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A Brief History of the Dodgers and Giants Rivalry

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It is a rivalry that defies description.

The animosity between the Dodgers and the Giants can’t technically be described as having started as an intracity squabble. When they first played each other, in 1889, the Giants hailed from Manhattan, while the Dodgers (known as the Bridegrooms at the time) were based in Brooklyn, which wouldn’t become part of New York City for another nine years.

A subway series? No, that 1889 championship between the clubs was 15 years before New York City’s subway existed. To put things in (ridiculous) perspective, they had already played each other 757 times when sliced bread was invented in 1928.

But however you choose to characterize their relationship, the longstanding feud, which has gone on for more than 2,500 regular-season games, is in full force. Their best-of-five division series, in which one of the two winningest teams in baseball this season will be eliminated, is tied at one game apiece heading into Monday’s Game 3.

When considering if this is the peak of the rivalry, you first have to consider some of the biggest moments of their relationship over the last 133 seasons (with many other tense moments left on the cutting-room floor).

The first nine games between the clubs came in 1889. Brooklyn, which had been crowned champion of the American Association, agreed to face the Giants, champions of the National League, in what some referred to as the World Series.

Official statistics between the clubs did not begin until the next season, when Brooklyn joined the N.L., but the championship was taken fairly seriously. Coverage of the games in The New York Times pointed out that Arthur Dixwell, considered by many to be the most prominent baseball fan of the era, came down from Boston to celebrate the Giants beating the Bridegrooms, six games to three.

“As soon as the New-Yorks won yesterday, he went to the clubhouse and presented each of the players with pretty scarfpins,” the Times reported of Dixwell. “In making the presentation he said that he admired skill, gameness, and honesty, and he felt certain that the New-York players possessed all these elements. He spoke of the drawbacks that the New-Yorks had to contend against this season, and he declared that, for various reasons, greater credit is due the Giants than if they had won under ordinary circumstances.”

In January 1934, Bill Terry, the player-manager of the Giants, was asked for his thoughts on the coming season. Among his remarks was a quip that would come back to haunt him: “What has become of the Dodgers?” he asked. “Are they still in the league?” Terry’s Giants were terrific in the first half, but a second-half collapse led to a tie with the St. Louis Cardinals going into the last two days of the season, and the Giants had to face the Dodgers twice. Fans from Brooklyn, looking to play spoilers in an otherwise disappointing season, packed the stands at the Polo Grounds and watched their Dodgers win both games, handing the pennant to St. Louis.

Much was made of Terry’s comments, but Ed Hughes, a columnist for The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, defended the quotation, as he believed it brought some spice to a sport that was getting bland.

“Personally I think it is a sad thing for baseball there are not more bon mots and repartees of the sort,” Hughes wrote. “Of late years the game has become entirely too orderly, the thoughts and actions too prosaic and rule-of-thumb. There is a preponderance of gold, silver and paper, and not enough red blood and romance to it. The result is dullness for the fan and weakened business for the promoter.”

The Dodgers were riding high, leading the National League by 13½ games on Aug. 11. But the wheels started to come off for Brooklyn, and the young Giants kept improving. The teams ended up being tied for first, necessitating a three-game tiebreaker. They split the first two games, and in the third one, Bobby Thomson, who hit 32 homers that season, crushed one of the most famous in history: the Shot Heard Round the World.

The situation would grow complicated decades later when it was revealed that the Giants had used a complicated signal system to steal signs from other teams, but on that day in 1951, Russ Hodges, who was on the Giants’ radio broadcast, blurted out one of the most famous calls in sports broadcasting history.

“There’s a long drive … it’s going to be, I believe … The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant and they’re going crazy! They’re going crazy! I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it! I do not believe it!”

With the Dodgers frustrated by their lack of ability to build a new ballpark in Brooklyn, and the Giants struggling financially, the teams began exploring other opportunities. The league’s owners voted in May 1957 to allow them to relocate to California, provided they did so together. The Giants made their initial home at Seals Stadium, previously the home of the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. The Dodgers went far larger, moving into the oddly configured (and cavernous) Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which set a regular-season attendance record of 78,672 in the first game there — which the Dodgers played against the visiting Giants.

