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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The power of the people

White-line fever is setting in again! We and things have been moving so fast I will have to get back to you to catch you up on this campaign--the places we've been and the 17th District people we've been visiting with.

However, today I want to talk to you about something foremost on my mind.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ISABEL BLOOM!

And thank you to the power of the people.

If you hadn't heard--a company growing from the work of the late Quad City artist Isabel Bloom, which makes unique sculptures from concrete, had decided to move their operations to China, putting 50 Quad Citians out of work. It would also have taken the heart of Isabel Bloom--the artisanship--to China too.

The outcry was immediate and loud on several levels.

Jobs. Art. A unique part of Quad City culture. However you looked at it, the people didn't like it.

They went to Isabel Bloom's showroom to buy up locally-created sculptures, and on their way out the door they told the clerks that they would never buy Isabel Bloom again, because it wouldn't be the same. Different materials. Designs from halfway around the world. How could someone in China capture the spirit of a sculpture of a squatty washerwoman--conceivably from any period in our history, but UNDENIABLY AMERICAN.

The owners stated their case to their employees and to the public. And then they did a remarkable thing. They listened, and they conferred, and they came forth with a brave and honorable announcement: "We made a grave mistake. We're staying."

Two sidebar thoughts: these three gentlemen are local. They live right here in the 17th District. That certainly helps, because they realize how integral a part of Quad City life the name and product of Isabel Bloom is.

I remember, as I'm sure you do, when the people who owned TV stations, and factories, and banks, all LIVED in the community they served. It made a difference.

And secondly, one of the oft-expressed opinions during the time we thought we were losing Isabel Bloom was this: "It's art. I am willing to pay more for art." As we consumers search for the very cheapest of anything--how many American jobs are we taking in the bargain?

The power of the people made a difference in the story of Isabel Bloom.

I'm asking you to make a difference by supporting me in this primary.

You can make a difference by speaking out. AND THAT'S WHY I'VE BEEN SPEAKING OUT FOR TWO AND A HALF YEARS. I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE--FOR US AND FOR OUR CHILDREN.

May God bless you today. See you down the Campaign Trail!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Moving Forward

February ushers in Black History Month, a dedication of the same month each year to keeping alive the rich tradition and history of the African-American culture. We all know how quickly generations can move on and forget.
We have just lost two of the giants of the struggle for civil rights: Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. And both of them women! It's my hope that they rest in the peace of having made a difference.

For the rest of us, a check with any of the fine colleges and universities in the 17th District will
yield all sorts of events going on for Black History Month--thought-provoking, instructional, fun!
From the Campaign Trail

February 4
brought the Mercer County Lincoln Day Dinner, under the able, enthusiastic and professional leadership of Head Elephant Bob Vickrey, Verla Thompson, Jeff Benson (Jeff, GREAT program book, worth all the work!), Mike Bertelsen, and many others.

Our Mercer County campaign coordinator for Zinga for Congress is Ron Moffitt.
This kicks off a series of dinners around the 17th at which I have the opportunity to update my campaign and ask humbly for the vote again.

The Mercer County gathering of party faithful delivers, every year, a remarkable balance of seriousness, devotion, and laughter. As honored Republican, Jeff Benson received a retired fire hydrant--and was thrilled! It was OF COURSE painted red, white and blue. A few years back, my husband and I were presented matching shorts for the Aledo Green Dragons.
You never know with the Mercer County Elephants! They'll keep you guessing and set a great pace year round for making sure Mercer County NEVER FORGETS!

Monday, it was back to McDonough County and a meeting of precinct committeemen and women in Macomb. They were planning THEIR Lincoln Day dinner, and it was good to see old friends from my growing-up days and make some new acquaintances. AND to get to carry that message of electability! I just believe in it so strongly myself, it's not difficult to share. Through years of news work in our area and nationwide I've acquired strong name recognition. I am a proven vote-getter, and I have a good grip on the issues of importance to our area because I'm a native of and have lived around the district throughout my life--not to mention touring the 17th pretty much non-stop with an eye to the issues since the fall of 2003.

