Interview Outline- Illinois Statecraft
1) Illinois Politics & Constitution:
Independent Voters of Illinois & independent Democrats
Committee on Illinois Government
The Chicago Democratic Machine
Bedsheet Ballot & Baker v Carr decision
Reform initiatives in the state legislature
1970 Constitutional Convention
Merit Selection of Judges
Nixon’s War on Crime
1972 Gubernatorial election (Simon & Walker in Democratic Primary)
1973 and the Kerner conviction
1974 legislative elections
1975 Speaker battle & selection of William Redmond
1976 Gubernatorial election (Walker v Howlett in Democratic Primary)
1978/1980 & Cutback Amendment
Pat Quinn & Citizens’ Utility Board
Equal Rights Amendment fights, 1972-1982
Redistricting in 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010
1982 Gubernatorial election – Thompson v Stephenson
1986 Gubernatorial – Thompson, Stephenson & LaRouch candidates
Barack Obama in the Illinois State Senate
Funding for Education
Chicago school reform
Higher education reform
School funding baseline
IL Teachers Union(s) [IEA and IFT] & Teachers Retirement System
School district reorganization
3) The Economy & Revenues
Adoption of the state Income Tax in 1969
Recession of late 1970s
Banking reform initiatives
Income Tax surcharge of 1989 & extension in 1991
Budgeting process & yearly budget battles
Budget battles in 1991 & 1992
Telecommunications regulation and de-regulation
Gambling and gaming regulations
Flood of 1993
5) Social Services
Americans with Disabilities Act
1988 Court case on DCFS caseloads
Dept. of Human Services created in 1997
6) Corruption & Ethics Reform
Chicago machine politics
Racetrack stock & Otto Kerner
Paul Powell & the shoebox full of money
Dan Walker guilty plea for S&L abuses
Rutan decision (June 1990) & political patronage in Illinois
MSI (Management Services of Illinois)
1998 ethics reform
‘License for bribe’ scandal
George Ryan conviction
2002-‘03 ethics reform
Abuses of power during the Blagojevich administration
Selling of the Obama Senate seat
Ongoing ethics reforms
7) Veterans Affairs
8) Social Issues
Marriage & Divorce law
9) Administration & governance
Technological innovation & governance
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency – July 1, 1985
Department of Natural Resource – July 1, 1995
Department of Human Services – July 1, 1997
Creation of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
Public Sector Unions
10) Crime & security legislation
Class X crimes during Thompson Administration
Dept. of Corrections & prison construction
DUI legislation & Mandatory driver’s license
Impact of 9-11 and War on Terror
11) Chicago related issues
1968 Democratic Convention
Chicago vs DuPage County politics
Regional Transit Authority
O’Hare Airport Expansion
Chicago’s third Airport
McCormick Place expansion
Chicago school reform
White Sox park (U.S. Cellular Field opens in 1991) & renovation of Soldier Field
Introductory Information: State at the beginning of the interview:
- Interviewer’s name (State your name)
- Date and place of the interview
- Name of the person being interviewed
- “This interview is part of the ALPL Illinois Statecraft Oral History project”
I. Background information
A. When and where were you born?
a. His occupation?
b. How would you describe his personality?
a. Did she work?
b. How would you describe her?
3. Which parent did you take after?
C. Other siblings & immediate family?
D. Was the family religious?
E. What is your earliest memory?
II. Where did you grow up?
A. Tell me about the neighborhood?
B. The schools you attended?
C. Was your family involved with politics when you were growing up?
D. Where did you attend High School? [_____ Graduation year?]
1. Extracurricular activities?
2. Did you have a job during High School?
3. What were your favorite subjects?
4. Your plans following High School?
E. Who were your mentors growing up?
1. Who had the strongest influence on you?
III. Young adult years:
A. What led to your decision to go to college?
B.University of Chicago years: [______? thru ______]
1. Your major while there?
2. How did you pay for college? Scholarship?
3. Were you working while going to school?
4. What were your career aspirations?
5. Were your political views evolving while in college?
a. What were the issues that motivated you?
C. Review of political events during these years?
D. Your political philosophy/beliefs.
E. Individual(s) or events that helped shape those views.
IV. Early career years?
V. Political career. (Secretary of the Senate Republican Caucus: 1965-1981)
Recommend that this portion of the interview – the heart of the interview – be organized chronologically, based on the interviewee’s political career.
Main theme & issues?
Political figures of the day?
Controversies during the campaign?
The challenges of fund-raising?
The impact on your family life?
Your relationship with the media?
VI. The decision to retire:
VII. Life after the political arena:
VIII. Concluding questions: (Ask reflective comments that get the subject to look back on his/her entire career. Some examples, below.)
A. The accomplishment(s) for which you are most proud?
B. Your most exhilarating moment?
C. Your most disappointing failure (in the public arena.)
D. Your most painful experience?
E. How your views have evolved / been strengthened over your career?
F. What do you would want to be remembered for.
G. Closing comments.