Delegating Denver #17 of 56: Illinois

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Total Number of Delegates: 185 Pledged: 153 Unpledged: 32

How to Recognize an Illinois Delegate: Since October 12, 2007, Illinois state law requires all children to observe a moment of silence at the start of every school day. This is not some wishy-washy compromise cooked up by the Cook County liberals to diminish the down-state Bible Belters' push for prayer in public schools. This is a statewide effort, focusing on the youngest citizens, to demonstrate the importance of giving the Illinoisan mouth a minute of rest. In a word, Illinoisans are Illinoisy. They seemingly created America's third-largest city out of thin (hot) air, and Chicago, in turn, spawned the tabloid TV talk shows Donahue and Oprah. The don’t call it the windy city for nothing: Prairie Staters simply will not shut up. Look for delegates who start each of their thoughts with a rhetorical question, which they will quickly answer, citing numerous examples punctuated with pithy observations and inside jokes. All personal reflection is shared frequently and out loud — not necessarily as a way to engage anyone else, but because Illinoisans would rather hear their own great musings than the lesser ideas of others.

Famous Illinoisans: Actors Buddy Ebsen and Sean Hayes; comedians Bill Murray, John Belushi and Bob Odenkirk; sex advisor Dan Savage; arcane playwright David Mamet; adventure novelist Clive Cussler; McSweeney's editor David Eggers; musicians Muddy Waters, Miles Davis, Grace Slick, Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder, Billy Corgan, Ludacris and Andrew Bird; morning -show anchor Harry Smith; model Cindy Crawford; movie critic Roger Ebert; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Famous Illinois Democrats: 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton; first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, Carol Moseley-Braun; 31st governor of Illinois Adlai Stevenson; mayor-for-life Richard J. Daley, son of mayor-for-life Richard M. Daley; Harold Washington; Jesse Jackson Jr.

Famous Illinoisans With Denver Connections: Sports Castle, Woodbury Branch Library and Chief Hosa Lodge Architect Jacques Benedict; His Royal Highness Mayor Wellington Webb; nutty professor Ward Churchill; lovely Westword editor Patricia Calhoun; lively Westword writer Drew Bixby; CBS News4 reporters Jim Benemann, Raj Chohan and Rick Sallinger; 9News weathernerd Nick Carter; Denver Broncos safety John Lynch; CU Buff basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik.

State Nickname: The Prairie State, the Land of Lincoln (official); Illinoid, the Constant Highway Construction State (unofficial); FIBs, short for Fucking Illinois Bastards (Wisconsin only) Population: 12,831,970 Racial Distribution: 66% white, 15% black, 4% Asian, 15% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $33,690 Unemployment: 7%

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ILLINOIS DELEGATES Most Illinoisan Denver Neighborhood: Kennedy

Most Illinoisan Bar: DC 10 940 Lincoln Street A sixth of all canceled flights in the U.S. originate at Illinois airports. Put the Ill-annoyance on standby with a layover at Denver's airliner-themed nightclub. The space-age deejays guarantee a smooth takeoff.

Most Illinoisan Restaurant: Bang! 3472 West 32nd Avenue Bang! brothers Chris and Jeff Oakley are Illinois natives whose contemporary cuisine, with a down-home twist, will give Prairie Staters something (more) to talk about.

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Best Day Trip: Chicago Creek to Mount Evans Illinois is home to the tallest building in North America. Therefore, it's only fitting that Illinois delegates drive to the top of Mount Evans on the highest paved road in North America. Illinoisans won't be able to see their Sears Tower, but they will be able to see lots of their own home state. Travel west on I-70 to exit 240, where the interchange virtually covers the site of the Chicago Mining Company, the state's first large-scale mining operation. Follow Colorado Highway 103 south along Chicago Creek as it climbs up to Echo Lake Park. The 617-acre park sits at 10,600 feet above sea level. Picnic shelters for the Denver Mountain Park system were designed by Illinois native Jacques Benedict. The 1920s-era stone and timber lodge offers restaurant services, souvenirs and restrooms. Just past the park is the Mount Evans road. Colorado Highway 5 climbs to Summit Lake Park, which, at 13,001 feet, is the City of Denver's highest park. The road ends at the parking lot of the Crest House, a restaurant that burned down on September 1, 1979, and was never rebuilt. A short path skirts the stone remains and leads to the 14,264-foot summit of Mount Evans, named for Colorado's second territorial governor as appointed by President Abraham Lincoln. John Evans was also the namesake for Evanston, Illinois, and is known for being one of the founders of both Northwestern University and the University of Denver.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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