The MIG Journal: Party Leaders Share Their Thoughts
At the heart of the impassioned debates of Model Illinois Government stand the party leadership. Our journalists caught up with the party leaders from both chambers to hear their thoughts on how things went.
Saturday, March 2 FINAL EDITION
Senate Majority Leader Dan Fogarty
Over the past view days we have been able to see the progression of leadership skills in all areas. Today we have had the chance to see the Senate shine while engaging in debates at the Illinois Capitol building. The Senate Majority Leader Dan Fogarty (D-Prairie State College) as well as his party have had a long first day of full floor debates and so we decided to ask about how he as majority leader thinks it went.
“Phenomenal, under two days at MIG and we have already even passed bipartisan bills. It has been extremely functional and positive for both side of the aisle. I am proud of us, we have done even what our own government struggles to do.”
When asked what what were some weaker points of today Senator Fogarty responded how he had felt that he himself had used up a bit more time than initially anticipated and his party at time had lost some form of decorum. With the amount of the party that were ready and passionate when and prior to speaking had a bit of an issue maintain decorum when the plan deviated. He hopes and believes that this will be a prompt fix.
Majority Leader Fogarty looks to improve a few other areas as well. Although his fellow senators were informed he does hope to have both smoother and better prepared caucuses within in party. The caucus while still effective just felt to have fell flat and he knows it can go better.
Overall the Senate had a simulation today that in the words of Majority Leader Fogarty “Today exceeded expectations. I can proudly say today both parties came together.”
House Majority Leader Layla Werner
Before the House floor sessions concluded tonight, I had the chance to catch up with Majority Leader Layla Werner (D-NIU) and get her thoughts on how the debates had been going so far. Personally, I saw a great variance of extremely partisan bills with harsh, but respectful, discussion, as well as relatively bipartisan bills that got support from both sides of the aisle.
When asked her views on how the sessions had been going, Werner stated that she thinks, “they’ve been more tame than they usually are,” as typically the delegates are, “at each other’s throats.” She concurred with me about the show of bipartisanship and noted that, “there’s also been really good debate from both sides.” She also summed up the central lesson that I saw from viewing the House sessions as well as I’m sure the representatives all learned. The Majority Leader said, “I’m really happy that this year the leadership has been more willing to reach across the aisle and let people speak their conscious…vote their conscious.”
This piece of wisdom was one that has been echoed throughout all committees, floor action, as well as the MIG journal thus far. That while both sides of the aisle differ extremely on a lot of issues, there is always a chance to come together and rise in support of a bill that helps the citizens of the state of Illinois. She concluded on the topic of bipartisanship where Werner stated that, “that is extremely important in politics,” and I’m sure we can all concur. With two hours left of session for both the Senate and House, let’s hope to see a show of fire, passion, respectfulness, agreement, and bipartisanship.
Senate Minority Leader Will Truman
Many strengths of the Minority Senate came to light throughout the past few days. It appeared well-run because of the clear camaraderie between all the leadership positions and the rest of the delegates. Minority Senate Leader Will Truman (R-LLCC) was kind enough to sit down and discuss his understanding of the floor sessions. Truman spoke highly of his delegates; they were the kind of people that would step up when needed and their points were well articulated, so it did not seem difficult to pull the passion out of them.
Communication was key during their time together. Much of it came from the leadership-whip combos because it was made a point from the beginning that the whip’s roles were crucial to the outcome of each bill. In a short amount of time, the whips became more and more comfortable talking to all their delegates to the point where they would coordinate with delegates across the aisle with the hopes that they will be willing to speak on the minority side.
As for the rest of the weekend, Truman stated that he hopes that they will “continue to work together” and continue advocating for his delegates to speak frequently. He sees their voices as unique with all that they bring to the table. He anticipates the relationship between him and the Majority Leader Dan Fogarty (D-Prairie State College) will remain competent and strong. They were in constant contact despite their differences in opinion about the purpose and need for each bill. He stated that Fogarty is very “open-minded” and is an all around “good person to talk to”. The rapport between the leadership is what keeps the organization running as efficiently as it does.
At the end of day three, MIG is slowly coming to an end. Before we finalize our first, second, or even fifth year at this simulation we must take the time to understand how much work has been put into this because it clearly shows. This is an experience for everyone to digest in their own way, and with well-run chambers it only exacerbates the proficiency of MIG and all that it stands for.