THE LANDMARK VIEW
Well, the Illinois House and Senate have sent their proposal for redrawing the state’s U.S. congressional districts to Gov. Pat Quinn. And from the initial look of it, the redraw doesn’t do the Landmark area a whole lot of favors.
Say what you will about Congressman Dan Lipinski and the way he gained the office, Lipinski has been responsive to Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield – not to mention Brookfield Zoo.
Despite the fact that the three villages make up a small portion of his current district, Lipinski and his father before him didn’t forget about the area when it came to grant funding and other issues – such as the Canadian National Railway quiet zone – that needed someone with a little clout to do some heavy lifting.
With the new map, drawn by state Democrats to consolidate their power and weaken Republican opposition in swing districts, Lipinski’s district is being pushed southwest where his more conservative views, even as a Democrat, will be welcome to southwest suburban voters.
North Riverside, whose leaders in the past 20 years really cultivated a political relationship with the Lipinski family, loses his representation completely. Riverside, which supported Lipinski on a bipartisan basis, will lose him nearly as completely. The only remaining precinct of Riverside remaining in Lipinski’s district will be tiny Lyons Township Precinct 1.
Lipinski says he won’t forget about Riverside, but when you’re talking tens of voters versus thousands, Lipinski could be forgiven if the village slips off his radar a bit.
As for whom the villages will get for a new congressman: Most in Riverside and North Riverside would get Luis Gutierrez, a veteran and powerful congressman in his own right, but someone who has used the city of Chicago as his power base. Whether he will be responsive to suburban outposts like Riverside and North Riverside is completely unknown, but we can hope.
Village officials can also try to cultivate a relationship with their new congressman, and make sure he’s acquainted with the villages (Gutierrez would also pickup a portion of Brookfield and Brookfield Zoo) and the many things that could benefit from federal funding (like a First Avenue overpass, for example).
But we’d also invite Gutierrez to come to town and find out what they’re all about for himself. Don’t forget about us out here in the ‘burbs.
And one block of about two dozen homes in Brookfield welcomes Congressman Danny Davis. If you can find it, Mr. Davis, come for a visit. You can meet all of your Brookfield constituents in about 20 minutes.
We’re sure Brookfield can expect big things now that it’s a proud part of the 7th District.