Springfield State Journal Register

June 28, 2006

Blagojevich, Daley present wish lists

2016 Olympics bid among governor's hopes for Chicago

WASHINGTON - Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley delivered their annual "wish list" for the state and city to the Illinois congressional delegation Tuesday.

It calls for continued funding of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield and the Illinois River Basin Restoration project, as well as broader statewide goals, such as increased funding for homeland security, affordable housing and Medicaid.

After a private lunch with the lawmakers, Blagojevich told reporters he strongly supports Daley's proposal to bring the Olympics to Chicago and that the state would help financially if needed. Chicago is one of five U.S. cities that have indicated an interest in hosting the 2016 summer Olympic games.

"The idea of having the Olympics in Chicago is a fantastic idea. We're in the mix," Blagojevich said. "We're cautiously optimistic. It will be tough, but we're interested in being as helpful as possible."

Asked about funding, the governor said: "The state would be prepared to help in the event that it was necessary."

Daley said no federal money is being sought at this time.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he didn't know if the state's entire congressional delegation was on board the Olympic bid.

"We haven't circulated any letters, taken any votes or anything like that," said Durbin, who hosted the lunch in his U.S. Capitol office suite.

On Monday, Blagojevich held two fundraisers for his re-election campaign - one in Washington and one in Boston, hosted by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Blagojevich said he was heading back to Illinois Tuesday afternoon for a meeting with Honda Motor Co. executives, during which he hoped to persuade them to locate a plant near Danville, as opposed to neighboring states.

However, an Ohio newspaper reported Tuesday that Honda has chosen a site in Indiana for its new North American auto plant.

---

Dori Meinert can be reached at (202) 737-7686 or dori.meinert@copleydc.com