Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Mount Carroll’s Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies

Did you know that in Mt. Carroll there is currently a school being put together to teach the art and science of historic preservation to everyone from interested amateurs to National Park Service professionals? Mount Carroll’’s Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies is even expected to draw students from other countries, acting as a global learning and teaching center for historic preservation.

Representative Boland and I both believe that historic preservation is vitally important to protect critical elements of our vast heritage, here in the melting pot that is America. Once lost, some historical artifacts can never be restored or replaced. Mike Boland was a history teacher for 30 years before being elected to office, so it's pretty obvious where his appreciation of history developed.

My family currently lives in, and are slowly restoring, a house built in 1929-1930, and our previous residence was built by German immigrants in the late 1800's. I also had the privilege to live for a year at Grand Canyon National Park (where I worked as a chef,) and I was an avid backpacker when my health was better. So, I have a great appreciation and respect for the National Park Service and their work, not only in protecting wild places but also in protecting historical sites and artifacts.

When Representative Boland and I learned about Mount Carroll’’s Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, we were very excited about the school's potential. It's truly a beautiful setting for teaching historic preservation. The Campbell Center is located on the historic campus of what was formerly Shimer College. The present 14-acre campus, with its quadrangle of Georgian Revival buildings, dates from the early 20th century. The buildings were designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge. Their Chicago office also designed the present Chicago Cultural Center and the main building of the Art Institute of Chicago. Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge also designed other college campuses, including that of Stanford University.

There was even a Huntoon, or two, who attended Shimer College in Mt. Carroll, if I remember my family history correctly. If you'd like, you can follow this link - Campbell Center - to learn more for yourself about what is happening today at Campbell Center from the source.

During a previous session of the Illinois General Assembly, Representative Boland secured a $100,000 grant to assist the Campbell Center. If I remember correctly, Senator Dick Durbin also helped to secure additional funding for the Campbell Center not long after the grant that Representative Boland presented. The news release from Boland's check presentation to Mount Carroll’s Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies follows.

Boland Presents Campbell Center Grant
Representative Delivers $100,000 in State Funding to Mt Carroll School

At a news conference and check presentation ceremony, State Representative Mike Boland presented a $100,000 ceremonial check to Mount Carroll’s Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies. This check represents state funding obtained by Boland to help provide for infrastructure improvements and rehabilitation at the Campbell Center, which is located in Mount Carroll on the former campus of Shimer College.

"I am very excited to be here today to award state funding in the amount of $100,000 to the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies," Boland stated. "It was a major undertaking to secure funding for any projects in this last year," he continued, "So it’s especially gratifying to have been able to deliver this grant despite ongoing state budget difficulties."

"As an educator who’s spent more than 30 years teaching history classes, I get great joy from being able to help the Campbell Center teach historical preservation," Boland said. "It’s wonderful to be a part of this effort which is focused on teaching the preservation the past as an educational tool for the future," he added. "I know from first hand experience, that giving folks a better understanding and appreciation of history will give them a lifetime of enrichment down the road," Boland continued.

The Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies offers continuing education to meet the training needs of individuals who work to preserve historic landscapes and cultural, historic, and artistic properties. The Campbell Center was founded in 1979 because many museums in the United States did not have adequately trained staff to properly care for historical artifacts. Located in Mount Carroll on the historic former campus of Shimer College, the actual campus is celebrating its 150th year of continuous use as an educational facility.

"I would also like to stress that the Campbell Center is not only an educational asset for those people working in the conservation and preservation fields," Boland stated. "It is also a valuable asset to the rural area of Carroll County," he added. "The restoration and rehabilitation of the exisiting Campbell Center campus, and the expansion of their educational programs, will have far-reaching, positive economic effects on the entire area," Boland concluded.


We Support the Arts @ Mike Boland's Office

Every year at Representative Boland's office, we have the pleasure of hosting Karla Kunzeman of the Illinois Arts Council. Karla's yearly visit is to announce state grants that support the arts within the district Mike represents. I will always remember and cherish the opportunity to coordinate the last several years worth of check presentations with Karla, who is the Legislative Liason for the Illinois Arts Council. The grants always go to very worthwhile causes, and Ms. Kunzemanla is a joy to work with.

Here's the press release from the most recent grant presentation.

Boland Presents Arts Council Grants
More Than $36,000 in Grants Awarded by Arts Council

At a check presentation ceremony, held in conjunction with the Illinois Arts Council, State Representative Mike Boland (D-East Moline) announced today that his district will receive more than $36,000 in Art Council grants for fiscal year 2006. Illinois Arts Council Legislative Liaison Karla Kunzeman joined Boland to award certificates and ceremonial checks to local grant recipients.

"We must always remember," Boland added, "The arts are important not only in giving meaning and value to peoples lives, these programs also provide an important economic benefit as well, contributing more than $1 billion annually to the Illinois economy." Boland cited the Mississippi Valley Blues Society’s annual Blues Festival, which attracts thousands of tourists to the region, as a local example of the economic impact the arts can have in our communities.

"So, I am very pleased to be here today to help award the 71st District’s Arts Council grants," Boland stated. "I would like to thank Karla Kunzeman and the Illinois Arts Council for their support of these programs which do so much to enrich our communities," he continued. "The economic return these programs provide to our region enrich the local economy in much the same way that the arts programs they support also enrich the social and educational opportunities of Western Illinois," Boland concluded.

