Amanda Vinicky

Read Amanda's "The Players" blog.

Amanda Vinicky has covered Illinois politics and government for WUIS and the Illinois Public Radio network since 2006.  Highlights include reporting on the historic impeachment and removal from office of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, winning a national award for her coverage of Illinois' electric rate fight as a result of deregulation, and following Illinois' delegations to the Democratic and Republican national political conventions in '08 and '12.  

Though she's full-time with WUIS now, she previously interned with the station in graduate school; she graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program in '05.  She also holds degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. 

Amanda is insatiably curious, so please reach out to her and get in touch if you notice something interesting going on at the Capitol! She can be reached at (217) 206-6019 or (773) 217-0316. If she's not in the statehouse bureau, you can usually find Amanda tweeting, dining at a local restaurant, taking a jog around Springfield or Chicago or practicing yoga. 

Candidate websites

There wasn't supposed to be an election for a statewide constitutional officer this year.  But Democrats essentially forced one, following the sudden death of Republican Judy Baar Topinka after she'd won the 2014 election for comptroller, but before she'd been inaugurated. 

The race has been expensive and competitive, and it could show who's winning the war of public opinion between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Who knows what would have happened had Democrats held onto the governor's office in 2014?

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says it's "disappointing" two groups have withdrawn endorsements. He's trying to fight off a challenge from Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Kirk was a rare Republican to receive recommendations from the Human Rights Campaign, which supports gay rights, and a gun control group led by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords. 

Both pulled their endorsements after Kirk made a wisecrack minimizing the Duckworth family legacy of military service; many critics immediately condemned it as racist. 

Brian Mackey

The group Illinois Parents of Adults with Developmental Disabilities has published its first legislative report card.

Deb Hamilton cares for her 27-year old disabled daughter, who lives at home in the Chicago suburbs.

"I am hoping it will influence legislators' behavior, I'm hoping it will bring awareness to the specific cause itself, but also to create an awareness of what is really happening in Springfield," Hamilton said.

Illinois has taken steps to prevent 260,000 residents from losing government food assistance. That gives the state a year to prepare these individuals for the job market.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

About 260,000 low-income Illinois residents were in danger of losing food stamp privileges early next year.

But the administration of Governor Bruce Rauner has applied for a federal waiver to continue their access through 2017.

Diane Doherty, with the Illinois Hunger Coalition, says Illinois was one of 11 states eligible because it’s so hard to find a job.

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