After that first game at L.A. Memorial in 1958, the reports in The Times were positive:

“The novel experiment of big league baseball in a vast stadium designed for track and football seemed an unalloyed success.”

Just 11 seasons after the Shot Heard Round the World, the Dodgers and the Giants, firmly entrenched on the West Coast, once again had to play a three-game tiebreaker series to determine a pennant. Once again the tie in the standings came after the Dodgers faded badly down the stretch. And once again, the Giants triumphed, going ahead in the ninth inning to win Game 3 and capture the pennant. The list of parallels wouldn’t have been complete without a subsequent World Series loss to the Yankees, and the Giants delivered that as well. But not before humiliating their fiercest rivals.

Arthur Daley’s Sports of The Times column did not hold back.

“The ignominious crack-up of the Dodgers reached splintering force today, leaving shattered hopes behind. They had the pennant as good as won weeks ago and let themselves get tied by the Giants. They had the final playoff game as good as won in the final inning. They lost it, 6 to 4.”

On Aug. 22, 1965, the Dodgers were leading the National League while the Giants were one and a half games behind them. With emotions running high, Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax took turns throwing at star players for both teams, and when Marichal came to the plate as a batter in the third inning, he fully expected Koufax to back him off the plate. Instead, it was Dodgers catcher John Roseboro who threw a ball back to Koufax in such a way that it either nicked Marichal’s ear or came close to doing so. Marichal responded, as a person holding a large piece of wood might, by walloping Roseboro over the head with it a few times.

Marichal earned a hefty suspension and fine, while the Dodgers went on to win the pennant. Marichal finally explained his side of the story a few days after the incident:

“First of all I want to apologize for using the bat. I am sorry I did that, but I was afraid of him.”

In 1982, the Dodgers and Giants were in a fierce battle with Atlanta for the N.L. West crown, with the three teams separated by one game. A three-game series at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park proved disastrous for both teams. The Dodgers won the first two games, thus eliminating the Giants from contention, but then the Giants returned the favor, with help from Joe Morgan’s three-run homer in the eighth inning, beating the Dodgers on the season’s final day and handing the division crown to Atlanta.

Morgan’s role as a spoiler was not lost on him, but the former Reds superstar had a bit more perspective than is typical in this rivalry.

“I know people are going to say how the Giants live to beat the Dodgers,” he said. “That’s not the case with me. I’m not jumping up and down because we knocked the Dodgers out of the race. I’ve learned some humility in my life.”

In 1993, the last year of straightforward division races before the wild card was introduced, the Giants put on a show. The season had been an endless battle with Atlanta for the N.L. West crown (side note: Atlanta was in the N.L. West), and Atlanta had made itself far stronger down the stretch by adding the slugger Fred McGriff in a midseason trade. Still, the Giants were a force to be reckoned with thanks to the sluggers Barry Bonds, Matt Williams and Will Clark.

Atlanta led the division by four games on Sept. 17, but at the end of the games on Oct. 2, the second to last day of the season, the teams were tied on top. On Oct. 3, Atlanta took care of its business, beating the Colorado Rockies by 5-3. The Giants, meanwhile, were absolutely demolished by the Dodgers, who seemingly relished playing spoilers against their rivals in an ugly 12-1 game.

Peter Magowan, then a co-owner of the Giants, had the line of the day when asked about the defeat coming on the 42nd anniversary of Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning homer.

“Oct. 3 is still a historic day in Giant history,” he said. “It’s just some days in history are bad days.”


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4 Ex-Navy Officers Convicted in Corruption Scandal

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Four of five former U.S. Navy officers standing trial as part of the “Fat Leonard” corruption scandal were convicted of fraud, bribery, and conspiracy on Wednesday. They were the last defendants out of 34 people to be charged with taking illicit incentives from Malaysian defense contractor Leonard Francis. Prosecutors said they were lavished with prostitutes, Cuban cigars, and free hotel stays by Francis. In 2015, Francis admitted offering $500,000 worth of bribes to American Navy officers in exchange for classified information, or even rerouting military ships to ports that brought in a lot of cash for his vessel servicing company. Francis overcharged the U.S. military by $35 million, prosecutors say. He is set to be sentenced in July. Former Capts. David Newland, James Dolan and David Lausmen, along with former Cmdr. Mario Herrera were convicted this week, while no verdict was reached by the jury on charges against former Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless.

