Peoria Landmark #445
I received this photo from an email and knew I had seen it before, assuming it came from the Journal Star; after looking it up I want to give credit goes to photographer David Zalazni, as well as my commenters.
Mayor Rahm came down to Peoria back in March to get his shoes shined and explain how us downstaters and Chicago need each other and need to work together. *cough* *cough* Here’s the full text:
“We have more in common than what pulls us apart,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a lunchtime speech at the Peoria Civic Center on Wednesday, extolling the virtues of partnership between Chicago and downstate Illinois.
The frequent friction between the two regions of the Land of Lincoln represents “the politics of the past,” Emanuel told a crowd of about 500 at the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event.
“It doesn’t serve the people of Illinois,” he said. “The economy of tomorrow requires less regionalism, more cooperation.”
Emanuel, elected last year as Chicago’s first new mayor in a quarter-century after a two-year stint as chief of staff in the Obama White House, bragged about the contributions of his city – still the world’s 20th largest economy even if taken away from the rest of Illinois. But he said that just as that city’s success benefits the state, so, too, do the successes of communities like Peoria – home to Caterpillar Inc. – benefit both Chicago and the rest of the state.
That includes improvements Emanuel said have occurred since he took over as mayor, such as cracking down on deadbeats who hadn’t paid bills to the city and using the savings to fund more city-provided summer jobs for Chicago teens and more spots in summer camps to keep kids occupied during the summer months.
“Not one person in this room didn’t have an activity growing up,” he said.
He also praised the series of educational reforms authorized by the state Legislature last year, raising standards and authorizing a longer school day.
“The system, structured the way it was, was shortchanging our children,” he said, supporting any educational options that help more children learn – including charter schools.
“My standard is: What do the children need?” he said.
As part of an extended paean to bipartisanship, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican and the man credited with convincing Chicago’s mayor to come to LaHood’s hometown, and Emanuel both spoke of the importance of reaching across the aisle.
“If more people would do what Rahm and Ray have done, we would be able to solve our problems,” LaHood said.
The former White House chief of staff returned the compliment at the start of his speech, acknowledging that both men sometimes embraced different policies, but nevertheless were able to work together for the good of the country.
“We’ve had our differences. We’ve never allowed them to become our divisions,” he said.
Emanuel also made a stop earlier in the day at George’s Shoeshine, the Downtown institution that is a must-visit location for many dignitaries in search of a quick touch-up on their shoes and a quick picture to go among the many other photographs that line the walls and tables of George Manias’ establishment.
While there, Emanuel took time out to ask Manias and his brother about their family’s immigrant history and their lives growing up as first-generation Americans, sharing some of his own family history with them as LaHood and Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis listened.