Local Grant recipients include the Mississippi Valley Blues Society who will receive a general operating support grant of $17,760, and the Timber Lake Playhouse in Mount Carroll who will receive $18,370 for general operating support. Officials from the Mississippi Valley Blues Society were on hand at Boland’s office to accept a ceremonial oversized check that represents the $17,760 they will receive in general operating support from Illinois in the upcoming year.


Don't Take Boland for Granted - Letter from Grandma

Bobbi-Sue's Grandmother wrote the following letter to the editor on behalf of Representative Mike Boland. I don't know if it was mailed to the paper in time to be published before the election, but a copy did make it's way to my desk here at home, so I can share it with you.

Audrey Gregg, Bobbi-Sue's Grandmother, genuinely likes Representative Boland ,and has even gone so far as to join Representative Boland in the Colona Memorial Day Parade. Audrey was a W.A.C. back during the Second World War, and Bobbi-Sue's late Grandpa Cliff Gregg was with the Military Police.

People of the 71st District please do not take Rep Boland for granted. I do not live in Rep Boland’s district, so I can not vote to keep him in office, even though he is my favorite State Representative. I admit that Rep Boland is in the news a lot! He actually works hard to notify thegeneral public here in Illinois about the legislation being voted on in Springfield. That way I can voice my support or concerns about that certain legislation to MY House Representative. Otherwise the general public has no idea of the legislation being passed into law in Springfield until it has already passed. Rep Boland is actually working as Rep and lobbyist for the little guys. Rep Boland works to make sure that laws designed to protect children, seniors, veterans and the working folks are brought to OUR attention so that we can voice our opinions.
Audrey Gregg
Viola IL 61486

Monday, October 30, 2006


We Deliver $25,000 for Lynn Township Hall

I updated this news release slightly, to express gratitude for the wonderful hospitality shown by the great folks of Lynn Township! Bobbi-Sue and I attended the grand opening of the hall, so it was nice that one of us could be there for the check presentation.

Boland Presents $25,000 Grant to Lynn Township
Legislator Helps Fund Recently Completed Township Hall
At a news conference and check presentation ceremony, State Representative Mike Boland (D-East Moline) presented a $25,000 ceremonial check to Lynn Township to help fund the recently completed Township Hall. Supervisor Sheldon Larson, as well as Township Trustees and staff, were on hand to accept the check from Representative Boland.

"I am very proud to be here today to award state funding in the amount of $25,000 to Lynn Township," Boland stated. "I have a great appreciation for Township Government, it can be the government that is closest and most responsible to the people," he said. "I know that all the individuals here in Lynn Township work together to make a difference for the people you serve, and that you have fought hard to increase the services you provide without increasing the taxes you levy," Boland emphasized. "I want to personally acknowledge and reward that kind of service to the taxpayers," he added.

"I realize that investing in infrastructure, like helping with the Township Hall here in Lynn Center, or the Fire Station for Fulton, is not the most visible or flashiest way to use the funds I can grants as a State Representative," he continued. "However, I also know that by investing in our Villages and Townships, I can have the largest possible impact right here in our communities, and that’s an important part of making the government in Springfield work for us right here at home," Boland concluded.

"After attending the grand opening of the Township Hall a while back, it was really great to accompany Representative Boland to give this grant award today. It feels kind of like Christmas," Boland staffer Bobbi-Sue Huntoon was heard to say. It was such a special and historic event for Lynn Township, that Supervisor Sheldon Larson had the original architect for the project on hand to say a few words.


Boland Helps Fund Drilling of New Well for Port Byron

Here's the news release written to accompany the $100,000 check presentation Rep Mike Boland held in Port Byron earlier today.

Boland Presents $100,000 Grant to Port Byron
Legislator Funds Drilling of New Well for Village
At a news conference and check presentation ceremony, State Representative Mike Boland (D-East Moline) presented a $100,000 ceremonial check to the Village of Port Byron to help fund drilling and development of a new municipal well. Village President Mike Ferretti, as well as members of the Village Board and staff, were on hand to accept the check from Representative Boland.

"I am very excited to be here today to award state funding in the amount of $100,000 to the Village of Port Byron," Boland stated. "My office has been in close contact with Mayor Ferretti, as well as other elected officials from the Village, so I was well aware of the tremendous need for a new water source in Port Byron," he added. "Hopefully, this grant will go a long way towards helping end the chronic water problems suffered by the community," Boland said.

"Water is an absolute essential, so everyone in the community should get some benefit from this funding," Boland added. "I realize that investing in infrastructure, like helping with the well here in Port Byron, or the water storage tank I am helping to fund for Orion, is not the most visible or flashiest way to use the grants I can access as a State Representative," he continued. "However, I also know that by investing in infrastructure, I can have the largest possible impact in helping local government provide essential services, and that’s an important part of making the government work for people right here in our communities," Boland concluded.

Mike Boland will be announcing a total of $1 million in grants awarded to the 71st district in 2006, in addition to the more than $1 million in legislative initiative funding he has secured to benefit his constituents in previous years.


Fighting for Firefighters!

One of the ways we try to make a difference in people's everyday lives from Representative Boland's office is by providing support and assistance for firefighters. Mike Boland has been a true champion for firefighters, both in Springfield, and here at home.

