Sue Rezin


Careen Gordon is no longer a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, but she still managed to become embroiled in a political controversy.

The Democrat, who recently moved from Morris to Chicago, was appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn to serve on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board — a job that pays $86,000 a year. Her hiring comes on the heels of her vote in favor of a major income tax hike championed by Quinn.

I’m not sure if this controversy has teeth — after all, Gordon may have supported the income tax hike simply because it was politically safe for the then-lame-duck legislator to do so, and as a former prosecutor, she certainly seems qualified for the job. But this comment she made about it to a Chicago Sun-Times reporter annoys me:

“There was no deal. That’s untrue,” she said. “My background is a perfect match for someone on the Prisoner Review Board. I’m done talking about it. I’m done being called a liar.”

She’s “done talking about it”? She’s “done being called a liar”? She seems awfully touchy — but that doesn’t surprise me. (Gordon was one of the politicians I had to keep tabs on during my year-and-a-half covering politics for Ottawa Delivered.)

I suspect Gordon is still smarting from her Election Day loss to Sue Rezin, who was backed by the local tea party movement.

My last Ottawa Delivered column of 2010:

It’s been a great year to be a political reporter. Whether it was the Capitol Hill wars, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial or any of many interesting election battles, 2010 was notable in the political realm.

By contrast, it was a relatively quiet year on the La Salle County Board front, though the county certainly had its share of notability in 2010. For example, there was the swift rise and fall of the forest preserve; more administrative changes at the nursing home; controversial pay raises; and the dispute centering on the county’s now-former software vendor, Sikich.

Illinois politics created quite a range of news, from our state’s Blagojevich baggage to the close, contentious race between his successor, Gov. Pat Quinn and state Sen. Bill Brady, to the free-for-all to replace Richard M. Daley as Chicago mayor. State politics provided a couple memorable moments locally, namely Sue Rezin’s victory over state Rep. Careen Gordon and the surprise resignation of state Sen. Gary Dahl, which resulted in Rezin being named to Dahl’s seat.

The political story of 2010 that is most memorable to me is the 11th Congressional District race that saw challenger Adam Kinzinger defeat incumbent U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson by a runaway margin. Covering the race extensively made it memorable, to be sure, but so did the ramifications of the race. The GOP is clearly grooming Kinzinger for bigger things, giving him some plum assignments for a freshman legislator. It will be interesting to watch what happens to his political career.

Kinzinger will be only one of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, but he’ll be weighing in on matters of national importance – and when it comes to national politics, these are interesting times. The year began with President Obama riding high and pushing his agenda forward, only to be slapped back at the polls in November, and ending with Obama’s apparent comeback via compromise with Republican leaders.

Still, it’s too early to tell if Obama’s supposed comeback is indeed that. I suspect it’s more complicated than it seems, but if the president continues his path down the political middle, then he likely is doing himself a favor looking ahead to 2012. Either way, you can safely bet that 2011 will be another year when it’s worth paying attention to politics.