Bob Anderson (no relation) of Wonder Lake is on a mission. He wants Illinois to get rid of township government. He’s also a regular newspaper reader and has written dozens of letters to the editor about township government.
Earlier this year, Bob met me at my office to talk about his favorite topic. He arrived with a packet of documents and a large poster outlining his argument against townships. We had a good visit, and he made a promise I will continue to receive his letters to the editor. (Some context: Illinois has 8,923 local governments the most by far of any state, and 1,432 of which are townships.)
A couple weeks ago I got an email from Bob with a request. He wanted me to ask the Illinois candidates for governor this question: Would you sign legislation that would grant Illinois voters the ability to dissolve the township form of government in each county?
As president of the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors, I was moderating a forum on Zoom on Sept. 30 with Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker and his Republican opponent in the Nov. 8 General Election, state Sen. Darren Bailey. IAPME members include more than 20 daily newspapers in Illinois.
As journalists, we represent you, our readers. So it only made sense that I ask Pritzker and Bailey Bob’s question. You can see how the candidates responded by viewing the video here. Other Shaw Local News Network election news can be found here.
This was the first time IAPME, in conjunction with Capitol News Illinois, scheduled interviews with candidates for U.S. Senate, governor, secretary of state and proponents and opponents of Amendment 1, the Illinois Right to Collective Bargaining Measure. The videos and articles have been shared with and published by newspapers statewide, including Shaw Media newspapers.
Election coverage is important to us, and a foundation of what newspapers provide in service to our communities. This week we join in the celebration of the 82nd annual National Newspaper Week, sponsored by Newspaper Association Managers.
Brett Wesner, chairman of the National Newspaper Association, recently shared the results of a 2022 National Newspapers Association and NNA Foundation-commissioned national survey of readers from across the country conducted by the Susquehanna Polling and Research team. The study found local newspapers to be the “most trusted source when it comes to learning about candidates for public office.”
On a 10-point scale (with 10 being the “highest”), local newspapers are rated a 7.3, followed by TV stations (6.4), radio (5.5), political mailings (4.6) and social media platforms (2.6), according to the survey.
“And our trustworthiness is growing,” Wesner wrote. “ … The study confirms there is a strong correlation between those who read community newspapers and those who cast ballots in elections. A combined 96% of readers of local newspapers say they plan to vote this November – either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat likely.’ ”
So, we are here to cover the elections, explain the important issues and, when possible, ask the candidates questions on your behalf.
Dennis Anderson is vice president of news & content development for Shaw Media and president of the Illinois Associated Press Media Editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.