All the way back in 1998, Mike Boland was given the "Legislator of the Year" award by the Firefighter’s Association. More recently Boland received the prestigious "Golden Helmet Award" from the Professional Firefighter’s Association. The Golden Helmet Award is the highest honor given to a civilian by Firefighters. Mike also was awarded the "White Helmet Award" by the Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, their highest civilian honor.

Mike has passed legislation protecting the jobs of volunteer firefighters if they are late or absent from work while responding to an emergency. He’s also passed legislation making it a crime to impersonate a firefighter. Not only has Boland passed legislation in Springfield to help Illinois Firefighters of all kinds, he’s also delivered a number of grants to fund desperately needed firefighting and lifesaving equipment for many of the fire protection districts in the area Boland represents.

I’m especially proud of our successes at Mike’s office this year on behalf of firemen. In Savanna we were able to secure a $25,000 for a new fire truck. We also recently awarded Fulton Fire Protection District with $100,000 for new construction. Later this week we will be announcing grants for both the Barstow Fire Protection District and the Carbon Cliff Fire District.

A few years back we were able to secure $90,000 for Albany to help purchase a new pumper truck. From Boland’s office we were also able to secure $40,000 for Erie Fire District to help with the construction of a new fire station. At the same time, $30,000 was allocated to the Henry County Emergency Services Center through Boland’s efforts, and Port Byron received $25,000 to help with thermal imaging equipment which allows firefighters to identify victims even if their vision is obstructed by heavy smoke. Another $20,000 went to Hampton Fire and Rescue district to help with a pumper truck, and $18,250 was awarded to the Moline Second Alarmers group to help with the cost of an air supply vehicle. Finally, $1750 was granted to Thomson for an auto-defribrillator.

Pictured above is Representative Boland presenting a $100,000 check to Fulton Fire District.


An Inspiration to me - Sheldon Larson

Pictured here with Representative Mike Boland, is one of my favorite individuals from the 71st district, Lynn Township Supervisor Sheldon Larson.

Sheldon is a family friend, I've known him for a number of years. But, it was only when I became more involved in public service, that I really realized how special Sheldon is, and how lucky the people of Lynn Township are to have him serving them.

Recently, Sheldon was honored for his service driving Veterans to visit their Doctors in Iowa City, something he's been doing for many many years. I also know Sheldon does some very special things to assist the people of Lynn Township. For years, Sheldon has arranged to collect surplus goods from local grocery stores to take back to help assure no one in Lynn Township will go without food.

Sheldon is a Republican, and I'm a Democrat, so I can't say we always agree on everything. But we do agree that making government work for people right here in our communities is the real meaning of "public service." Later today Representative Boland will recognize Lynn Township's (and Sheldon Larson's) commitment to public service by awarding Lynn Township a $25,000 grant to help pay off debt incurred in the building of the recently completed Lynn Township Hall.

Lynn Township has "held the line" on taxes, building their township hall and providing excellent quality services to the people they represent, without asking for tax increases in return. Regardless of other stresses of my job, it's really gratifying to help true public servants of the 71st District regardless of party affiliation. Sheldon Larson, the trustees and staff of Lynn township are making government work for people, and that's what it's all about!


Friend of Libraries

As a former school teacher, Mike Boland has a great respect for libraries. Mike even met his wife Mary in a library, and their daughter Susie Boland, teaches law library to aspiring law students at N.I.U. in DeKalb.

On Friday, Rep. Mike Boland presented a ceremonial check for $25,000 to Geneseo Librar. The state grant Boland secured will help fund new construction. Pictured above with Representative Boland is Brenda Fowler, who is the Director of Geneseo Library.

During my time serving the 71st with Mike Boland, we've been able to help a number of libraries with new construction and expansion. The York Township Public Library in Thomson benefitted from a $75,000 grant for expansion, and we secured a $100,000 grant for expansion of the Silvis Public Library. Moline Public Library also received a $100,000 construction grant courtesy of Mike Boland, and we are expecting to announce another grant to that library in the near future.

In almost all cases, libraries provide internet access to those who otherwise might not be able to travel the "information superhighway," and they continue to provide essential resources for people from all walks of life and age groups. At Mike Boland's office, we are proud of our efforts to help local libraries!

Friday, October 27, 2006


August & Sept '06 - School Supplies Drive

Earlier this year, we put together a nice little school supplies drive for students in Representative Boland's district. Many of the more urban schools in the Quad Cities region already benefit from other drives of this type, but we found there was a need in some of the smaller more rural school districts.

In the end, something around 15 boxes were collected, many of them heaping full with supplies for children in need. On top of that, Rep Boland personally purchased more than $150 of school supplies himself to add to the total. The school supplies drive was coordinated by Anne from Representative Boland’s District Legislative office.

The drive was supported by a number of local businesses and libraries who all were kind enough to allow us to place drop-off boxes at their location. Many thanks go out to all who helped, especially the individuals who supplied the donations, and the libraries and businesses who assisted.

Here, Representative Boland is pictured with Connie Boonstra, who is the Director of Morrison's public library.


Making a Difference- Parks In Morrison

Representative Mike Boland was in Morrison today to present a $50,000 grant to Morrison to help fund the development of an athletic complex. As you can see from the artist's rendition above, the plan is fairly ambitious. I wasn't along for the event this morning, but Bobbi-Sue was kind enough to bring back a picture or two for me.

