This week, Illinois Review readers recommended the choice for "top five most effective Illinois conservatives". The names fell into a few clear categories: federal level, state level, activists/organizers, and opinion leaders. Some overlap. But for the most part the list shows the movement's great diversity and its growing influence.
It was the spirit and commitment of these freedom-loving patriots that helped Illinois edge away from a deep dark blue abyss in 2010, and -- against all odds -- provide an impressive resistance in Illinois' ongoing political tug of war for the state's endangered future. The political muscle and experience these folks gained in the 2010 must be encouraged and strengthened in preparation for the 2012 ideological rematch.
In the days ahead, Illinois conservatives will look to these emerging leaders as elected officials, strategists and activists for the next phase in this battle for our state's future. Here's who you, the Illinois conservative community, chose to lead in our crucial next phase:
Federal level conservative elected leaders: U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, newly-elected U.S. House members Randy Hultgren, Bobby Schilling, Joe Walsh, Adam Kinzinger and self-described moderate Bob Dold.
State level conservative elected leaders: State senators Bill Brady, Chris Lauzen and Matt Murphy, State Reps. Michael Connelly, Darlene Senger, Michael Tryon and Patti Bellock. Also newly elected conservatives to the Illinois House Tom Morrison, Dwight Kay and to the State Senate Sam McCann. Add to that local elected leaders Cook County Board of Review's Dan Patlak, Kane County Board's Maggie Auger and Kane Country Treasurer David Rickert.
Conservative activists and organizers: Candidates -- Jason Plummer, Joel Pollak, Isaac Hayes, Adam Andrzejewski, Dan Proft, Cedra Crenshaw, Don Lowery, Don Labno; Tea Party movement activists/organizers -- Steven and Kathy Wassink, Carol Parisi, Kane County 9/12 group, Catherina Wojtowicz, and Tea Party national leaders Rick Santelli and Eric Odom; Republican leaders Demetra DeMonte and Pat Brady; conservatives Jack Roeser, Paul Caprio, Zach Oltmanns, Eunice Conn, Eric Elk, John Reeves, the Right Nation 2010 organizing crew, Rick Biesada, Jim Leahy, Sean McCarthy and Jerry McDaniel.
Conservative opinion leaders: John Tillman, Kristina Rasmussen, Brian Costin and Joe Calomino.
Conservative writers/bloggers that faithfully keep us informed day in and day out: John Ruberry, Warner Todd Huston, Jill Stanek, Anne Leary, Eva Sorock, Alex Keown, Keith Liscio, Tom Roeser, Dennis Byrne, Tom Mannis, Cao, Dave Diersen, and the contributors and staff of Illinois Review.
Thank you to all vast array of conservative leadership that's springing forth in Illinois. Of course, this list is not exhaustive -- the names were offered by Illinois Review readers. However, there's no question without this leadership in every one of the community aspects mentioned, Illinois would have gone over the cliff into a deep, dark blue abyss. While these are the visible movement leaders, but we cannot fail to mention those without whom any of this would take place -- the silent supporters, the check writers and the funders. They know who they are, and if you're interested, you can find out who many of them are by checking the Illinois Board of Elections contributors list.
Conservatives are compelled to move forward as a movement in Illinois and add more outstanding leaders to this list. It is incumbent upon us all to press forward, as difficult as it may be, as our beloved state of Illinois faces unprecedented financial and morale challenges. It will take us all doing our part where we're placed to save what we have and build on it for our heritage.
Congratulations to all recognized on this list. Please keep up the good work.