Earthjustice, and the Environmental Integrity Project.

State Rep. Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, said Speaker Madigan will decide what happens to former leadership job.
Amanda Vinicky

Illinois state Rep. Lou Lang—a Skokie Democrat—could get his House leadership position back after being cleared of sexual misconduct allegations several months ago. 

Dominican Sisters of Springfield

A group of  Springfield Dominican Sisters traveled to El Paso, Texas to volunteer at a Catholic shelter for asylum seekers. The shelter -- called Annunciation House -- receives migrants and their families after they've been released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officials. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly rolled over Gov. Bruce Rauner in the first week of veto session, voting to override his vetos of more than three-dozen bills. But that's only half the game.

When lawmakers return for week two of veto session, the House and Senate will swap bills to complete the override process — will the governor fare any better then?

The Illinois legislature is considering whether to restrict the use of a cancer-causing gas, currently in use by several Chicago-area facilities.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The foundation set up to support Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has been struggling with debt. Tuesday, officials from the group asked Illinois lawmakers for help.  

Under the Donald Trump administration, rules for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers are constantly changing.  A Chicago story-telling nonprofit, 90 Days, 90 Voices, aims to dispel some of the misconceptions about asylum seekers through photo essays, oral histories and graphic novels. 

CLTV screenshot

Democrats dominated in Illinois Tuesday night — easily taking all statewide races on the ballot.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

In the final days of the 2018 elections, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker are making their closing arguments.

National politicians like President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were also in Illinois in the last week, mostly to stump for Congressional candidates as Democrats and Republicans vie for control of the U.S. House.

Jefferies Orchard

Illinois farmers grow a lot of corn and soybeans.  But the state leads the nation when it comes to growing pumpkins. Despite unusually heavy rains and dry, hot days during the growing season, it’s turning out to be a good year for the crop.   

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner gained attention — and generated outrage in some quarters — for an ad that used both profanity and a mock same-sex marriage to attack his Democratic opponent, J.B. Pritzker. Plus an update on the state of the race heading into the final week of campaigning.

Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease / Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s handling of a Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak at a veteran’s home has become a campaign issue. But a national prevention group says the topic should not be politicized. 

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

It's been one year since the #MeToo movement led to a letter about sexual harassment and misogyny within state government being circulated and signed by about 200 people who work within it. Like many public sectors, this was one with problems that had yet to be adequately reckoned with.

Bill Clutter / Bill Clutter

In the late 1980s, coal tar dust left behind by an abandoned gas plant was exposed in the central Illinois town of Taylorville. Several children were soon diagnosed with neuroblastoma – a rare form of childhood cancer. Bill Clutter, a private investigator from Springfield, helped a group of mothers take the cases to court.

kyle tsui / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers are trying to gauge whether legalizing sports betting could help the state earn some much-needed revenue.  Experts say the plan has long-term benefits, but only if it’s done right.  

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