If I remember correctly what Bobbi-Sue told me, this is Morrison Mayor Roger Drey pictured with Representative Boland getting a good look at what the completed project will look like. This is the second grant Boland has secured for parks in Morrison, and the third grant overall. In total, Boland has secured $150,000 for Morrison in grants from individual legislative initiative funding.


Kurt Dreger - Making a Difference

As I've mentioned more than once, this blog isn't just about Mike Boland, it's a little more personal than that for me. I've met a lot of wonderful people while working as Chief of Staff for Rep. Mike Boland, and I've made some wonderful friends.

One of the individuals who stands out from the crowd is Kurt Dreger. Kurt is the owner and operator of the Surf's Up Java Hut in Savanna, but he's much much more too. Kurt is a community activist, and those kind of folks are near and dear to my heart.

Kurt collected thousands of signatures on petitions asking the Governor to open Thomson Prison, and he's been tireless in his efforts pushing to get Thomson opened. Kurt's a strong voice for economic development, and he's also an advocate for building a skate / bike park in Savanna to give local youth more recreational opportunities.

Kurt's been doing this kind of citizen advocacy for years, and Kurt recently also decided to get more involved by running for elected office himself. In my eyes, Kurt Dreger would be a great asset to his community and region if elected. His combination of energy and enthusiasm, along with a quick mind and a "can do" attitude, really sets him apart as someone who can and will make a difference in peoples lives.

Thank you Kurt Dreger for your past and current service to the community, and best of luck to you in all your future endeavors. Kurt Dreger is pictured above with Rep. Mike Boland during a visit Mike made to the Surf's Up Java Hut back in August.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Gerald and Doris Bork - Serving Carroll County

One recurring theme visitors to this blog will notice, is that I return time and time again to the wonderful people I’ve had the chance to meet and become friends with because of my service to Rep. Mike Boland and the people of the 71st District.

Gerald and Doris Bork are a couple of the great folks I’ve had the good fortune to associate with during my time with Mike Boland. Gerry is the Democratic Carroll County Chairman, and Doris serves on Mt. Carroll City Council, as well as currently being a candidate for Carroll County Treasurer.

As I mentioned once before, they are hosting a fund-raising reception for Representative Boland this Saturday, October 28, 2006 from 4 until 7, at their home in Mt Carroll. The Borks are always terrific hosts, so this is one of the events I truly enjoy attending. Bobbi-Sue will likely shoot a couple of good pictures of the event for me to share here on Sunday. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

In the meantime, here’s a picture of Rep. Boland with Gerry and Doris outside of Savanna City Hall earlier this week. The Borks were kind enough to take a few minutes out of their day this Tuesday to attend the check presentation in Savanna. I hope Gerry and Doris realize how much Mike and I appreciate their continuing support!


Don't Forget to Visit the Archives

For those not familar with blogs, (I am admittedly fairly new to the medium myself,) I wanted to point out the feature that allows visitors to access everything I've posted to this site. The links to articles archived by month is in the lower left hand corner of this page, just below the links to other blogs and news media of interest.

For instance, clicking on this link - October 2006 Archive - will show everything I've posted during the first month of this blog's existence.

The picture for this post, the facade of the National Archives, comes from a US Government website.


$100,000 For Village of Orion's Water Storage and Streets

As I mentioned before, Representative Boland (and his staff) have worked hard to help find and secure grants for a pretty good number of worthwhile projects. One of our recent accomplishments was securing $100,000 for the Village of Orion. We were able to deliver a $50,000 grant to help with the replacement of Orion's groundwater storage tank, and a $50,000 grant for street resurfacing and repair.

Orion's groundwater storage tank was in great need of replacement, and street resurfacing was another priority for the Village Board, so those projects were among our top priorities at Mike's office. Yesterday, Representative Boland travelled to Orion to official announce the approval of our grant requests on Orion's behalf. Pictured above is Representative Boland presenting Orion VIllage President James Cooper and a variety of other city staff and officials with an oversized ceremonial check for $100,000.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Orion Veteran's Memorial Site

The offocial unvieling of the Orion Veteran's memorial is upcoming this November, and Representative Boland is scheduled to speak then. But Bobbi-Sue managed to get a preview of the memorial bricks Mike Boland purchased and dedicated in memory of his brothers who were both Veterans.

Here are the bricks honoring Dennis Boland and Tom Boland for their service to our country.


Grants to Fund Important Local Projects

One of the more gratifying aspects of working for a legislator is the ability to help find financial assistance for worthwhile local projects. From Mike Boland's office, we've been able to find a number of grants to assist a number of local governments and non-profit agencies.

Just yesterday I was speaking with a local elected official who was requesting assistance in purchasing land and developing a boat ramp and park on the Mississippi River. I explained to him that in Illinois state government, there are a couple of usual avenues to funding. Most of the grant funding in Illinois is distributed through competitive grants from Executive Branch Agencies like the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity or Department of Natural Resources. In cases where a non-profit or local government unit applies for state grants of this sort, our office can assist by providing letters of support for grant applications. We also can phone the agency once the application has arrived in Springfield, to check the progress of the application in the grant making process, and to highlight the Representative's support for critical projects.

