Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



ELECTIONS 2014: COMPTROLLER Topinka vies for second term
by Matt Simonette

This article shared 3522 times since Wed Oct 29, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, long a fixture of Illinois politics, is facing off against Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and libertarian candidate Julie Fox in order to serve a second term.

Topinka previously served three terms as Illinois state Treasurer and served in both houses of the legislature. She made an unsuccessful attempt at running for governor in 2006.

Simon, who has trailed Topinka in the polls, contends that Topinka has not done enough to modernize the comptroller's office and make it transparent. Topinka, however, points to a number on online portals the public can use to access information about state spending, and said her office hopes to develop a new portal that better delineates TIF spending.

WCT spoke with Topinka about the logistics of her office, her relationship with the Republican Party and her support for Illinois' LGBT community.

Windy City Times: You have a difficult position in that your office has to pay the state's bills when there is quite often not enough money in the state coffers to cover them. Why are you now looking to return to the job for another term?

Judy Baar Topinka: We want to do a great job. We have work to do with this office. We've made already great strides in getting it into the 21st century. There's more to do. It's been a quiet, fairly sleepy office for many years. We want it not only to be the best in the state of Illinois but I want it to be the best in the United States, because if we can do some fiscal housecleaning, the state will run more efficiently and transparently, and with more accountability. There will be more eyes focused on this office so they can track money, and if anything goes astray, they can catch it more quickly.

WCT: From a fiscal standpoint, what advocacy role can the comptroller play in a state like Illinois, where our finances are so frequently out of hand?

JBT: I know that we had an impact in keeping the state from borrowing something like $4 billion. I went to committee and raised all sorts of holy hell. I told them I couldn't pay those bills. … They relented. You're going to hear that from me: Borrowing is not the answer. We have to learn to cut. There's consolidations and we will save money. When we save money we make money, and can put it into programs that are necessary and needed instead of just frittering it away. Ultimately, we've spoken out against silly budget games that will come out from the legislature.

WCT: Smaller vendors face exceedingly difficult circumstances when the state is not able to pay on time. Your website mentions that you try to "build partnerships with small businesses and social service organizations." How do you prioritize the order in which they get paid?

JBT: We have programs in with these funds that don't lend themselves to that. A hospital is not nursing home, which is not a small business, and so on. You can't you really get a one-size fits all solution. When you have things that have to get paid by law, or when they're in a fund because they pay for [needs for] children, they immediately go to the front of the line, by law. I have deal with our investors, by law. I have deal with our payroll. It has to go up front, by law. That's just a fact of life.

After that, we try to do our not-for-profits, because our not-for-profits depend on funding, and you're dealing with our most vulnerable citizens—your old, your sick, your mentally challenged and physically challenged. Really they have nowhere else to go. So I want to make sure that they have first notice, so that they keep going. Otherwise, we're going to be throwing people out on the street. People will call us from just about anywhere—legislators, aldermen, people on the street, parents. We check them out. If the need is there, we will try to expedite the payment. If we can't get them all of the money they have coming, we'll try to get them part of the money. We'll try to pay them in a predictable fashion, so that they can make book on it, so they're not hanging out to dry. We try to build that predictability in.

After that, we try to do small businesses because they can't ride out not being paid. … I don't want to lose them because small businesses generate jobs. Everyone else is "come as you are." ... I think that's a fair way of doing it.

WCT: How would you characterize your relationships with Gov. Quinn and the legislature?

JBT: Very cordial. I'm very comfortable working both sides of the aisle. I come from a long history of working with the legislature so when you come from there, you know your way around fairly well. With Quinn, it's a good, professional relationship. It's okay. It's very comfortable. Nothing special, but it's comfortable.

WCT: You spoke of having a "heart attack" were tax rates to be rolled back. Why do you think there would be problems ahead if the tax rates would fall back to their earlier levels?

JBT: There are always problems, even if the income tax stays. If it's done in an orderly fashion, the way Toni Preckwinkle handled that awful one-cent sales tax that Stroger put out there, where she did it incrementally. If you do it incrementally and it can get you to where you're going, there isn't a sudden shock. It wouldn't just be a shock to the system of the body politic of the state of Illinois, it would be a shock to the system of me. It would give me a heart attack because I couldn't pay for it. I would just run out of money and we would have some real problems.

WCT: You have butted heads with your own party because you have been pro-choice and supportive of gay rights, among other matters. What keeps you in the Republican Party?

JBT: The Republican Party has been known for being independent. People go their own way. I'm a Republican because I think the Republican Party stands for small government. I don't like government spawning all over. The more bureaucracy you have, the harder it is to navigate and the more miserable it is for the public, and the more costly it is. I like the fiscal end of it. I like to make sure we get what we paid for and that it's well handled.

