CHICAGO - In March, the Illinois GOP will be hosting a unique reception to honor Excelon's retired CEO John Rowe. The high-priced event will also be attended by the Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
The event is raising eyebrows among Republicans, who are curious as to the ILGOP's sudden interest in Rowe. A review of Rowe's contributions revealed he has been far more generous to Democrats and the Democratic Party than to Republicans. He's written significant checks to Rahm Emanuel, Jesse Jackson Jr., Chicago alderman Ed Burke and his Burnham Group.
Since his retirement, Rowe has been making his political views public through opinion pieces published in Chicago news sources. Friday in Crain's, he re-interated his disagreement with the Illinois Republican Party's platform plank upholding immigration law, encouraging legal "front door" policies and de-incentivizing those who would sidestep America's lawful immigration process. He also wrote of his efforts to work with business owners and former Governor Jim Edgar to promote "sensible immigration reform":
In addition, I am proud to be part of a new effort: the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition. Alongside former Gov. Jim Edgar and businesspeople like Dave Bender of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois, Omar Duque of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Sam Toia of the Illinois Restaurant Association and a growing group from companies, hospitals and churches, we are uniting across diverse sectors — “high-skilled” and “low-skilled,” large corporations and small business — to push for sensible immigration reform that benefits the people and economy of our state.
We are grateful to President Barack Obama for his leadership on this issue, but this must be a bipartisan effort. I was part of a small group who met President George W. Bush when he visited Chicago and was urging comprehensive reform. As Americans, we may have different views on how to build a decent society, but decency is not the monopoly of either party. I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer to my question — “Since when is it conservative to tell people they cannot work and pay taxes?”
Rowe's views would seem to collide with the Illinois Republican Party's on gay marriage and on immigration. Republicans say they look forward to Mr. Rowe's next public policy declaration, and anticipate sooner or later he will publicly agree with the political party that's honoring him. Otherwise, they tell us, what's the point?