Read it at Associated Press


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Hope and despair: Kathy Gannon on 35 years in Afghanistan

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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan policeman opened fire on us with his AK-47, emptying 26 bullets into the back of the car. Seven slammed into me, and at least as many into my colleague, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus. She died at my side.

Anja weighed heavy against my shoulder. I tried to look at her but I couldn’t move. I looked down; all I could see was what looked like a stump where my left hand had been. I could barely whisper, “Please help us.”

Our driver raced us to a small local hospital in Khost, siren on. I tried to stay calm, thinking over and over: “Don’t be afraid. Don’t die afraid. Just breathe.”

At the hospital, Dr. Abdul Majid Mangal said he would have to operate and tried to reassure me. His words are forever etched in my heart: “Please know your life is as important to me as it is to you.”

Much later, as I recovered in New York during a process that would turn out to eventually require 18 operations, an Afghan friend called from Kabul. He wanted to apologize for the shooting on behalf of all Afghans.

I said the shooter didn’t represent a nation, a people. My mind returned to Dr. Mangal – for me, it was him who represented Afghanistan and Afghans.

I have reported on Afghanistan for the AP for the past 35 years, during an extraordinary series of events and regime changes that have rocked the world. Through it all, the kindness and resilience of ordinary Afghans has shone through – which is also what has made it so painful to watch the slow erosion of their hope.

I have always been amazed at how Afghans stubbornly hung on to hope against all odds, greeting each of several new regimes with optimism. But by 2018, a Gallup poll showed that the fraction of people in Afghanistan with hope in the future was the lowest ever recorded anywhere.

It didn’t have to be this way.

———

I arrived in Afghanistan in 1986, in the middle of the Cold War. It seems a lifetime ago. It is.

Then, the enemy attacking Afghanistan was the communist former Soviet Union, dubbed godless by United States President Ronald Reagan. The defenders were the U.S.-backed religious mujahedeen, defined as those who engage in holy war, championed by Reagan as freedom fighters.

Reagan even welcomed some mujahedeen leaders to the White House. Among his guests was Jalaluddin Haqqani, the father of the current leader of the Haqqani network, who in today’s world is a declared terrorist.

At that time, the God versus communism message was strong. The University of Nebraska even crafted an anti-communist curriculum to teach English to the millions of Afghan refugees living in camps in neighboring Pakistan. The university made the alphabet simple: J was for Jihad or holy war against the communists; K was for the Kalashnikov guns used in jihad, and I was for Infidel, which described the communists themselves.

There was even a math program. The questions went something like: If there were 10 communists and you killed five, how many would you have left?

When I covered the mujahedeen, I spent a lot of time and effort on being stronger, walking longer, climbing harder and faster. At one point, I ran out of a dirty mud hut with them and hid under a nearby cluster of trees. Just minutes later, Russian helicopter gunships flew low, strafed the trees and all but destroyed the hut.

The Russians withdrew in 1989 without a win. In 1992, the mujahedeen took power.

Ordinary Afghans hoped fervently that the victory of the mujahedeen would mean the end of war. They also to some degree welcomed a religious ideology that was more in line with their largely conservative country than communism.

But it wasn’t long before the mujahedeen turned their guns on each other.

The fighting was brutal, with the mujahedeen pounding the capital, Kabul, from the hills. Thrice the AP lost its equipment to thieving warlords, only to be returned after negotiations with the top warlord. One day I counted as many as 200 incoming and outgoing rockets inside of minutes.

The bloodletting of the mujahedeen-cum government ministers-cum warlords killed upward of 50,000 people. I saw a 5-year-old girl killed by a rocket as she stepped out of her house. Children by the scores lost limbs to booby traps placed by mujahedeen as they departed neighborhoods.

