Elections Mean Changes

In 2010 Representative Mike Boland ran for Lt Governor of Illinois.

Rep Boland did very well downstate, in a 6 person field he was the only candidate who actually rose above 50% in any county.  Mike actually got above 60% in the counties he has served as State Representative, so I feel as if my efforts on his behalf for the last 13 years did significantly help him locally.

But there’s not a lot a downstater can do to break into the hearts and minds of Chicago voters, Cook County being pretty much it’s own domain.  Politics in that region are inscrutable to me . . .

The real point here isn’t about Cook County, it’s simply that a pawn broker who spent a couple million of his own money won the primary, then dropped out after it was revealed he had even more sins in his past than the average politician, reports of domestic violence, steroid abuse, failure to pay child support.

In Illinois if you lose in the Primary Election, you can’t come back and run for another office in the General Election, so Rep Boland was prohibited from running for reelection.

Rep Boland’s office closed earlier this week, but I plan to continue providing services to the public as a volunteer.  I’m detailing those efforts, as well as thoughts and writings, at a new website of my own – MikeHuntoon.com.

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Memorial Day 2009

Outside of politics, I study history, specifically World War II, so I have a very keen appreciation for the kind of conditions that our forefathers fought and died under while ensuring the freedoms I enjoy today.

It is absolutely unimaginable, overwhelming in fact, to try and understand what it must have felt like to face down a wall of bullets on a beach in France, Italy, or countless islands and atolls in the Pacific. Yet, it’s not unimaginable to the men and women I serve most every day, they were there!

I’ve had the great fortune to meet a great number of World War II Veterans filling out Circuit Breaker forms and the like for Representative Boland’s constituents, men who have literally faced that curtain of fire and steel, who’s friends and comrades fell.

Yet, everyday, those individuals are kind and gracious to me, they thank me profusely for the simple act of filling out a form, so that they might get a discount on their car’s license plates, or perhaps a bit of help with their prescription drugs.

If you aren’t from the Quad Cities, you might not know about the kind of people that make up the 71st district. I’d simply suggest that you take a moment to “google” the phrase “Hero Street Silvis” to get an idea of the kind of folks that I’m talking about.

I’d also like to ask your indulgence as I re-post a piece I penned moments ago for my personal blog on baseball history.

Today is the annual holiday in the U.S. where we commemorate the brave men and women who died while in the military service.

I feel a great personal appreciation for anyone who has served to protect the freedoms that I enjoy.

With that said, it is hard to express, in any kind of spoken or printed word, the appropriate appreciation to the families of those who not only served to protect our country and our way of life, but who also made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their own life so that a greater cause, freedom, would prevail.

Since words fail, we are left with the option of using a moment of silence to remember those who have fallen.

Please take just a few moments from your busy day today, to reflect in silence. Reflect on the memory of those who gave their lives, the meaning and significance of their sacrifice, and the way it has impacted upon your life today.

Thus, we give the fallen, the respect, remembrance, and reverence that they deserve.

Memorial Day 2009

And please, also take the time today, to also enjoy the freedoms that were bought by those sacrifices . . .

Enjoy a ballgame!

I’d also like to note that Representative Boland has been invited to speak today at a service held at the Hero Street Memorial. The event begins at 10:00 AM.

I Ain’t No Fortunate Son . . .

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everybody!

This year’s legislative process is due to wind down next week, and word is that a budget will be passed before the June 1 deadline.

With that in mind, I’d like to remind the legislature at large to remember folks like me . . . politics being what they are, it’s sometimes easy for the bulk of the General Assembly, being served (at taxpayer expense) by an array of staff and office personnel (of which I am one) to forget the plight of the common man.

Representative Boland, who I currently assist, certainly was no fortunate son either, growing up in the Cork Hill neighborhood in Davenport.

I trust that Mike will remember folks like myself, a middle class individual with a disabled and sickly Mother I care for outside of work, when the budget comes to a vote.

It’s the other guy (or gal) I worry about. There will be pressure to pass something, anything before the June 1 deadline invokes a deadlock of Balgojevichian proportions.

So to Mike Madigan, and Tom Cross, and Cullerton etcs, etc., et al, I ask them to remember . . .

I ain’t no fortunate son . . .

5-3-2009 Letter to Editor

your-humble-narratorDear Editor,

I was terribly dismayed to read last week’s newspaper and discover that Argus-Dispatch reporters had swallowed Republican Party propaganda hook, line and sinker, when they printed a story about a supposed vote on pay increases by the Illinois General Assembly. Because I believe the voters are entitled to the whole story, not just some distorted press release designed to mislead and enflame, I’m here to set the record straight, and tell the rest of the story.

Last week the Illinois House voted on a procedural matter concerning a bill introduced by Representative Bill Black. The bill would block the members of the General Assembly from receiving a cost of living adjustment in 2010. I actually agree with the idea, I think this is not the time for our politicians to be increasing their own salaries. But, to tell the whole story, I must also note that legislature did not vote on the actual pay raise proposal, but instead they voted on whether to allow Rep Black to ignore all procedural rules and deadlines followed in our state legislature.

