Tomorrow, June 28, Tuesday, is the Primary Election in Illinois. Poll hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here in East Moline, the polling place for us (South Moline Township #1) is 637 17th Avenue, the Senior Citizens’ Center.
Running tomorrow are a couple of candidates about whom I’ve done some preliminary research. Alexi Giannoulias is running for the position of SECRETARY OF STATE as a Democrat.
Alexander Giannoulias, (born March 16, 1976) is a 46-year-old American financier and politician who served as the 72nd Illinois Treasurer from 2007 to 2011. A Democrat, Giannoulias defeated Republican candidate State Senator Christine Radogno in November 2006 with 54 percent of the vote, becoming the first Democrat to hold the office in 12 years, at the age of 30 (youngest ever).
It was 2 years later that I would attend a party that Alexi Giannoulias threw, but more about that in a moment.
Giannoulias was a candidate in the 2010 elections for the seat in the United States Senate held by Roland Burris. Burris, who was appointed by Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill the seat vacated by Barack Obama following Obama’s election as President of the United States, chose not to seek election. Giannoulias won the Democratic primary in February 2010; he narrowly lost the general election in November 2010 to Republican Mark Kirk. Obama’s Open Senate seat has certainly had more written about it than any of us cares to remember.
Subsequently, Giannoulias stepped back from public life, currently serving as Senior Director of BNY Mellon Wealth Management. On June 26, 2018, he was confirmed to the Chicago Public Library Board, marking his first return to public service since leaving the Treasurer’s office.
HE’S BACK, BABY! THE PRIMARY IS TUESDAY, JUNE 28th.
If elected, Alexi promises to·
fight against Republican led voter suppression measures
- Increase voter registration opportunities – also wants to do pre-registration for voting when 16 and 17 year-olds go to get their license.
- Make government more efficient by reducing lines and waits at driver’s license facilities
- Crack down on corruption with tighter rules and more transparency governing public officials and lobbyists.
[*I would appreciate Alexi making it less difficult for me, personally, to renew my driver’s license. The last time I drove for the examiner (in Aledo, Illinois) the examiner complimented me on being “a very good driver.” This was well deserved, as I AM a very good driver. But, because I am an older driver, I am now going to have to show up and drive quite frequently, which does not sound fun. This last renewal was a real trial. It was during the pandemic and my license expires on July 23rd. I showed up at the East Moline driver’s license renewal office and a huge line was outside in 100 degree heat. They couldn’t be inside because of the pandemic and the line was at least 30 people long. We drove to the small town of Aledo, but there was also a line outside there (because of the pandemic.) My husband and I took turns standing in line in the rain, because we only had one umbrella. When I completed my compliment-winning drive and we went inside,—although I had asked my spouse if he had the insurance papers in the glove box before we left home— I learned that he had forgotten to bring any copy of our insurance papers. We were there until closing waiting for our insurance agent to fax us copies of our insurance. I spent at least an hour playing euchre on my phone. The entire process took all day. I include this story only to see if you’re still reading this.]
Alexi Giannoulias: More Information
Giannoulias was born in Chicago, to Greek immigrants. His mother, Anna, is from Chania, and his late father, Alexis (previously President of the Broadway Bank), was from Kalavryta.] He has two older brothers, Demetris and George. Giannoulias attended The Latin School of Chicago and then the University of Chicago before transferring to Boston University. Giannoulias graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He then moved to Greece to play basketball with Panionios B.C. for a year (1998–99).
After returning from Greece, Giannoulias attended Tulane University Law School. Upon earning his J.D. degree, Alexi returned to Chicago to help manage Broadway Bank, a community bank in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood that was founded by his father in 1979.
Giannoulias served on the board of directors of the Community Bankers’ Association of Illinois Legislative Committee, the South Side/Wabash YMCA, and the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce. Giannoulias also founded and chaired the AG Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that donated money to treat child-related illnesses, curb poverty and assist disaster relief organizations.