There are also times when there can be a small amount of funding available through the direct intervention of the State Representative. This program, called "Individual Legislative Initiative" grants by some, isn't always available. In years where this grant money can be found, it gives Representative Boland the ability to directly obtain and deliver grants to local governments. Representative Boland secured $1 million in individual legislative initiative funding for the 71st district this year, and we are going to be busy the next week handing out a number of large ceremonial checks to local officials who's grant requests were approved.

Outside of State of Illinois grant programs, there are also often private and corporate funds or endowments that can be helpful. These are usually more likely to be available to non-profit groups, and they are usually competitive. Our office can provide letters of support to non-profit groups to help assist grant applications of this sort.

Pictured above is Representative Mike Boland with Savanna Mayor Bill Lease. Bill is a great guy and I believe the citizens of Savanna are quite lucky to have a Mayor with his energy and abilities. Mayor Lease and his City Council helped to identify three projects of local importance, and Mike Boland was able to find $100,000 to assist. Through the combined efforts of Mayor Lease, the Savanna City Council, and Representative Mike Boland, we were able to find $25,000 to assist with the building of a new Mississippi River boat ramp in Savanna, $25,000 for a new Fire Truck for Savanna Fire Protection District, and $50,000 to help improve community infrastructure with much needed sidewalk repair and replacement.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I Love a Parade . . .

One good way to meet your State Representative (and many other elected officials) in person is to show up at a parade. Before I began working in politics, I rarely even attended a parade as an observer.

Now, I've walked in hundreds of parades, averaging something around twenty parades per year for the last several years. The season starts in March with the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Rock Island. Other highlights include Dutch Days in Fulton, Memorial Day parades in Colona and Erie, Father's Day parade in Geneseo, 4th of July parades in East Moline and Mt. Carroll, and the Labor Day Parade (and Labor Picnic) in East Moline.

Some of the very best folks from the 71st district that I've had the good fortune to meet and call friends are pictured with this post. Pictured sitting in a van with a "Boland for Illinois" sign, are Will and Bill Freres, Amber and John Smith are shown standing. It's always a pleasure to share the company of real and genuine folks like the Smith family and the Freres family.


Mission Statement

My blog was meant to be a place where folks can drop in to check on the activities of their State Rep, and as a sort of virtual record of my own service to the people of the 71st district in association with Representative Boland.

Some folks have misunderstood the title and by-line to a small extent. The tagline "The on-going story of a public servant working to make a difference in people's lives . . ." actually was meant as a reference to me, rather than to Boland. I don't mind if folks think it was a reference to Mike, but the final intent for the blog is a little more personal for me than perhaps people have understood. In fact the title, "Serving the 71st with Mike Boland" was also meant to refer to me.

Yes, I did start this blog at an opportune time for Mike’s campaign, it happened that way because I’ve only become really interested in blogging myself in the last year. I never took on creating a campaign website for Mike Boland because I didn’t feel I had the time or energy to maintain it in my spare time. The blog medium seems to be more personal that a sterile web page simply advertising a candidate, hence it's appeal to me personally.

For sure I’m going to be writing about Mike Boland as a legislator, but I also am including information about the staff, interns and volunteers that serves the people of the 71st district, and where appropriate, about the people of the 71st district themselves. Working for a legislator has allowed me to help people in ways I never could have imagined, and this blog is meant to record of some of those accomplishments. I’ve met a number of interesting and wonderful folks through the years I’ve been working with Mike Boland, and over time I hope to make my blog about them too!

Monday, October 23, 2006


Mike Boland's Staff - We Are Here to Serve!

The office manager and primary caseworker at Representative Boland's office is Bobbi-Sue Huntoon. Like the old "I bought the company" commercial, she's so talented and beautiful that I married her!

Bobbi-Sue was the City Clerk of East Moline from 1999-2001, and prior to coming to work for Boland, she was the Fitness and Activity Director for the YWCA in Rock Island. Because Bobbi-Sue taught aqua exercise classes and arthritis foundation classes in the warm pool, we get the occasional lady into Mike's office who Bobbi-Sue remembers from the YWCA. Because they almost always saw her in a swimsuit, if does lead to the occasional funny comment like - "Oh honey, I didn't recognize you with clothes on!"

Bobbi-Sue is usually the first face folks see when they come to Representative Boland's district office at 4416 River Drive in Moline. She's almost always got a smile and a friendly word for folks visiting, and she is great at filling out Circuit Breaker forms and other documents needed to make government work for regular folks.

Come on down to Mike's office and see what we can do to help you!


Helping the Families of Fighting Men and Women

At Mike Boland’s office, one of our primary goals is to make a difference in the lives of the people we represent. One piece of legislation Representative Boland passed has not only made a difference for the families of fighting men and women in Illinois, it has also served as a model for other states. I am talking about a bill Mike Boland sponsored and passed from the Illinois House, and into law, called the “Military Family Relief Fund Act”.

This legislation created a voluntary income tax check-off in Illinois, with all funds dedicated to helping families of fighting men and women from Illinois. The Military Family Relief Fund assists the families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists called to active duty, with rent, car payments, and utility bills. As of 2005 it had distributed more than $2.4 million to 4,300 Illinois military families.

In 2004 when this legislation passed, it joined several other voluntary donation check-offs already on the State of Illinois individual income tax form: wildlife preservation, child abuse prevention, Alzheimer’s research, homeless assistance, breast cancer research, prostate cancer research, and the World War II Memorial fund. The Military Family Relief Fund Act has served as a model for similar legislation in California and other states who wished to help active service men and women.

