Durbin one of the most honorable people in government service

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Durbin one of the most honorable people in government service

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

In covering Chicagoland politics for nearly 40 years, you can imagine I’ve met a lot of politicians and government officials.

Mayors, Congressmen, aldermen, county commissioners and local trustees and even a few governors.

But one person stands high above them all. That’s U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. Durbin has always been a class act, one of the most courteous and respectful officials I have ever met.

One problem with a lot of politicians is that they can’t take the heat, so they go berserk with anger when you criticize them or even when you don’t criticize them but write something they don’t like. Most are thin-skinned.

Durbin’s not like that. When I called him a few years back and asked if he would come on my small, little radio show at WJJG AM 1530, he did. I was shocked. I’d invite governors, congressmen, aldermen, mayors and more and they always shrug and decline, mainly because the radio show was “community.” It wasn’t big enough. It only focused on the Chicagoland suburbs.

Durbin didn’t care. He remembered I had been a City Hall reporter and, most of all, recognized that the people who listened to my show were everyday citizens from neighborhoods and communities he represented.

And when he was on the show, he made big news, blasting the banking industry in the wake of the outrageous bailouts, and made a quote that put my little, community radio show on the national scene.

English: Rahm Emanuel (right) and Senator Dick...

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (right) and Senator Dick Durbin (center) look on as Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (left) discusses new prescription discount drug cards for seniors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Durbin had been doing something a lot of politicians tried and failed to do, reign in the banking industry and was trying to line up 60 votes in the Senate to pass bankruptcy reform.

“And the banks — hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place,”

I won’t forget how Dick Durbin, a U.S. Senator who could pick up the phone and get national correspondents like Chris Matthews, George Stephanopoulos and Matt Lauer on the line, took a moment to remember he doesn’t just represent the Washington beltway clout and big shots and fact cats.

Durbin, a Democrat, is in a battle for re-election being challenged by Republican Jim Oberweis, who honestly, I really don’t know very well.

But I do know Durbin. His campaign is focused on telling voters why they should return him to the U.S. Senate in the general election on November 4.

Durbin has been in the Senate since 1997 where he has been a consistent voice of moderation, reason and commonsense, characteristics not that common in politics, but should be. In a political atmosphere where extremists continue to gain ground, a centrist and moderate like Durbin becomes even more important.

As the assistant majority leader, holding the second-ranking position among Senate Democrats, Durbin is often viewed as a spokesman for the Democratic Party and is an agenda-setter on national and international issues. Despite all that clout, Durbin is still a grassroots guy.

He’s the kind of guy who even if you disagree with him, he’ll be respectful, but honest. You can have a discussion with him about the issues and not get angry.

Instead, I’ll just say again, Dick Durbin deserves re-election and should easily win. But it’s always good not to take any election for granted.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Reach him at [email protected].)

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network online news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley).

In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. He hosted a live weekend Radio Show on WLS AM radio from 1980 through 1991, and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM and shows on WSBC AM in Chicago and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate and his column is feature every Sunday in the Saudi Gazette in Saudi Arabia. He has written for the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His Chicagoland political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News on several Chicagoland blogs including the OrlandParker.com and SuburbanChicagoland.com.

Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is www.TheMediaOasis.com. Email him at: [email protected].