Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and Jesse Tyler Ferguson attend the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act press conference at James R. Thompson Center on January 2, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)
Back in February, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon dumped herself as Gov. Pat Quinn’s running mate, saying she could be “more effective in another office.”
Now, we’re finding out which one. According to
an item in Michael Sneed’s Sun-Times column
, “Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon showed up at a Dem pre-slating meeting at the Hotel Allegro Thursday to pitch her desire to run for [Attorney General Lisa] Madigan’s job.”
Simon has already announced that she’ll run for Attorney General if Lisa Madigan runs for governor. But so far, she’s only given one reason for seeking that office: because she’s the daughter of the late Sen. Paul Simon, one of the most beloved politicians in modern Illinois history. Here’s a letter Simon wrote just before Father’s Day, flogging her father’s legacy:
With Fathers Day coming up, many of us are thinking about our dads. And even though my dad has been gone for many years, I still think about him every day.
Folks around the state remember my dad as well. I hear stories of how Dad, as a Congressman or Senator, advocated for civil rights across our state, or they remember his days as a crusading journalist calling out corruption. And I hear about his appetite for cheeseburgers at places like the Red Barn, a Springfield eatery that long ago served its last fries.
But the one thing I hear most often goes something like this, “I didn’t agree with your dad on everything, but I appreciated his honesty.”
I’ll never get tired of that message.
It’s a reminder that honesty is a value that we all share, no matter what disagreements we might have on issues. And it’s a standard I aspire to uphold in my own public service.
So when we see each other next time, or the next time we talk on the phone, don’t be shy about telling me your stories about my dad. I love those stories.
The irony here is that Paul Simon made his name as a crusader for good government in a state notorious for corruption and cronyism. And now his daughter is playing the nepotism card harder than it’s ever been played by a Daley, a Madigan, a Lipinski, a Cullerton, a Burke or a Jones. The substance of that letter is, “I don’t know which office I’m going to ask you to vote me into, but whichever office it is, vote for me because I’m a Simon.”
The highest office to which Simon has been elected on her own is Carbondale City Council. She lost a race for mayor of her hometown, and then Gov. Pat Quinn picked her to replace Scott Lee Cohen, the pawnbroker and massage enthusiast who won the 2010 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. After he was implicated in the 1950s quiz show scandal, Charles Van Doren, son of Illinois-born Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Van Doren, wrote that he had “flown too high on borrowed wings.”
We’re about to find out whether Simon can fly without her father’s wings.