It's because of legislative sessions like the one just starting that our founders and the university knew how much our state needs Illinois Issues.
The focus on legislative redistricting will drip with partisanship, and some people might consider that dreadful. I don't. What's so wrong about partisanship affecting what we philosophically revere as a political process? On the other hand, legislators will consider important issues besides new maps this spring. And our staff will be on top of all of them.
As the political air heats up, we will provide our usual balanced, in-depth analysis of many topics important to citizens, interest groups and legislators.
Welcome to four Illinois leaders who have joined our board: MarySue Barrett of the Metropolitan Planning Council; Don Defoe of Caterpillar Inc.; Jim Edgar, the former governor who is now at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois; and Jeff Mays of the Illinois Business Roundtable. The board's major role is to make suggestions on content, advertising, fundraising and marketing, and I welcome their advice.
Just a note that our Web site address has changed to illinoisissues.uis.edu.
If you go to our old site, you will automatically be transferred to the new site. Mentioning the Web address also gives me the opportunity to thank all of you who contributed to our Technology Fund at the end of last year.
Your donations make it possible for us to go an extra mile. With your help, we have purchased new software and gradually will add new material. We're nowhere near where we want to be with our Web site, because we want to make it a richer resource of information about Illinois policies, politics and government. I will keep you posted on the developments.
Now is the time to register for the conference I mentioned last month: "Engaging Illinois Citizens." Leaders of three important sectors - business, government and nonprofit - will gain insights into what motivates people to be involved or not involved in their communities. The March 6 conference will help bring to Illinois a debate that is raging nationally about whether Americans are becoming less engaged in their communities (see my essay on page 34).
E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post has written a book on this topic and will be the keynote speaker. A registration form is on page 37.
I hope to see you there.