Are You There Rod? It's Me, James
If you're at all a political junkie, you can't help but me fascinated by the potential candidacy of State Sen. Rev. James Meeks. When he first discussed the concept with me some time ago, I thought it made for interesting conjecture, but was far from convinced that it would go anywhere.
But to know Rev. Meeks is to know his passion, and his intelligence. And one of the things that about which he is passionate is the manner by which we fund our schools. I have seen him speak to audiences of every stripe, from his congregation to business leaders, and he has an uncanny knack for relating to people. Almost as if you crossed a preacher with a politician. Uh, never mind.
Many people initially wrote off Meeks' talk as one of political extortion. What they missed was that Meeks' acknowledged as much. He wants to improve how we fund our schools, and if the Governor were to present a plan with which Meeks agreed, Meeks was quick to say that he would relent from the threatened run. About a week ago, Meeks presented an education plan to the Governor's office. As of Saturday, he said that he had heard nothing in response to the submission. Meeks is not one to be taken lightly, and I can't believe that ignoring him is a good game plan either. If you listen to the man now, he sounds like a man that is going to be in this race.
Meeks has put forth May 20 as the day that he will announce his slate (maybe with Republican St. Clair County Board member Steve Reeb as a running mate), which is still different than a drop dead date for committing to the race. The conventional thinking is that if he does declare and file, the rest of the ticket would then withdraw, but who knows what will ultimately happen.
Should he run, everybody can argue about the impact that it will have on the race, but one thing is for sure, it will forever change the course of Illinois politics, forcing people across the state to rethink how they vote, why they vote, and who they vote for. Couple this with the potential of having the 'Protect Marriage' initiative on the ballot, throw in any fallout from the Ryan verdict, Sorich trial, and pending investigations, and you have what could be the most interesting Statewide election in a long while.