I stayed on the front line with a woman and her two small children in the Macroyan housing complex during the heaviest rocketing. Her husband, a former communist government employee, had fled, and she lived by making and selling bread each day with her children.

She opened her home to me even though she had so little. All night we stayed in the one room without windows. She asked me if I would take her son to Pakistan the next day, but in the end could not bear to see him go.

Only months after my visit, they were killed by warlords who wanted their apartment.

———

Despite the chaos of the time, Afghans still had hope.

In the waning days of the warring mujahedeen’s rule, I attended a wedding in Kabul where both the wedding party and guests were coiffed and downright glamorous. When asked how she managed to look so good with so little amid the relentless rocketing, one young woman replied brightly, “We’re not dead yet!”

The wedding was delayed twice because of rockets.

The Taliban had by then emerged. They were former mujahedeen and often Islamic clerics who had returned to their villages and their religious schools after 1992. They came together in response to the relentless killing and thieving of their former comrades-in-arms.

By mid-1996, the Taliban were on Kabul’s doorstep, with their promise of burqas for women and beards for men. Yet Afghans welcomed them. They hoped the Taliban would at least bring peace.

When asked about the repressive restrictions of the Taliban, one woman who had worked for an international charity said: “If I know there is peace and my child will be alive, I will wear the burqa.”

Peace did indeed come to Afghanistan, at least of sorts. Afghans could leave their doors unlocked without fear of being robbed. The country was disarmed, and travel anywhere in Afghanistan at any time of the day or night was safe.

But Afghans soon began to see their peace as a prison. The Taliban’s rule was repressive. Public punishments such as chopping off hands and rules that denied girls school and women work brought global sanctions and isolation. Afghans got poorer.

The Taliban leader at the time was the reclusive Mullah Mohammad Omar, rumored to have removed his own eye after being wounded in a battle against invading Soviet soldiers. As international sanctions crippled Afghanistan, Omar got closer to al-Qaida, until eventually the terrorist group became the Taliban’s only source of income.

By 2001, al-Qaida’s influence was complete. Despite a pledge from Omar to safeguard them, Afghanistan’s ancient statues of Buddha were destroyed, in an order reportedly from Osama bin Laden himself.

Then came the seismic shock of 9/11.

Many Afghans mourned the American deaths so far away. Few even knew who bin Laden was. But the country was now squarely a target in the eyes of the United States. Amir Shah, AP’s longtime correspondent, summed up what most Afghans were thinking at the time: “America will set Afghanistan on fire.”

And it did.

After 9/11, the Taliban threw all foreigners out of Afghanistan, including me. The U.S.-led coalition assault began on Oct. 7, 2001.

By Oct. 23, I was back in Kabul, the only Western journalist to see the last weeks of Taliban rule. The powerful B-52 bombers of the U.S. pounded the hills and even landed in the city.

On Nov. 12 that year, a 2,000-pound bomb landed on a house near the AP office. It threw me across the room and blew out window and door frames. Glass shattered and sprayed everywhere.

By sunrise the next day, the Taliban were gone from Kabul.

———

Afghanistan’s next set of rulers marched into the city, brought by the powerful military might of the U.S.-led coalition.

The mujahedeen were back.

The U.S. and U.N. returned them to power even though some among them had brought bin Laden from Sudan to Afghanistan in 1996, promising him a safe haven. The hope of Afghans went through the roof, because they believed the powerful U.S. would help them keep the mujahedeen in check.

With more than 40 countries involved in their homeland, they believed peace and prosperity this time was most certainly theirs. Foreigners were welcome everywhere.

Some Afghans worried about the returning mujahedeen, remembering the corruption and fighting when they last were in power. But America’s representative at the time, Zalmay Khalilzad, told me that the mujahedeen had been warned against returning to their old ways.

Yet worrying signs began to emerge. The revenge killings began, and the U.S.-led coalition sometimes participated without knowing the details. The mujahedeen would falsely identify enemies – even those who had worked with the U.S. before – as belonging to al-Qaida or to the Taliban.

