Jamey Dunn

Former Illinois Issues Editor

No other news initiative explains Illinois as well as Illinois Issues.

Illinois Issues is dedicated to providing in-depth analysis of public policy in our state. With a special focus on Illinois government and politics, Illinois Issues pays close attention to current trends and examines the state's quality of life.

Illinois Issues was a monthly print magazine, in continuous publication since 1975 by the University of Illinois at Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University). In 2015, it transitioned to a digital publication. Now Illinois Issues offers a weekly in-depth story, published on Thursday mornings, along with a companion radio piece that airs on NPR Illinois and other public radio stations throughout the state. 

Our readers and listeners tell us they rely on Illinois Issues to keep up with Illinois government and politics. We also publish an annual up-to-date directory called the Roster of State Government Officials — a resource our readers find invaluable year-round.

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Everywhere you looked when you drove up the main drag of my hometown, Mattoon, in the fall of 2007, you could see signs outside of businesses saying, “Welcome FutureGen.” 

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney says no single event or aha moment solidified his desire to get involved in politics. Rather, he says, it began with a series of questions he started asking himself about issues that are often seen as intractable problems in modern society.

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The idea that a judicial candidate whose background is counter to the white male majority would bring a different perspective to the bench became a prevalent topic of discussion during the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. But the concept that public servants with different backgrounds strengthen discourse is not new, or without merit. While the nation and the state of Illinois have made great strides in choosing female candidates for positions of power, the statistics are still dismal.

Dry casks containing radioactive waste
WUIS/Illinois Issues

After the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters, public support for nuclear power dropped precipitously. But in recent years, increased demand for electricity and concerns over carbon emissions that contribute to global warming have led to a so-called nuclear renaissance.

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Facing an unprecedented deficit, Illinois politicians pulling together a state budget with little public or legislative support for an income tax increase had to get creative when looking for new revenue sources. 

One tax proposal could have helped Illinois make a dent in a waste problem that is getting attention across the country and overseas. 

Gov. Pat Quinn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Pat Quinn and state Sen. Bill Brady stand in stark contrast. Quinn is backing a 1 percentage point increase in the state income tax, while Brady is calling for $1 billion in tax cuts. Quinn happily describes himself as “progressive” while Brady’s voting record paints a legislator who is about as conservative on social issues as one can get. 

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Pat Quinn and state Sen. Bill Brady have made it clear that they see job creation as the No. 1 issue in their race for the governor’s office. In a state with an unemployment rate of more than 11 percent, it is pretty safe to say that joblessness is a top concern of many voters, too. 

WUIS/Illinois Issues

When Tom Bremer got word that he would not be back teaching art at Elgin High School next year, he was frustrated. He taught there four years and worked with other art teachers at the school to create a photography, cartooning and animation program that teaches students to use new technology as well as writing and art criticism.

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Faced with $1.3 billion in proposed cuts to education in Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget, along with looming layoffs of thousands of teachers and the chronic failure of some schools to meet No Child Left Behind standards, lawmakers are pushing several education proposals that emphasize “choice” for both schools and students. 

Video Poker
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Last May, the Illinois General Assembly passed the state’s first capital construction program in 10 years. The National Conference of State Legislators called it the most comprehensive state-level job-creation plan in the country, and according to Gov. Pat Quinn, the program will generate 439,000 jobs in the next six years. To help pay for the $31 billion package, legislators voted to legalize video poker machines in thousands of bars, restaurants and truck stops throughout the state.

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Auditor general findings that a state agency has no official budget, financial reports, formal planning process or even basic office supplies are a bit shocking. According to a recent state audit, the Illinois Power Agency has paid its bills late, collected fees late and turned in travel vouchers late since its creation two years ago. 

Southern Illinois pharmacy owner Tom Miller had to refinance his store to avoid bankruptcy while he waited on the state of Illinois to pay the money it owed him. “The state darn near destroyed us — destroyed me and almost destroyed other pharmacies,” he says.

Miller, also a Methodist minister, says his faith helped him through the financial turmoil. “We stayed in business only through the grace of God.” At one point Miller was waiting up to 270 days to be reimbursed for the Medicaid prescriptions he filled. 

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Just a few months ago, it looked as if the scandal surrounding the “Meritorious Good Time Push” prisoner-release program could cost Gov. Pat Quinn a win in the primary election. Under the program, exposed by the Associated Press in December, the Illinois Department of Corrections was awarding prisoners months of early release time for good behavior in the first few days of their sentences, thus returning some violent offenders to the streets after they spent just a few weeks behind bars.

An artist’s depiction of FutureGen, the near-zero emissions coal plant proposed for construction in Mattoon.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Although concern over climate change has escalated in recent years, America won’t stop burning coal anytime soon. Coal-fired power plants generate half the nation’s electricity, while creating more than a quarter of all the harmful carbon dioxide pollution in the United States.

Burris has been accused of being highly ambitious and having a healthy ego throughout his career. He often is asked about his mausoleum, which already has his résumé and the words “TRAIL BLAZER” carved on it.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

From age 16 to 71, one thing has remained constant about Roland Burris: his ambition to hold high political office. As a sophomore in high school, Burris set two life goals, one to become a lawyer and one to hold a statewide office. He now serves in a position that typically is filled through a statewide election, but Burris’ ascension to the U.S. Senate was anything but typical. After being in office for less than two months, he is facing two separate investigations, many have called for his resignation and plans for a special election to replace him may be in the works.

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