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Simon talks to IMSA students about improving ethics in state government
Kane County Chronicle
March 9, 2012
By Eric Schelkopf
AURORA – With one former governor sitting in federal prison and another former governor set to go to prison next week, Illinois might not have the most stellar record when it comes to ethics.
But as Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon told students at the Illinois Math and Science Academy on Thursday, there is room for hope.
“We are after all, the Land of Lincoln,” Simon told students as part of the school’s “Considerations in Ethics” program.
Simon told the students that improving ethics in the state government has been a goal of hers. Simon is the daughter of the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon.
“He was a model for an ethical leader,” IMSA President Max McGee said in introducing Simon.
Prior to taking office, Sheila Simon served on the Illinois Reform Commission, a 15-member panel created in the wake of former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s arrest that aimed to clean up state government.
Simon said she has been working to “keep better control of how money mixes with politics.”
One of the way she is trying to do that is pushing for more disclosure that would reveal potential conflicts of interest. But a line has to be drawn, she said.
“Getting too much private information out in the public might discourage some people from running for office,” Simon said.
Students peppered Simon with questions, such as whether the way Illinois schools are funded is ethical.
Simon said she would like to see changes in the current system.
“The quality of education now is largely dependent on the zip code you are living in,” she said.
IMSA teacher Lee Eysturlid, who teaches the “Considerations in Ethics” program, thought Simon was the perfect person to talk to the students.
“I wanted someone who could tell them what state ethic legislation looks like,” he said. “Who could do it better?”
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