It is nearly 27 years since I left Illinois and moved to southern California. I had worked for 9 years at Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois at Springfield). I was originally hired as Director of the Illinois Legislative Staff Internship Program which I headed for about 7 years. I also was the founding Director of the Illinois Legislative Studies Center at SSU.
So, it is understandable that I have been watching, with great interest, as the latest political scandal in Illinois is revealed; the alleged "selling" of Barack Obama's Senate seat by Governor Rod Blagojevich. All that I have been reading this week seems familiar. Many journalists have made reference to the way politics have been in Illinois for a very long time. From the years I was there, I even remember one popular, likable state official who was indicted for getting benefits from state contracts he awarded each year. It seemed to me as the case unwound through the legal system that he never understood what he had done wrong; he was just conducting business-as-usual in the state capitol.
The more I have read this week, the more I realized how much has stayed the same since I left Springfield. I guess that some things just never change!