2006 Campaign for Illinois State Treasurer
Although the state Democratic Party led by House Speaker Mike Madigan backed his opponent, Paul Mangieri, in the primary, Giannoulias was endorsed by U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Jesse Jackson, Jr. and by then-Senator Barack Obama.
The Chicago Sun-Times news group also endorsed Giannoulias in the general election, arguing that he would “bring valuable private enterprise experience from banking to the job” and praising his “creative” policy proposals like a securities lending program, improving Bright Start, and promoting green energy. Running on a campaign platform that emphasized comprehensive ethics reform for the Treasurer’s office, Giannoulias won the March 2006 primary and went on to defeat Republican candidate Christine Radogno in the general election.
The Wikipedia.org entry from which much of the above is taken has 2 bits of information on the collapse of the Broadway Bank and on the Core Plus/Bright Start college savings program, information that is not as positive in nature as most of the other information above. [Once you mention Tony Rezko’s name, you know what happens.] But explanations were given. Moving right along….
Alexi’s father was president of Broadway Bank. My father was founder and president of Security State Bank in Independence, Iowa, established in 1941. It is still going strong and has expanded into several other Midwestern communities while remaining independent and turning down offers from several other big chains. I think the Broadway Bank collapsed under the weight of the crisis that greeted Obama and Biden when they were sworn into office.
My dad was also (Democratic) Country Treasurer of Buchanan County, Iowa, and laid the cornerstone for the county courthouse. He actually lost the election, but his Republican opponent died before he could be sworn in and they offered it to my father, John Corcoran, Jr. He served four terms before founding the Security State Bank.
Giannoulias launched the “Green Rewards” program, which gave a $1,000 rebate to Illinois residents who purchase a new hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicle. I became very excited about the possibility of getting a $1,000 rebate for purchasing (to date) SIX different Toyota Priuses. I started in 2002 with one of the first hybrid vehicles (cost: $20,050, 0% interest, plus rebates from the government). I clicked on the link to this “green reward” but found it went back to 2007, which is about when I went to a party that Alexi Giannoulias hosted in Denver at the DNC in 2008, when Alexi Giannoulias was Secretary of State.
MY ATTENDANCE AT the 2008 ALEXI GIANNOULIAS PARTY IN DENVER*
I was covering the DNC Convention in Denver for Associated Content/Yahoo. This led to me being named the Yahoo Content Producer of the Year for Politics and to two books, “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House,” Vols, I & II.
Entering the party without knowing anyone, I drifted over to a table that had several cute young girls present. I asked if I could sit with their group; they couldn’t have been nicer. They were aides for Alexi Giannoulias and had been in charge of putting on the party. One girl at the table was the daughter of the Fire Chief in Denver. Her father couldn’t wait for the DNC to leave town, as he was kept busy with things like soldering down manhole covers over security concerns.
My own state representative, who shall remain nameless for purposes of this story, had barely given me the time of day when I greeted him and told him I was from his district. He was underwhelmed at meeting one of his middle-aged constituents. The picture to the left is of Carol and Victory Bell of Rockford, guests at the Giannoulias party, who had OBAMA written on one side of their top hats and CLINTON on the other. No matter who carried the day, they were ready!
I talked one of the cutest and youngest of the girls, wearing a low-cut short black dress, into going over with me to his table and watching the difference we would encounter if I had her with me. The rest of the table was told to watch how quickly My Representative (later seen dancing, solo, to the theme from “Thriller,”— I’m not making that up) got to his feet.
So, this extremely cute young Giannoulias aide and I made our way across the dance floor to where my representative was seated. He could not have gotten to his feet any faster if he had been sitting on a spring. I glanced over at the table. The other girls, watching to see what happened, were convulsed in laughter.
I never actually met Alexi Giannoulias, but it was a good party and I want to thank him, belatedly, for throwing it for the Illinois delegation.