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Thorner: McConchie airs Capitol frustrations at conservative Republican dinner



McConchie on 2016 election night | Daily Herald photo

By Nancy Thorner - 

The 2017 Republican Assembly of Lake County (RALC) Ronald Reagan Dinner was held April 1st at the Dover Straits Seafood House in Mundelein, IL. A record number of 84 members and guests attended.  

The RALC is an affiliate of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), a grassroots political organization which promotes conservative principles and candidates within the Republican Party. The first Republican Assembly was founded in 1934 in California.  

President Ronald Reagan called the Republican Assemblies "the conscience of the Republican Party," while still others referred to them as "the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party." 

Prominent current and past Republican Assembly Members include:

  • Late President Ronald Reagan
  • Late Actress Jane Russell
  • Late Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum
  • Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform
  • Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum
  • U.S. Senator Rand Paul
  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
  • Former Ambassador and Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell


RALC Treasurer, Mike McKay, introduced the Honorable State Senator Dan McConchie (26th District) as a true conservative and a member of the RALC. Senator McConchie was described as an energetic campaigner. McConchie won his seat a year ago in the primary and was then appointed a month later to fill the unexpired term of the previous state senator, Republican Dan Duffy, who stepped down.

Senator McConchie's began his remarks musing about Governor Bruce Rauner and his "TurnAround Agenda" campaign with its list of 20 different items. Among the items, having a budget was deemed a requisite to get Illinois back to fiscal order. Illinois is now in its 22nd month without a budget.  

Senator McConchie pointed to a recent setback toward achieving a balanced budget due to under-performing revenues. The largest component of the decline came from the “Big Three” State revenues: individual income tax, corporate income tax and sales tax. Although sales tax collections in the first two thirds of FY2017 have kept up with the original projections, individual income tax receipts are down 3.9% from this point last year, and corporate income taxes are down 43.7%.

McConchie said Illinois is a "financial disaster." When Leslie Munger was Comptroller, $7 billion in bills were sitting on her desk to be paid. Now unpaid bills have mounted to $12 billion. Furthermore, pension debt has skyrocketed to $130 billion. Illinois' bond rating is just about at junk level, and they're being treated as such.

McConchie bemoaned why some agreement can't be reached in dealing with Illinois' debt. Although Governor Rauner did agree to some form of tax increases, Democrats have not stepped forward in the direction of Republican concessions. Instead, Governor Rauner has been at loggerhead with the Democrats for over two years. 

"Unlike a business or corporation where differences of opinions must be settled to keep the company functioning," said McConchie, "in politics when contrasting people push against each other the result is gridlock. Senator McConchie related how sometimes promises made are not being kept for Illinoisans who depend on social service providers who are not being paid for their work.

About Mike Madigan:  McConchie related how Madigan has held office for 44 years, having been Speaker of the House for 30 of the last 33 years.  Madigan, at 74 years of age and with no heir apparent, seems to have no desire to understand the situation.  As McConchie see it, upon waking up in the morning Madigan's goal is to beat whoever he has to at their game today.  As such Madigan goes from election to election.

How then to get change here in Illinois, reasoned McConchie?  There must be a grassroots swell where enough becomes enough. Cooperation must happen to get things done.  The situation in Springfield, in McConchie's words, "is indeed dire."   

Outside the budget issue, McConchie mentioned House Bill 40, which would expand taxpayer funding of elected abortions to all nine months.  It's on the edge of passing in the IL House.  If the bill passes in the House it will pass in the Senate.  McConchie spoke of the grassroots becoming involved, but the push back must continue, and urged the audience to contact their representatives and senators.

Said McConchie, "It's a dark place in Springfield."  He asked that prayers be said for all legislators in Lake County. We cannot rescue Illinois on our own. It requires a Divine hand.  McConchie suggested that we take one day at a time, and, when possible, attempt to help another see the truth in the right way. 

McConchie did admit to becoming frustrated, but when showing up for work each day he functions within the framework of that day to find things he can do on his own, also reaching out to others to achieve positive results. McConchie is starting to see little miracle of God.  

At the end, a $10 per ticket raffle for a Springfield XD 9 sub compact was held conducted by RALC Vice Chairman, Glenn Garamoni.

A partial list of elected officials present included Judge Daniel B. Shanes, Circuit Court of Lake County; Bonnie Quirke, Libertyville Library Trustee; IL Rep. Randy Hultgren (14th District); Mark Shaw, Lake County Chair of Republican Party; Steve Lentz, Mayor of Mundelein; Mundelein Trustees Dawn Abernathy and Ray Semple; Republican Township Chairmen:  Phil Howe (Avon), Bob Cook (Wauconda), Glenn Garamoni (Fremont), Frank Bessette (Antioch), Nancy Kubalanza (Grant), and Jim Dorfman (Ela). 


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  1. As a member of the RALC, I know this organization will lead to a turn around in our county. Unfortunately, many Illinois Republican officials and officeholders might as well be Democrats on many issues. A conservative organization outside the official Republican party is very needed in Illinois to recruit people like Dan McConchie to become state legislators, county board members and party officials like precinct committeemen and township chairmen. Wisconsin conservatives did this hard work 10 years ago in one of the most liberal states in the union. It can be done, but people have to stop listening to Rush and bellyaching and do something constructive for a change.