Mike Boland is pictured here with Lt. Governor Pat Quinn. Lt. Governor Quinn worked tirelesslyfor the passage of Military Family Relief Fund Act.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Making a Difference - Constituent Services @ Mike Boland's Office

One thing we take pride in at Representative Mike Boland's office is the quality of the constituent services we work to provide the people we serve. One thing even Scott Reeder couldn't even fault with, is the quality of the services we offer, and I was really thrilled to see comments from Minnie Anderson and Jane Young in today's newspaper praising the work we've done for them.

We fill out many hundreds of Circuit Breaker applications every year at Boland's office. We also provide a great number of other services to senior citizens, disabled individuals, and to regular folks who need a hand navigating modern government.

Pictured above is Mike Boland with members of a group working to bring a Mississippi River Ferry to Mercer County. I can't remember everyone's name, but Representative Boland is on the far right, and the gentleman second from the left, with the hat and bib overalls, is Larry McHenry.

Larry is a wonderful guy and a very effective citizen activist, who has worked tirelessly to make the dream of a Mercer County Ferry into a reality. Larry knew that Mike Boland didn't directly represent Mercer County, but he also knew that in order to have any hope for this project, he'd need the assistance of the entire legislative delegation from the Quad Cities area.

We really do our best to work with groups and coalitions of all kinds, to help the people of Illinois regardless of artificially drawn lines on a map, lines that change from one decade to the next anyway. I know my wife Bobbi-Sue and I actually dislike a lot of the baggage that goes along with politics. For instance, I am still learning to try and find the humor in people dressed in chicken costumes dancing across from our office.

But at the end of almost every day, we feel like we’ve made a real difference in someone’s life. Mike Boland believes very strongly in making government work for people, and his attitude and leadership show through in the services we provide at his office.


Listen to Mike Boland speak

The more I've been exposed to the blogging community and blogs as a means of expression and citizen reporting, the more impressed I get.

A while back I was given a link to a page from the 2005 NFBI Convention - NFBI - where a blogger has captured a speech Mike Boland gave at that gathering. Clicking on the 009_StateRep.mp3 link should play the speech for you.

As I said before, I grow more and more impressed daily with the ability of blogs to record news and events and make them available for public consumption.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Mike Boland's Campaign Office

Mike Boland's campaign office is on 15th Avenue in East Moline, down where Tony's Key and Hobby was once located. The office has been very active lately, full of volunteers, and people stopping for yard signs and more information about Boland's campaign.

The campaign office can be reached by calling 309/755-6769.

Pictured is one of our campaign workers, Anne.

Anne is a great young lady with a bright future ahead of her. She and the rest of the campaign staff have really been working their tails off for Boland, and I hope they know how much I appreciate their efforts on Mike's behalf!

I'm getting too old and infirm for 18 hour days like these folks have been working, being staff for a campaign really is a young person's game for a reason! I hope they know I am with them in spirit, even when I can't quite get my body to cooperate.



An Advocate for Children - Mike Boland

Because of Mike Boland's 30 year background as a school teacher, he's been a strong advocate for education and for the children of his district.

My wife Bobbi-Sue recently traveled with Representative Boland to Peoria for a statewide meeting of the Children's Advocacy Centers. I know she took a few pics and wrote a news release, because Rep Boland was presented a very prestigious award. I'm going to encourage her to write up a short account of the day for the blog, and hope to post that here in the next day or two.

Here is a picture of Representative Boland with Sue Swisher, who is the Executive Director of our local Child Abuse Council. This last year, the Child Abuse Council in Moline, was recognized as a regional leader and was awarded the Voices for Illinois Children’s 2005 Kids Count Award!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


An Original Founder of C.U.B. - Mike Boland

Long before Rep Boland was ever elected to office, he was one of the grassroots activists who fought for and brought into existence the Citizen's Utility Board, often abbreviated as C.U.B. If my memory is correct, Boland also served on the C.U.B. Board of Directors, including two terms as the C.U.B. Vice- President.

The C.U.B. charter doesn't allow elected officials to remain on it's board, but Mike Boland remains an active supporter of, and a leading voice for, the Citizen's Utility Board. I believe this picture is from a "birthday celebration" for C.U.B., if my memory is correct, it was the 20th anniversary of C.U.B. being formed.

Here's a little blurb about C.U.B. and it's mission, quoted directly from their own website. C.U.B. Website

When the Illinois General Assembly created CUB in 1983, it gave the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization a clear mission: to represent the interests of residential utility customers across the state. The statute directs CUB to carry out that mission by intervening in ratemaking proceedings before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), in the courts and before other public bodies and by providing consumers with information and assistance regarding their utility companies. Since its inception in 1984, CUB has been doing just that—working for lower rates and better service from the state’s investor-owned electric, gas and telephone companies. Over the last 22 years, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by blocking rate hikes and winning consumer refunds.


Contacting Us @ Rep. Mike Boland’s State Office

Representative Boland’s District Legislative Office can be contacted by a variety of means.

For constituent services or to discuss legislation, Mike Boland’s mailing address is:
Rep. Mike Boland
4416 River Drive
Moline, IL 61265

The phone number at Mike’s office is - 309/736-3360.
Boland can be reached by FAX at - 309/736-3478.