Time to take the gold and purple (Hail to Western!) car on the road again, so let me just say that the campaign team has also this week been in Galesburg, Decatur, back to Galesburg, the Quad Cities and are now headed back south around the 17th for 3 days of events, meetings and one-on-ones. This is how a congressional representative should do it, folks. Be out there every possible second, meeting the people you serve and learning your district so thoroughly that something like the closing of Maytag doesn't come as a surprise.

Knox County holds their Lincoln Day dinner tonight with featured speaker Senator Bill Brady, one of a group of able candidates for governor. WE NEED A NEW ONE!

On that subject, why is it that our congressman can't help us hold jobs or make the 17th attractive to incoming business? Lane Evans and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich are of the same party, after all. In times like this, most congressional representatives whose state governor is of their party would be leaning heavily on that governor. "Rod--you're killing me here. How can I help attract business and industry to my district, if you are running the state in a way that's spiraling Illinois down to the BOTTOM of all states? HELP me make Illinois a place employers want to come!" In other words--asking tough questions, pursuing answers, being a strong voice for you the voters of the 17th.

Instead, what do we see? More photo ops at factory gates as more jobs leave town. A news conference this past summer at the first inkling of what BRAC planned to do to the Rock Island Arsenal--at which the governor and our U.S. senators all had nothing much to say beyond "Thank heaven for Lane Evans." Thank heaven for Lane Evans?

Our congressman had 8 years under a President of his own party and has served in Democrat-controlled Congresses. A total of twelve years.........WHAT'S HE BEEN DOING?

He did appear in Macomb recently to accept a check for $38.5 million. You more often see congressmen and women PRESENTING checks. So we checked that out, and found that what our congressman was doing with that blow-up check he was holding, was ceremonially accepting money for mortgages apportioned to central Illinois by the USDA. His personal involvement there was minimal to say the least!

MONDAY FEBRUARY 13: Fundraiser in Decatur at the home of Dan and Nedra Brintlinger.

That's followed immediately by a free public Listening Event at the Decatur Library from 7 to 9. If you are in the area, it's a chance to vent and know that SOMEone is listening--me.

God's guidance to you for a great weekend. I will see you soon!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Working Hard and Meeting People

Wednesday Feb. 1st

Many of the women of the Macomb Womans Club (which provides scholarships and plenty of good works) are ladies I knew, looked up to and emulated as I was growing up in town. Other members are young women who tell me that, wherever in the area they grew up, they "grew up watching" me. Sigh, but then--"to everything there is a season..."

That afternoon we walked the Macomb Square visiting with owners and employees of small businesses, hearing their stories and concerns. I stand alone in this race in having signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge (although it has been signed by the President and about half the members of Congress, including all the U.S. Representatives whose districts surround ours here in the 17th). As a fiscal conservative, I find it a natural: to pledge to do everything in my power to hold the line on marginal tax rates; and to oppose any cuts in tax deductions or credits unless matched dollar for dollar by other credits.

After a quick lunch at Cookie's Diner with our beguiling waitress Beth, we went into more
Grassroots Vote getting mode.

Then, we were off to Monmouth and the Warren County Republican Central Committee meeting there. Good to see old friends again, including our county coordinator, Bill Underwood (Warren County coroner) ...and party Chairman Jim Standard runs things on a tight, efficient schedule.

We all stayed the night with our Hancock County coordinator and his wife--Pastor Randy and Vickie White. Randy has been on a mission to make churches and their congregations aware of our campaign and I have watched in awe and heard the reports from the field. JUST GREAT. Thank you, Randy.

****************************
Thursday February 2nd

Breakfast in downtown Hamilton, complete with the yellow car (!) Check the campaign photo gallery for all the pictures. We then had a great reception when we went and visited more small business owners in Hamilton.

At 11:00 a.m. we all careened down the backroads to a long-awaited treat: lunch at the Dusty Farmer. If you haven't been there, you haven't eaten! Evelyn Rea and her team serve up meat loaf and other great entrees (couple of us had the stuffed peppers), handwhipped potatoes and gravy, harvard beets, homemade rolls, and desserts to die for (never from!). The Dusty Farmer is in Ferris Illinois, if you're wondering: look for it in a school building with a little green sign leaning up against the window, open 6 am till 2 pm: a rare opportunity mid-campaign to eat a GREAT meal, and then talk extensively with folks who come in to pull a chair up to Evelyn's table.