But I'm a moderate. I've always been a social moderate and I make no bones about it. I voted for the Equal Rights Amendment when I was in the legislature, gay rights—I could never understand what the problem was with gay rights. Jeepers, gay people are people. There's rights under the constitution, everybody's supposed to have them, and it bugs me when folks pick on gays or anybody else. I have a lot of gay people working in my office; they're wonderful employees. We don't single them out, or anything; they're just part of the family.

WCT: What role does the comptroller play in securing equal rights and protections for LGBT Illinoisans?

JBT: I think part of it is being visual and vocal about it. If you're a constitutional officer, theoretically you've got some status and you serve as somewhat of a role model. I know I've always tried to live my life as somewhat of a role model. When I get that bully pulpit going, I'm out there in the forefront. I [supported] civil unions and marriage equality, and I don't want to see gay people harassed in any capacity, because that's not fair. I'll get down and fight for that cause, because I believe in what's fair.

Visit .

This article shared 3522 times since Wed Oct 29, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker announces campaign to increase COVID-19 booster rates among older Illinoisans 2021-10-20
--From a press release - CHICAGO — With 1.5 million Illinoisans currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination booster shot and millions more set to become eligible in the coming weeks, Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) ...

Gay News

EI celebrates Pritzker for increase in LGBTQ leaders appointed to state boards, commissions 2021-10-19
--From a Equality Illinois press release - CHICAGO — On October 1, 2021, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker released his 2021 Boards and Commissions Appointment Demographics Report. The bottom line of the report is that a wider cross section of Illinoisans are applying and ...

Gay News

Ald. Maria Hadden encourages community to be active participants 2021-10-18
By Cris Villalonga-Vivoni - AIt was Chicago Ald. Maria Hadden's friends who convinced her to run for city council as the 49th Ward's alderperson. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Hadden moved to Rogers Park 20 years ago after graduating from The ...

Gay News

Lightfoot, Chicago to celebrate WNBA champion Chicago Sky Oct. 19 with parade, rally 2021-10-18
--From a press release - CHICAGO — The City of Chicago will celebrate the 2021 WNBA Champion Chicago Sky on Tuesday, Oct. 19, with a downtown parade and rally. The parade will begin at 11AM when the team departs from Wintrust ...

Gay News

Colin Powell dies from COVID-19 complications 2021-10-18
- Colin Powell—the first Black U.S. secretary of state, whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape the country's foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st—died from ...

Gay News

WORLD Plus magazine, The Guardian, Dutch princess, anti-trans ruling 2021-10-17
- The largest circulated HIV publication in the country, Plus, unveiled its 25 Amazing People of the Year, per a press release. Just a few of the individuals are actor Billy Porter; Mandisa Nikita Dukashe: South African ...

Gay News

Activists speak about former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's LGBTQ legacy 2021-10-14
by Max Lubbers - LGBTQ+ advocates reflected on former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's legacy at Center on Halsted Oct. 13, discussing his role in the city's Human Rights Ordinance and outreach to the LGBTQ+ community. A display of 1980s Windy ...

Gay News

Rosa Escareno named interim head of Chicago Park District 2021-10-13
- Former Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno has been named the interim general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. In an Oct. 13 statement, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ...

Gay News

President Biden appoints Debra Shore to key EPA position 2021-10-12
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today President Joe Biden appointed former LGBTQ Victory Institute board chair Debra Shore to be the next Region Five Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency — representing six states in the Midwest and ...

Gay News

WORLD Japan politics, video games, lesbian tennis player, Mr. Gay World 2021-10-10
- LGBTQ+-rights activists were hoping Japan would finally allow same-sex marriage if Taro Kono, who has publicly supported same-sex marriage, became the country's next prime minister—but their hopes were dashed. Japan's ...

Gay News

Chicago Park CEO resigns amid sexual-harassment scandal 2021-10-10
- On Oct. 9, Chicago Park District CEO and General Superintendent Michael P. Kelly announced his resignation amid a controversy over sexual harassment and abuse, WGN-TV reported. Kelly released a statement to the public and Board President ...

Gay News

Activist Rick Garcia seeks to be MWRD commissioner 2021-10-09
- Longtime LGBTQ- and human-rights activist Rick Garcia announced he is running for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), and has asked Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker to appoint him to the seat Debra Shore is vacating to ...

Gay News

Homophobic comments from N.C. lieutenant governor surface 2021-10-08
- Controversy is swirling around North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson after video surfaced of what he said at a June event, according to There's no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child ...

Gay News

Toni Preckwinkle addresses security incidents 2021-10-08
- Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle released a statement regarding two recent situations connected with her security detail. "In the past few months, there have been two separate incidents when members of my Executive Detail have ...

Gay News

Report: Debra Shore to run EPA's Midwest operations 2021-10-07
- Debra Shore—a longtime commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and member of the LGBTQ+ community—will be selected to run Midwest operations for the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Politico. ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.