To reach Representative Boland’s local state office via e-mail, the address is ILREPMikeBoland@aol.com

Mike Boland’s local office is normally open from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday thru Friday. We are generally closed on weekends and state holidays, but we are always willing to schedule appointments outside of normal office hours if needed. All of Representative Boland’s constituents are invited to visit us, we fill out Circuit Breaker applications for the disabled and elderly, and provide for a variety of other assistance as well.

Representative Boland also has a state office in Springfield.. We generally prefer to have all mail and calls directed to Mike Boland’s District Office in Moline. Our Springfield secretary is a great lady, but there’s only one of her, and she’s responsible for more than one Representative. However there could be times during legislative session when communication with our Springfield office is needed and necessary.
Rep. Mike Boland
243-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3992
(217) 782-5201 FAX
ILREPMikeBoland@aol.com remains the preferred contact for e-mail even when Rep, Boland is in session.

When I first went to work for Mike Boland, we talked at length about his philosophy of what a state legislative office could accomplish. I already had some ideas of my own, and what I heard from Representative Boland fit in well with my own feelings about public service.

My background is in consumer activism. My career in politics began with I.P.A.C. (Illinois Public Action Council), where we were fortunate enough to have Congressman Lane Evans on our Board of Directors. In fact, the Citizen Action office I ran was next door to Congressman Evans’ old campaign office on 18th street in Rock Island, and that was no coincidence. Because of the association with Congressman Evans, I was able to learn a fair bit about the constituent services Lane’s office provided, and I knew that could serve as a model for the kind of services we could offer for Representative Boland.

Mike Botlo was Rep. Boland’s office manager when I signed on as an employee. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how very much I appreciate all he taught me about the nuances of running a State Legislative Office. Mike Botlo had previous experience in the office of Rep. Pennie von Bergen Wessels, so he really knew what he was doing. Botlo escaped the grind of fighting for his job every two years, and last I heard was still serving the people of our area in a slightly different capacity, working at the local Secretary of State’s office.

I’ve been with Representative Boland since 1997, and my wife Bobbi-Sue joined the Boland team in 1998. Bobbi-Sue is Representative Boland’s Office Manager, a role she stepped into as Mike Botlo moved on. Bobbi-Sue also was a consumer activist with Illinois Public Action and Citizen Action, but her job experience is actually quite varied for a lady who’s still well under 40 years of age.

Bobbi-Sue was a long term employee of the YWCA in Rock Island, where she worked a variety of jobs. She started as a lifeguard, and helped in their child care center for a while. She was promoted first to Pool Director, and then later to what was essentially a Program Director’s job, in charge of coordinating all Pool, Weight Room, Gym, and other assorted athletic programs.

Not long after being named office manager for Boland, Bobbi-Sue was elected East Moline City Clerk. She served in that position for two years, keeping notes for all City Council and Committee of the Whole meetings, as well as serving on a variety of other municipal boards and committees.
Bobbi-Sue and I are usually assisted by a variety of volunteers and interns, but I’d like to save those introductions for another time. Please feel free to contact any of us at Mike Boland’s office, we are here to serve the people of the 71st.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Third Annual Carroll County Reception

I am pleased to announce the next Mike Boland fundraising event.

WHAT - Third Annual Carroll County Reception - Spaghetti Supper
WHEN - Saturday Oct 28, 2006
WHERE - the Home of Gerald and Doris Bork
ADDRESS - 1 Mill Drive, Mt. Carroll Illinois
Suggested donation is $15 for individuals and $25 for couples.

I've got to say up front that I really like Gerry and Doris Bork, they are great individuals that I am proud to call friends. Gerry Bork is the Carroll County Chairman for the Democratic Party, and is a former candidate for State Representative. Gerry ran a very strong race in the district that neighbors the 71st to the north. If I remember correctly, that's the 89th legislative district, and it's currently represented by Republican Jim Scacia.

Doris Bork is a delightful lady and a great hostess. Doris is politically active also, she is a member of the Mount Carroll City Council and is a candidate for Carroll County Treasurer. I know Doris has been working really hard walking in Carroll County talking to voters, so I think she's going to do very well. I think the taxpayers of Carroll County will win when Doris wins this November.

I'm still searching thru the archives here at "Casa Huntoon" to see if I can find a nice picture of Gerry and Doris Bork, until I find a good pic of them, I've posted an image from one of the Carroll County Parades we marched in for Representative Boland this last summer.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Recent Event at Evelyn and Burt Phillips - Mike Boland's 4th Annual Henry County Cookout

Back on Saturday, September 23rd we held Mike Boland's 4th Annual Henry County Cookout at the home of Evelyn and Burt Phillips. Evelyn and Burt are always wonderful and gracious hosts, and Burt's pork chop sandwiches are very tasty (I think I ate at least 3!).

Burt and Evelyn's home is beautiful, and the rural property it's located on is like a picture postcard of where I'd wish to retire! Burt has a stocked pond, with "pet" catfish he feeds regularly, although he does allow fishing for this event (no minnows!).

Our dog Sadie enjoyed chasing some of Burt's chickens (egged on by John Green!) and generally going "dog wild" for the event, which is always one of my personal favorites. The weather threatened all afternoon which probably held down turn-out a little, but it only sprinkled a bit, so the weather was overcast but actually quite nice.