Rep. Black introduced his legislation on March 22, 2009, a detail that’s important when considering this vote. The deadline for bills to be introduced was already more than a month gone by the time Black got around to writing his bill. Black didn’t even get his proposal introduced in time to meet the deadline for bills to be heard in committee. Black’s bill also missed the House’s deadline for bills to be passed to the Senate. If you’ve read carefully, you’ll notice that Black’s pay raise proposal failed to clear a single hurdle necessary under the rules all 118 Representatives must follow to pass laws in the Land of Lincoln.

I honestly wish Rep. Black was as diligent in following the rules and procedure that govern our lawmakers as he is in sending out promotional news releases. No matter how great your legislative idea may be, it’s the height of arrogance to ask that all rules be ignored for you alone, just because you failed to exercise any sort of actual diligence in assuring that your proposal meet long established (and accepted) rules and deadlines.

Sadly, we will never know how our Representatives would vote on the actual pay increase, but I don’t fault them for refusing to break every rule in the book just to satisfy on man’s ego.

Sincerely,
Mike Huntoon
Chief of Staff to Rep Mike Boland

Circuit Breaker & IL Cares Rx

We fill out more than 700 Circuit Breaker applications every year in Representative Mike Boland’s district office. As I tell everybody, it’s my favorite task because it’s a great program that makes a difference in the lives of thousands of individuals in the Illinois Quad Cities. It’s my personal goal to continue to grow this community outreach effort, and fill out 1000 applications in our office for the year 2010.

Circuit Breaker is a program that is unique to Illinois that assists lower income senior citizens and disabled persons.  Benefits of the Circuit Breaker include: a license plate discount, a bus pass, pharmaceutical assistance, and a property tax / rent rebate. The program is administered by the Illinois Department on Aging.

A one person household qualifies for the full program if their total income is no more than $22,218, and a couple can earn up to $29,480.  Individuals can still qualify for IL Cares Rx only if their income is no more than $25,532, and a 2 person household can still get pharmaceutical assistance with income up to $33,877.  Here is a little more information and the full income guidelines from the IL Department on Aging’s Website.

For those who qualify, Circuit Breaker provides:

  • Tax Grants – If you pay property taxes or mobile home taxes on your home, or if you rent or live in a nursing, retirement, or shelter care home that was subject to property taxes, you may be able to receive a grant up to $700. (note from Mike Huntoon – the average grant I see is actually more like $70)
  • License Plate Discount – A $54 discount on your license plate fee.
  • People with Disabilities Ride Free –Now, all seniors can ride mass transit for free in Illinois.  If you have a qualifying disability and meet the income eligibility requirements of the Circuit Breaker program, you may also be eligible for free rides on all fixed-route regularly scheduled buses, trains and public transit systems.
  • Prescription Drug AssistanceIf you have Medicare, Illinois Cares Rx will help pay the costs that Medicare does not.If you do NOT have Medicare, Illinois Cares Rx provides two benefits:
    – Illinois Cares Rx Basic

    – Illinois Cares Rx Plus.

Circuit Breaker property tax grant/ license plate discount and People with Disabilities Ride Free transit card income guidelines:

  • $22,218 for a household of one
  • $29,480 for a household of two
  • $36,740 for a household of three

Illinois Cares Rx BASIC:

  • $25,532 for a household of one
  • $33,877 for a household of two
  • $42,220 for a household of three

Illinois Cares Rx PLUS:

  • $24,891 for a household of one
  • $33,487 for a household of two

If you know anyone who might qualify for this terrific program, or if you might qualify yourself, please call Representative Mike Boland’s district office – 309/736-3360 – and ask for an appointment to get filled in on all the details and to fill out an application, my staff and I will be happy to serve you. Since I personally fill out something like 90% of the applications we file from our office on River Drive in Moline, I’ve grown to know a good number of folks pretty well, and we’ve grown to be pretty good friends.

Sincerely,
Mike Huntoon
Chief of Staff to Representative Mike Boland

— Online Circuit Breaker Resources —

IL Dept on Aging
Circuit Breaker
IL Cares Rx
Check the Status of an Application

I serve the 71st

My name is Mike Huntoon.  I’m not an elected official, but I work for one.

I do not have any plans to ever seek elected office for myself, I’m just a guy who believes in government by and for the people.

I serve as the Chief of Staff to Representative Mike Boland who is the elected representative of the 71st district.  Representative Boland’s district encompasses portions of Carroll, Henry, Rock Island, and Whiteside Counties in Northwestern Illinois.

I believe that public service means actually serving the public, and that’s why I originally came to work for Mr Boland in his district office in East Moline.  Before coming to work for Representative Boland, I was a consumer activist.  Reduced to it’s most simple level, that means that in my prior career I tried to tell elected officials what to do on behalf of regular people.  Now I answer the phones for an elected official, and tell him what the people want him to do.

While I’m entrusted with a great variety of duties and responsibilities, the favorite part of my job is helping senior citizens and disabled persons sign up for Circuit Breaker benefits, because I know the program is of great benefit to a large number of people, and I sleep well at night knowing my efforts have made a difference.

Together with Joe Brown, who is the district office manager, as well as the volunteers and interns who help us, we do our best to truly serve the people of the 71st district.

Representative Boland’s district office is located at 4416 River Drive in Moline, our phone is 309/736-3360, and the office email address is ILRepMikeBoland@aol.com.  If you call and ask for the “other” Mike, you get to speak to me.

Mr Haidt would call me a liberal