From the Halvorson Campaign

The question not being asked is who does Ozinga think should control an airport in Will County? Elk Grove Village and Governor Rod Blagojevich or Will County elected officials? Does Ozinga think the Weller bill that required federal procurement rules and Will County control was a bad idea? Or does he think that Elk Grove Village should control the relationship with the private companies developing an airport in Will County?

If he doesn’t like the Will County plan, does Ozinga want to defer to ALNAC?

Independent Fighter Debbie Halvorson Puts Local Interests Before Chicago Style Politics

Joliet, IL –On Wednesday, Congressional Candidate and State Senator Debbie Halvorson issued the following statement:

“I am an independent fighter for the people I represent and I won’t let Chicago politicians tell us what to do in the 11th Congressional District.

“I sponsored the Will County Airport Authority bill on behalf of Will County Labor, Business and Government. This bill has bipartisan support from the legislators in Will County because this third airport bill is about local control and not handing over an airport in Will County over to bigwigs from Chicago. Our plan gives one appointment to the Governor, and ALNAC’s plan ultimately gives five.

“This issue is too important for petty politics, and shame on anyone for suggesting ties to convicted felon Rezko–someone whom I have never even met.”

3 thoughts on “From the Halvorson Campaign

  1. Halvorson’s “Special Interest” Airport Bill
    By State Rep. David Miller

    Now that the third airport debate has resurfaced, it’s important to put the latest “special interest airport bill” sponsored by State Senator Debbie Halvorson (Senate Bill 2063) into context. I am well situated to place it in this context because I sought an opinion from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to determine the correct path for building a new airport. A similar request was made of the Attorney General by Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

    Several Illinois laws – including the Municipal Code, Aeronautics Act, Joint Airports Act, Intergovernmental Cooperation Act and the Illinois State Constitution – all authorize the construction of airports in Illinois.
    O’Hare, Midway, Joliet, Lansing, Rockford – all were built under these statutes, as were virtually every commercial airfield in Illinois for a century, including several airports in Will County.

    But SB 2063 proposed a new “special interest” airport law. It would allow “private actors” appointed by politicians to serve as commissioners to oversee the construction, development and management of the Abraham Lincoln National Airport. More specifically, this new law would have prohibited elected officials (read: accountable) from running an airport, but require private citizens (read: unaccountable political contributors and influence peddlers) to do so.

    That model – infamously employed by the Teachers Retirement Fund and the Illinois Healthcare Facilities Planning Board – is what landed Antoin “Tony” Rezko in prison.
    Cynics might suggest that contributors be barred from serving on an airport board, but there is another problem with unaccountable “private citizens”, “appointed” to run an airport. We simply cannot ignore the history of Illinois politics – “don’t send noboby who nobody sent.” In short, the Halvorson Bill, SB 2063, would bring the “Chicago patronage way” to the south suburban airport, by allowing certain politicians, in state and county government to make appointments of “private actors” to the airport board.

    That would sound the death knell for the airport because it would discourage the only means for paying for the airport. The federal government doesn’t build airports, the State of Illinois can’t afford to build an airport, and no private developer will invest in a facility run by unaccountable actors.

    SB 2063 was noteworthy for another reason: integrity. ALNAC governments devised a plan, and identified the means of financing the construction of the facility. ALNAC then organized itself to secure the plan and the financing consistent with Illinois law. Since public financing is not available for the construction of the airport, Halvorson’s legislation essentially tells the private sector to take it or leave it. Do business the way we do business or not at all. If you want to do business in Will County you need to “court” a commission of “private actors.” This is the model that is making our state unfriendly to business.

    SB 2063 was suspiciously noteworthy for another reason: transparency. It passed without fanfare or publicity by its sponsor, the Majority Leader of the State Senate. It’s almost unimaginable that legislation effecting one the most contentious issues facing the south suburbs in 30 years managed to “slip through” the Illinois Senate without public notice. (Fortunately, the bill died in the Illinois House.) Lastly, on the same date of its passage in the Illinois Senate, after having learned of his newly gained status (5 appointments to the airport board), Will County Executive and former Senator Larry Walsh was so ecstatic that he celebrated and was arrested later that same evening for driving under the influence according to The Joliet Herald News.

    The makeup of the new airport board is very important to the prospect of this airport. ALNAC’s plan is designed to protect not only the future of our region, but future airport commissioners from doing something wrong. And it’s a model that is free from Chicago style politics and insider deals.