The picture associated with this post was taken by my wife Bobbi-Sue (© Huntoon - 2006), who is an excellent photographer, and who is one of the great joys of my life! It features Representative Boland with a trio of members from S.E.I.U. (Service Employees International Union) who braved the weather to attend. I think they enjoyed the afternoon too.


Today's Readers are Tomorrow's Leaders

One of the great things about working with a State Representative, is the ability to participate and help in a number of wonderful community activities. Recently Representative Boland was contacted by the Prairie Area Library System to take part in a literacy promotion. The resulting poster, featuring the slogan -Today's Readers are Tomorrow's Leaders - is pictured here.

P.A.L.S. is a link to the Prairie Area Library System website. They serve a great number of local libraries and school libraries. It was truly a pleasure working with them putting together this poster promoting literacy and libraries.


Visit Rep. Boland's General Assembly Page

Click on the following link - Boland's General Assembly Page - and you will be able to access Representative Boland's official web page as a member of the Illinois General Assembly. On that web page, you will find some brief biographical information about Representative Boland.

Boland Bills - Primary Sponsor - links into a list of current legislation personally sponsored by Mike Boland. In "legislative speak", he is the Primary Sponsor of all bills on that list, this often means the bills were drafted at his request. In the case of bills originating in the Senate, as the Primary Sponsor Boland would have been the lead Representative in passing the legislation through the Illinois House after it's approval by the Senate.

All Boland Sponsored Bills is a more comprehensive listing of bills Mike Boland has sponsored in the current legislative session. In addition to including all legislation Boland personally sponsored, this listing includes bills where Mike is the co-sponsor.

Boland's House Committees is a listing of the committees Representative Boland currently serves on.

Illinois General Assembly Site is the main page for the Illinois General Assembly, a very useful research tool for those interested in our state legislature.


Meet Your Host - Mike Huntoon - Chief of Staff for Mike Boland

I suppose I should tell you a bit about myself. I’m really a guy that prefers to shy away from the spotlight, so I’d rather do my work quietly in the background than be the one up speaking on a stage. I’m most comfortable with regular working folks, and the favorite part of my job is helping the individuals who come into Rep. Boland’s office needing help.

Way back in 1989 I began my "career" in government and politics, starting as a door-to-door canvasser for Illinois Public Action Council (often known simply as IPAC.) Within weeks of joining the organization I was promoted to a trainer position, and then to field manager. By 1990 I was promoted to Regional Canvass Director, and I ran offices for Illinois Public Action and Citizen Action in the Quad Cities, and in the Belleville area near St. Louis.

I met Mike Boland fairly early on in my career, because Mike was a local Quad Cities activist. Boland was one of the original founders of the Citizen Utility Board (often called C.U.B.) In 1994 Mike Boland was first elected to the General Assembly, and he was one of the few legislators willing to come to my Citizen Action office and tell my activists how things were really happening in Springfield. I developed a lot of respect for Mike, and a good working relationship evolved over the next few years.

I left Citizen Action in 1997 and went to work as a Legislative Aid in Mike Boland’s district legislative office. In 1998, Boland named me his Chief of Staff, and I have worked with Mike Boland ever since. I’ve met a lot of wonderful individuals while serving the people of the 71st district with Mike Boland, and I am very thankful for the friendships I’ve made through the years.

Just as many of Representative Boland’s former students were inspired to go on to forge their own careers in public service, many of the interns and associates I’ve worked with over the years in Mike’s office have gone on to much greater things. I hope that many of these young individuals continue in the field of public service, I’d rest a lot better in my old age knowing such quality individuals were in Government.


Meet State Representative Mike Boland - Educator / Legislator

In case you haven't met Mike Boland, I'll try to give you a virtual introduction.

As a former school teacher, Mike Boland brings a unique perspective to the State Legislature. Mike taught Middle School History for 30 years before being elected to office, so he knows education from a teacher's perspective.
Through the years, Mike Boland has taught hundreds (if not thousands) of students about Government, something he continues to do still today. Rep Boland is a regular guest speaker at schools in his district, in fact Mike will be speaking to Joan Eastlund's class at Blackhawk College this upcoming week. Hopefully I'll be able to share a photo or two from that visit once it's happened.

Mike's wife Mary was also a School Librarian for the Geneseo School System, and their daughter Susan Boland carries on the education tradition on for the family. Susan teaches Law Library at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Mike's son-in-law, Kevin Stuckwisch, also is a teacher and athletics coach for U.T.H.S in East Moline.


Serving the 71st with Mike Boland

Welcome to "Serving the 71st with Mike Boland".

My name is Mike Huntoon, I work in Representative Boland's District Legislative Office as his Chief of Staff, and I'll be the "virtual host" for this blog. My staff and I endeavor very hard to bring real meaning to the words "public service", and we are quite proud of the wide range of services we provide for Representative Boland's constituents.

I've created this blog as yet another form of outreach to the community we live in and serve. Not only can we document some of the good we are able to accomplish, but perhaps we can also use this forum/medium as a form of outreach, to inform people of the services we provide from Mike Boland's office.

I welcome constructive comments and suggestions, and even constructive criticism, however I will not allow this blog to become an overtly politicized place where discussions are about personal feuds or even political feuds. The 71st District of Illinois is a wonderfully diverse place full of interesting and inspiring individuals, so I believe there's plenty of positives to discuss.

I hope you feel welcome to join me here again, to live and learn with me, as I go about "Serving the 71st with Mike Boland".

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