One such mistake happened early in December 2001 when a convoy was on its way to meet the new President Hamid Karzai. The U.S.-led coalition bombed it because they were told the convoy bore fighters from the Taliban and al-Qaida. They turned out to be tribal elders.

Secret prisons emerged. Hundreds of Afghan men disappeared. Families became desperate.

Resentment soared especially among the ethnic Pashtuns, who had been the backbone of the Taliban. One former Taliban member proudly displayed his new Afghan identity card and wanted to start a water project in his village. But corrupt government officials extorted him for his money, and he returned to the Taliban.

A deputy police chief in southern Zabul province told me of 2,000 young Pashtun men, some former Taliban, who wanted to join the new government’s Afghan National Army. But they were mocked for their ethnicity, and eventually all but four went to the mountains and joined the Taliban.

In the meantime, corruption seemed to reach epic proportions, with suitcases of money, often from the CIA, handed off to Washington’s Afghan allies. Yet schools were built, roads were reconstructed and a new generation of Afghans, at least in the cities, grew up with freedoms their parents had not known and in many cases looked on with suspicion.

Then came the shooting in 2014 that would change my life.

It began as most days do in Afghanistan: Up before 6 a.m. This day we were waiting for a convoy of Afghan police and military to leave the eastern city of Khost for a remote region to distribute the last of the ballot boxes for Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential elections.

After 30 minutes navigating past blown-out bridges and craters that pockmarked the road, we arrived at a large police compound. For more than an hour, Anja and I talked with and photographed about a dozen police officials.

We finished our work just as a light drizzle began. We got into the car and waited to leave for a nearby village. That’s when the shooting happened.

It was two years before I was able to return to work and to Afghanistan.

———

By that point, the disappointment and disenchantment with America’s longest war had already set in. Despite the U.S. spending over $148 billion on development alone over 20 years, the percentage of Afghans barely surviving at the poverty level was increasing yearly.

In 2019, Pakistan began accepting visa applications at its consulate in eastern Afghanistan. People were so desperate to leave that nine died in a stampede.

In 2020, the U.S. and the Taliban signed a deal for troops to withdraw within 18 months. The U.S. and NATO began to evacuate their staff, closing down embassies and offering those who worked for them asylum.

The mass closure of embassies was baffling to me because the Taliban had made no threats, and it sparked panic in Kabul. It was the sudden and secret departure of President Ashraf Ghani that finally brought the Taliban back into the city on Aug. 15, 2021.

Their swift entry came as a surprise, along with the thorough collapse of the neglected Afghan army, beset by deep corruption. The Taliban’s rapid march toward Kabul fed a rush toward the airport.

For many in the Afghan capital, the only hope left lay in getting out.

Fida Mohammad, a 24-year-old dentist, was desperate to leave for the U.S. so he could earn enough money to repay his father’s debt of $13,000 for his elaborate marriage. He clung to the wheels of the departing US C-17 aircraft on Aug. 16 and died.

Zaki Anwari, a 17-year-old footballer, ran to get on the plane. He dreamed only of football, and believed his dream could not come true in Afghanistan. He was run over by the C-17.

Now the future in Afghanistan is even more uncertain. Scores of people line up outside the banks to try to get their money out. Hospitals are short of medicine. The Taliban hardliners seem to have the upper hand, at least in the short term.

Afghans are left to face the fact that the entire world came to their country in 2001 and spent billions, and still couldn’t bring them prosperity or even the beginnings of prosperity. That alone has deeply eroded hope for the future.

I leave Afghanistan with mixed feelings, sad to see how its hope has been destroyed but still deeply moved by its 38 million people. The Afghans I met sincerely loved their country, even if it is now led by elderly men driven by tribal traditions offensive to a world that I am not sure ever really understood Afghanistan.

Most certainly, though, I will be back.


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Pritzker says balanced budget, ‘big things’ remain priority ahead of second term

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Inflation, crime, pandemic response, abortion rights and Donald Trump are all set to be major issues in the 2022 race for Illinois governor, if the winning candidates’ election night speeches are any guide.

“(Gov. JB) Pritzker doesn’t understand how skyrocketing gas prices and soaring food prices make everyday life harder for Illinois families like you and I,” Darren Bailey, the Republican nominee for governor, said in an election night victory speech.