    ALNAC’s participating governments have studied airports. ALNAC has been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The SouthtownStar, The Defender, The Hammond Times, The Kankakee Daily Journal and more. They have participated in public debates and conceived a model that minimizes risk. They have entered into intergovernmental agreements of common and shared purpose to create 15,000 jobs during an economic slowdown. They have secured $300 million in private sector commitments. And they have eliminated bogus “finders fees”, “unnecessary consultants” and hidden patronage.

    ALNAC’s private developers partner, meanwhile, who have built airports around the world, have said repeatedly that they have no tolerance for Chicago-style graft and corruption.

    If Will County truly wanted to build an airport, not only would they join ALNAC’s lead, which is legal and tested, they would have followed the existing statutes that built dozens of airports in our state, which ALNAC did and Attorney General Lisa Madigan confirmed. But they did not. Instead, they sought to circumvent existing statutes and create “special interest legislation” that does not serve the state or the interest of the people.

    Halvorson tries to defend her opposition to ALNAC (actually, Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr.) by saying “I won’t let Chicago politicians tell us what to do.” Yet, she admits to meeting with Mayor Daley on airport financing; asking Congressman Rahm Emanuel for strategic advice; seeking Gov. Blagojevich’s legislative support; and serving as Emil Jones’ majority leader.

    In short, Senator Halvorson relies on the Chicago machine for just about everything, yet attempts to bad mouth Congressman Jackson as a “bigwig from Chicago.”
    Halvorson says it’s about “local control.” ALNAC is run by University Park, a Will County home-rule community that borders the airport footprint, and is legally constituted under existing statutes. Someone should tell Halvorson that there is a difference between local control and Rezko control.

  2. Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission
    “Building Chicagoland’s Third Airport”

    Hon. Al McCowan, Chairman
    Hon. John Ostenburg, Vice Chairman

    If all the demands for “local control” of the new airport weren’t so stubbornly uninformed, they’d be comical.

    State Sen. Debbie Halvorson and Congressman Jerry Weller sound like broken records when they repeat their only concern about the airport is “local control, local control, local control.”

    Guess what? The Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission is locally controlled.

    I am the chairman of ALNAC. I am also the mayor of University Park, a Will County community. I live in Will County. And I pay Will County taxes.

    ALNAC’s vice chairman is John Ostenburg. He is mayor of Park Forest, another Will County community.

    We formed ALNAC four years ago under the same state laws used by virtually every other airport commission in Illinois. In short, we didn’t seek special treatment in Springfield.

    More importantly, we designed a world-class airport (which IDOT adopted) and secured $300 million in private funds to pay for it, so Will County taxpayers won’t foot the bill.

    Finally, we opened ALNAC to all Will County mayors of home-rule municipalities, in accordance to state law and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s guidance.

    Park Forest and University Park border the airport. Our communities want an airport, but one that is friendly to the local environment. That’s why ALNAC is run by local elected officials, who are accountable to local voters, sensitive to local needs – and committed to creating 15,000 local jobs during the worst economy in a generation.

    Frankly, I cannot think of an airport with more ”local control.”

    But if anyone can prove that University Park is not in Will County, let me know. Then our residents can stop paying Will County taxes.

    Al McCowan
    Mayor of University Park and Chairman of ALNAC

  3. Let’s revisit what former transportation secretary Tim Martin said, “If there are no airlines, there will be no airport.” That was also said by government leaders as far back as the beginning of the project – 1985 – when it was stated by the late State Sen. Aldo DeAngelis. Between those two eras, former Gov. Jim Edgar was sent a letter by 16 major airlines stating that they would not support Peotone.

    And let us revisit the positions of 3 of the 5 towns and numerous townships and organizations that would surround the proposed airport that have long opposed the construction of an airport in eastern Will County.

    And of course, let us revisit the statement by Jesse Jackson, Jr. on the floor of the Congress, when asking for $231,000 in earmarks for ALNAC to study the benefits of an airport, that it would benefit one of the poorest communities in the country — Ford Heights. Jackson stated, Ford Heights abuts Peotone. WRONG!

    So much of what has been said about and written about the Peotone airport proposal has been WRONG. Check out blog entries at It contains articles about the airport that have been published in the local paper — articles that are exclusive to the Peotone and this blog.

    I still remember as a high school student in 1966 being told about job opportunities at this airport. It is time this charade was put to rest. There is no airport and should never be an airport and will never be an airport. It has been nearly 50 years. Shut the hell up already!

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