Sean Crawford

Chatham

Community Advisory Board, Ex-Officio

Sean has led the NPR Illinois news operations since the fall of 2009. He replaced the only other person to do so in the station's history, Rich Bradley. Prior to taking over the News Department, Sean worked as Statehouse Bureau Chief for NPR Illinois and other Illinois Public Radio stations. He spent more than a dozen years on the capitol beat.

Sean  began his broadcasting career at his hometown station in Herrin, Illinois while still in high school.  It was there he learned to cover local government, courts and anything else that made the news.  He spent time in the Joliet area as News Director and Operations Manager for a radio station and worked for a chain of weekly newspapers for two years.  Along with news coverage, he reported heavily on sports and did on-air play by play. 

Sean holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield. 

The conservative magazine National Review has called Gov. Bruce Rauner "the worst Republican governor in America." We'll discuss the claim, and how it might affect next year's elections.

Meanwhile, a group of Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion groups have sued over a new law that extends abortion coverage to women enrolled in state health insurance programs.

Rep. Jeanne Ives continues her campaign to deny Gov. Bruce Rauner renomination as the Republican candidate for governor — a race in which Congressman John Shimkus, the Illinois delegation's senior Republican, is declining to endorse.

Then, do voters care whether candidates release detailed tax returns — or any tax returns — and should they?

Finally, a name from Illinois politics past surfaces as a potential challenger for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Republican challenger Rep. Jeanne Ives hit the road this week. On the Democratic side, J.B. Pritzker sets a deadline for releasing his tax returns, after Sen. Daniel Biss compared him to President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Rauner signs ethics legislation that will allow the new legislative inspector general to investigate a backlog of complaints dating back nearly three years.

The Illinois General Assembly's fall veto session is over, lawmakers have been though sexual harassment awareness training, and Comptroller Susana Mendoza is beginning to pay down the backlog of bills.

More allegations of sexual harassment in state government — and this time someone is naming names. But with a watchdog position vacant for years, who's holding lawmakers accountable?

A state representative has begun circulating petitions in an effort to challenge Governor Bruce Rauner in next year's Republican primary. 

Bruce Rauner / YouTube

Governor Bruce Rauner has made his long awaited announcement that he is seeking re-election.  The first term Republican issued a video today that features him riding his motorcycle through Illinois.  It focuses on the agenda he has pushed since taking office, including property tax relief. In the video, he talks about battles waged with the General Assembly, adding that that he has won some and lost some.

Credit: YouTube

The field of Democrats running for governor has gotten smaller as Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar ends his campaign. Meanwhile, the AFSCME union says the Illinois Department of Corrections isn't doing enough to keep correctional officers safe.

Fallout continues from Gov. Bruce Rauner's decision to sign a pro-abortion bill, with some Republicans calling him a liar and others courting primary challengers. How will this affect his bid for reelection?

UPDATE   12:15 p.m.

A local juvenile, described as a person of interest, has been detained, according to local authorities.  Schools are being given the all clear signal.  District officials say they take each threat seriously.  

Police Chief Kenny Winslow says it's "not a joke, not a prank."  He says those responsible will be held accountable.

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 40, allowing for the expansion of public funding for abortions.  Also, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to revisit Rauner's challenge to public sector union "fair share" fees.  UIS Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield and WTTW's Amanda Vinicky join the panel, which includes Sean Crawford and Daisy Contreras.

Blackburn College in Carlinville is providing an opportunity for lower income students from Macoupin County.  Those from families earning less than $60,000 a year can attend the college for free.

A new Illinois law is expected to improve access to health care by giving nurses more authority.  

With Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's announcement last week that she won't be running for re-election, hopefuls are lining up to run.  Opposition is building against Cook County's controversial soda tax.  And Governor Bruce Rauner is promoting Illinois as a great location for Amazon's new headquarters.

Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune and the State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg join the panel.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich gave his first interviews since reporting to a federal prison more than five years ago. We consider his long silence and ongoing legacy in Illinois government.

The Illinois state pension funds are among the worst-funded in the nation.  Yet, a new state law allows less money to be put toward that purpose. 

Illinois schools will soon resume receiving state funding, after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bipartisan compromise that passed the House and Senate earlier in the week.

What we know as of Friday about a tentative compromise among legislative leaders on school funding, along with the continuing controversy over Governor Rauner's response to a political cartoon posted by the Illinois Policy Institute.  WBEZ's Tony Arnold and WTTW's Amanda Vinicky join the panel.

The University of Illinois will no longer use the music known as the “War Chant” during athletic events on its Urbana-Champaign campus.

FBI

The death of Tammy Zywicki confounded police and raised fears for young women traveling alone.  The 21-year-old was on her way to Grinnell College in Iowa when she had car trouble along Interstate 80 in LaSalle County.  Her body was discovered a week later along another interstate in Missouri.  She had been stabbed to death. 

After years of theories and suspects, no arrests have been made.  One witness reported seeing a semi-truck and its driver with Zywicki and her disabled car. 

Republicans and Democrats gathered in Springfield this week for their annual rallies tied to the Illinois State Fair. Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Republicans outlined a campaign strategy that takes aim at House Speaker Michael Madigan. Democrats, meanwhile, tried to lash Rauner to the fortunes of President Donald Trump.

For state government, Monday’s solar eclipse is less about what's happening in the sky and more about what's happening on the ground. 

Despite Governor Bruce Rauner calling the Democrat-controlled Legislature into special session to resolve the issue of school funding, there is still no agreement on funding for Chicago Public Schools.  Also, the next gubernatorial race is shaping up to be the most expensive in state history; we'll look at the potential money involved.  Joining Sean Crawford in the studio is IPR Education Reporter Dusty Rhodes, UIS Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield, and Law360 Springfield Reporter Hannah Meisel.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner kicked off a series of special sessions by signing a measure that will limit how much lawmakers will be paid.

The measure halts increases in salaries and their mileage reimbursements. Rauner said it was an example of legislators working together, since the idea had received wide support.

“We're announcing a step in the right direction to protect Illinois taxpayers, I want to thank the members of the General Assembly who came together on a bi-partisan basis to pass this legislation,” he said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has demanded Democrats send him school funding legislation, threatening to call a special session if they don't. The governor has sought to pit Downstate school school districts — and local legislators — against Chicago Public Schools.

Meanwhile, Rauner continued replacing top staff with people from a libertarian advocacy organization.

Illinois' constitution has been in place since 1970.  But there's an effort to draft a new one.  Republican representative Tim Butler of Springfield has introduced a plan to hold another constitutional convention. 

Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is replacing several top aides with employees of the Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian-conservative advocacy organization. It comes days after a bipartisan group of legislators ended Illinois' two-year budget impasse by overriding Rauner's veto. 

Change is coming to the state agency that oversees historic sites and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  

The Governor failed to get a lot of what he wanted in the recent legislative session.   Now, there's fallout in the top ranks of Bruce Rauner's administration.  

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