A farmer and state senator from downstate Xenia who acknowledged to the Chicago Sun-Times this week that he is a millionaire, Bailey received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump and coasted to an election night victory with 57 percent of the vote, compared to about 15 percent for each of the next two closest competitors.

“He doesn’t understand how his and Joe Biden’s extreme national agenda helps fuel inflation and increases utility bills for families like us across Illinois,” Bailey added of the governor. “He doesn’t understand the damage that his lockdowns did to small businesses, schools, mental health and working families all across this state. He doesn’t understand that his war on police has fueled the war on our streets, making our neighborhoods dangerous all across this state.”

Bailey also said in his speech that he entered politics because he was displeased with his local representatives’ votes to end a historic two-year budget impasse in 2017 by raising the income tax rate to 4.95 percent, a level slightly lower than it was when the impasse began two years prior.

The income tax vote was part of the budget package that saw Democrats and Republicans come together to override the veto of former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Pritzker, meanwhile, considers it part of his first-term legacy that Illinois has left the politics of the impasse behind it and taken strides to balance the budget each year and pay down old debt.

The governor sat for an interview with Capitol News Illinois Thursday amid a two-day blitz in which he spoke with political reporters from across the state.

He said fiscal prudence – along with pandemic-era revenue spikes that were seen nationwide for many reasons – allowed him and lawmakers to pass $1.8 billion in tax relief this budget year, some of which took effect July 1.

It included a one-year suspension of the 1 percent grocery tax, a six-month delay on a 2-cent motor fuel tax hike, a 10-day partial sales tax holiday on back-to-school items from Aug. 5-14, a permanent expansion of the earned income tax credit, an additional $300 in property tax credit, and direct payments to Illinoisans at $50 per person and $100 per dependent child.

“Those are all things that we Democrats did and were able to do because Democrats balanced the budget, Democrats eliminated the bill backlog, Democrats got the credit upgrades for the state,” he said, referring to double upgrades the state has received from the three New York bond rating agencies in the past year.

“You can’t do any of those items of tax relief if you don’t have the dollars to do it,” he added. “And we had surpluses and what did we do? We provided relief to working family. And we’re gonna look to do that going forward. I might add, if you keep on the path that Democrats have set, that I’ve set, balancing budgets and having surpluses, we can do much more.”

He said he’s hopeful to continue balancing the books even though the state expects revenues to slow as pandemic-driven spikes normalize.

Pritzker touted the state’s use of unexpected revenues for one-time purposes, such as putting $1 billion in the budget stabilization fund, funding pensions $500 million above what is required in law and paying down old health insurance bills amounting to about $900 million.

He also noted the state has, under his watch, increased investments in the Illinois State Police, crime labs, expressway cameras, and youth violence intervention programs.

The one-term incumbent who unseated Rauner with a 16-point victory in 2018 also touched on his spending in the Republican primary in recent months.

While he spent money through his own campaign committee, the Democratic Party of Illinois and the Democratic Governors Association to knock Bailey’s chief primary rival, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, he downplayed the role his money played in that election.

Irvin’s camp has pegged the combined spending of those entities in the GOP primary at roughly $36 million.

“My message is a general election message against all of the Republicans,” he said. “You know, we had messages about the candidate who was talking about corruption in Illinois, when he himself was involved in corruption. We had messages about the candidate who is truly extreme on every issue, including choice. And, you know, we’re fighting the Republicans, this is about Democrats beating Republicans.”

In the coming days, Pritzker said he will call lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session to secure abortion rights, which could include increasing the number of medical professionals who can perform abortions. It will not include providing state aid for people traveling to Illinois to receive an abortion, he said.

In terms of a second-term agenda, Pritzker said continuing the fiscal practices of his first term, as well as increasing subsidies for education and child care are among his priorities.

“But I think that looking back at my first term in office, gives you an idea that we’re gonna get more big things done, and they’re going to be about lifting up working families,” he said.

You can listen to the full episode of Capitol Cast here.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government that is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.




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