Back to work, if you can call it that: and you hardly could on a day as warm and sunny as this one was! Conversation with more small businesspeople, this time in Carthage, and a lot of VGM...led us to the Hancock County Extension Center at 4:30 pm for the "Season of Change" fundraiser put on for us by Ron and Patti Starr.

WOW! 65 people came to eat steamburgers and ALL the fixings as prepared (thank you ladies!) by some of the best of the "distaff side" in Hancock and Henderson Counties. Patti, in her first fundraiser, did everything right and the results showed. A special thank you for coming to State Representative Rich Myers, Hancock County States Attorney Jim Drotz, Hancock County Treasurer Kris Pilkington (having her own re-election fundraiser February 23 in Laharpe!) and the
County Board Chairman Mr. Dave. Also present were several members of the County Board.
We had some fun but we also did some serious talking about why Lane Evans is more vulnerable than ever this campaign (including a $185,000 fine to the FEC for fraudulently using campaign donations to win the 1998 and 2000 elections) and about the issues of such vital importance to the people of the 17th. It was just great and I thank each one there for coming and for supporting Andrea Zinga for Congress.

Drove to the Quad Cities.

***************
February 3rd
Friday--Campaign paperwork and catching up all day until 4:00. Time for VGM with South Rock Island 1 Precinct Committeeman Rick Neuswander and one of our best campaign buddies, Mark Archibald. After that, drove to Sterling to catch the Business Showcase.
I really never do tire of listening to the accounts of how people are out there working to realize their dreams; although I DO tire of all the regulation and taxation they face along the way. They tell me: "It's hard, and it's like everything you do is tougher than it needs to be." They aren't talking about the long hours or the sweat equity--they're proud of that, happy and excited to do it, to build something all their own. They mean the excessive government red tape, the endless fees....the sense that their government, be it state or federal, is trying to BLOCK them rather than helping facilitate their reach for the American Dream.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

From the Trail -- Week of January 30th

Monday, January 30

Met with the Republican Central Committee of Henry County at the Farm Bureau building in Cambridge.
WONDERFUL meeting--very ably conducted by Chairman Jan Weber. Two things impressed me: the spirited discussion of the political scene, and ways to impact it ("all politics is local"); and the friendly inclusiveness. But wait, make that THREE things: at their prior meeting, a straw poll gave me a unanimous vote for the nomination to Congress for the 17th District. I am encouraged and grateful that I continue to earn that confidence...

Tuesday January 31

We held a State of the Union get-together in Macomb to watch President Bush's speech.
Food and friends (among them Gretchen DeJaynes, running for McDonough County clerk and the WIU College Republicans, whose input and thoughts added much to the discussion).

I liked these comments from the President: "The State of the Union is strong" (because, you know, it is and we must never forget that)."We love our freedom and we will fight to keep it." No terrorist attacks on our soil SINCE 9/11...another vitally important point to remember. "Human life is a gift from our Creator." And, "A life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment." Words to live by.

We could talk here at length about his proposals for, as he put it, a decent, hopeful, compassionate people.

On the economic front, the President called again for making tax cuts permanent. Tax cuts are working: that's the bottom line. This is also central to my own message as I run for Congress and to represent you in the 17th. The bald truth is that Lane Evans has never been a friend of the middle-class taxpayer.

Wednesday February 1

Breakfast at Student Prince in Macomb.
Meet and greet--always a pleasure to hear what's on people's minds, and while I'm at it, congratulations to Jeanna Montgomery from Macomb--Richard Stevens from Monmouth--and Justin Ogle from Moline: all will be attending the National Special Olympics in Ames Iowa in July. We know they'll represent us well!

I do love visiting the District. It's as simple as that.

Went to the Old Dairy (which I remember as the Macomb Dairy, since I grew up here--our school took a field trip and I remember shiny stainless steel and impressive machines). Times change--now it's a lunch and coffee house, set upu for wireless Internet and dotted with people hunched over laptops.

But women I know began to walk in the door, here for the Macomb Women's Club meeting. And then, a young woman from up north, stopping by to ask directions to the hospital. She saw me and her eyes lighted up because, recognizing me from TV, she considered me the natural person of whom to ask directions to McDonough District Hospital. You know, no matter how many times that happens it's a good feeiling. Turned out her grandmother is from Rock Island and plans to vote for me.