For all that I am a believer in a quality college education, I am far from being a degree snob. It actually irritates the hell out of me. I have a BA from an excellent University (our very own University of Illinois) and I have a MS from a University that was eh. I chose my graduate program because it was a topic that I loved, being put in the context of a field I was fascinated by (Historic Preservation Planning/Cultural Geography....it was at Eastern Michigan University) but the experience wasn't comparable to my undergraduate experience. My master's program turned out not to be as challenging as I would have hoped but it actually taught me something exceedingly important....that sometimes you have to challenge yourself and not wait for someone else to do it. My husband has no college degree, one sister of mine has an RN and my other sister started with a bachelor's from ISU and went on to get a master's degree and a Ph.D from two excellent schools (Indiana University and Penn State). I like all of us a hell of a lot and don't see the array of degrees, certifications or lack thereof as having any bearing on our competence and abilities. Different choices, different availabilities, yes, but I would be as happy to support somebody without a degree for political office as I would somebody with one. Yes, the degree says something, but it is not the only indicator. There are many more.
So, with that wordiness out of the way....I don't care if Carol Ammons has a bachelor's degree or not. INTEGRITY however? That's a BIG FREAKING deal for me. BIG, BIG freaking deal. And that is something that I can't shrug my shoulders about.
So this issue about Carol Ammons having a degree from an organization that certainly has every hallmark of being a diploma mill? It's a big integrity deal to me....it's not an issue of whether she has a degree or not. I want to make that clear. It's an issue because it is crystal clear from what I have read that this is NOT a degree from a University with reasonable requirements for a student that are at all comparable to other institutions. So she is either trying to pull something over us or she's dumb as a rock. Either possiblity is just a TINY bit of a problem for someone who would be representing a State of Illinois Congressional district housing both the State's flagship University and Parkland College.
I read about the fact that Eric Jakobsson had brought up this issue with Carol Ammon's resume in the News-Gazette. I also spoke briefly to Sam Rosenberg about it a few days ago. It was clear from my conversation with Sam that this was NOT something he had brought up and while he would comment politely, and make his educational transcripts available....this wasn't his bailiwick. I am a huge admirer of Eric Jakobsson and also have the greatest faith imaginable in his integrity. He brought this up because he sees it as a problem that the voting public should know about and I damned well agree.
Today I read the thread on Big Debbie's House, a local political blog and WOW. Fascinating, and frankly pretty damn entertaining. It's serious, serious stuff though. I highly recommend you take a look at it. After reading some of the comments and research done on this issue I am blown away that Ammons' only response was to attack Sam Rosenberg for a smear campaign.
As I said in my last post, in regard to Sam Rosenberg, I believe he is "he is smart, energetic, enthusiastic, committed to the community and to the ideals and philosophies we believe in, and that Naomi Jakobsson has represented so well. We wholeheartedly support him." After this ridiculousness has been brought to light, I feel more strongly than ever that he truly is the candidate that we must elect for 103rd District. I'm sure I'll write more about Sam at another time but today...I just got so wound up reading about all of this that I had to spit it all out here.
And, as always, when I write about something political, local or not, I miss my parents. I can see my Dad grinning and my mother saying, "Why Cynthia! Very nice" and smiling at me. They would have had their 62nd anniversary on Ground Hog's Day. I miss them so. And THEY would be voting for Sam Rosenberg I can tell you that much!!!!
Oh, and one more thing. I'm a little confused---if someone can clear this up.... As I went to the candidates' web sites to get the links to embed in this post I saw that Carol Ammons states that Personal PAC has endorsed her, and yet, the other night Sam Rosenberg announced they had endorsed him...and there is a scan of a letter on his site. Am I getting confused? Are there two different organizations? This is a sincere question....let me know. (UPDATE....see answer in comments below----Personal PAC endorses all pro-choice candidates. Got it--thanks Big Debbie!).