Illinois politics to be discussed in the Union

Lauren Barry, Staff Reporter

Problems with the Illinois government will be the topic of a discussion during the “Illinois Politics and Government: Options for Reform” at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Richard Wandling, the chair of the political science department, is leading the discussion at the Loft of the Martin Luther King, Jr. University Union on Oct. 20 and the final discussion will be Oct. 27 at 4 p.m.

The event is a series of three discussions where people can come and talk about the Illinois government and what voters can do for the present and future.

Wandling said it is obvious to Illinois residents that the state has not been working well and has had problems for a long time.

“From former governors spending time in prison to the current deadlock between the Governor and General Assembly over completion of the budget process,” Wandling said “Illinois voters have much reason to be concerned about state politics and government.”

Wandling said the course intent is to examine options open-mindedly instead of thinking of solutions for the government.

Marita Metzke, a project coordinator at Eastern, said the class will cover Illinois’ major issues such as pension underfunding, inadequate financing of education and redistricting.

Other topics that may be discussed are declining infrastructure and the states reputation for tolerating political corruption, according to Eastern’s website.

“We hope that people will have a better understanding of the current issues and be equipped to do their own research that affect them,” Metzke said. “We hope this prompts discussions with others on what they learned and where to find additional information.”

Wandling said the course will talk about legislations and policies at the state-level interest groups, such as League of Women Voters.

“While I have no illusions about the impact of our class on legislation and policies in Springfield and Chicago, we must start somewhere,” Wandling said.

Wandling will be leading the courses by talking about the options for reforming the political system such as state and local revenue systems and the role of money in politics, according to Eastern’s website.

The Academy of Lifelong Learning is hosting this class to educate on political issues in order to understand the changes that need to occur to improve the social, economic and political future of the state, Metzke said.

“If we don’t understand the issues we cannot vote in meaningful ways,” Metzke said.

The class is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, call The Academy at 581-5114.

Lauren Barry can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]