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Shawn Healy
Shawn Healy, the McCormick Foundation Civics Program’s resident scholar, serves as the in-house content expert and voice of program through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the McCormick Foundation, he served as a social studies teacher at the high school level, where he taught American Government, Economics, American History and Chicago History to juniors and seniors at Community High School in West Chicago. He also served as the faculty sponsor of the Junior State of America chapter and the Fed Challenge Team. Healy previously taught at Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin from 1999-2001 and also coached football, basketball and track. A 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin, he holds an MA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in political science and earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction in Political Science, History and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Healy is currently a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago specializing in American and urban politics.

Entries by Shawn Healy

Time to Double Down on Civic Learning

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 10:00 AM

Government paralysis cripples our country. Congress and the president can't pass a budget, and the federal government shuts down. Springfield fails to push pension reform, and a fiscal crisis deepens in Illinois. Steep pension payments stifle local governments, squeezing social services and school budgets.

As policymakers at every level grasp...

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Stevenson Students and Teachers Lead Way for Suffrage at 17

(0) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 4:01 PM

Despite the high-profile failures of the Illinois General Assembly (ILGA) this spring, it proved a highly-productive session for civic learning and engagement. In addition to creating a state task force on civic education and enabling online voter registration, the ILGA passed "Suffrage at 17" (

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Alternative Spring Break Gives CPS Students Voice Through Community Service

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 10:22 AM

Last week's downtown protest of Chicago Public Schools' decision to close 54 schools come June had a sizable contingent of student participants. Twenty-five of them were part of an Alternative Spring Break program coordinated by the Democracy Learning and Student Leadership Division of CPS. While the protest wasn't...

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Illinois Millennials Must Help Restore State's Civic Health

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2013 | 12:02 PM

It's time for Illinois Millennials to reclaim our democracy. With today's primaries and general local elections pending in April, our youngest citizens are presented with another opportunity to restore the balance between elected officials and the governed.

There is no better moment than now for Illinois Millennials to turn...

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Chicago's Civic Health Needs Resuscitation

(2) Comments | Posted December 8, 2010 | 5:11 PM

Our local democracy is characterized by a corrupt brand of politics known as the Chicago Way. While blame certainly lies at the feet of elected officials who have betrayed the public trust, culpability also rests with an apathetic citizenry complacent with the endemic corruption that surrounds us. We the people...

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No Apology

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2010 | 2:08 PM

One could argue that Governor Mitt Romney's rally to capture the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 rose from the ashes of his failed 2008 bid and the loss of his chief rival Senator John McCain to current president Barack Obama that November. In the interim, Romney has raised money prolifically...

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Gay Marriage and the Governor's Race

(7) Comments | Posted February 24, 2010 | 12:39 PM

State Senator Bill Brady, the Republican gubernatorial nominee-in-waiting, recently proposed five amendments to the Illinois Constitution. Four of them address fiscal and ethical matters, while the fifth would hereafter ban both gay marriage and civil unions in the state. Given the Illinois' $13 billion budget deficit...

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Life Support for Lieutenant Governor

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2010 | 3:37 PM

In the last quarter-century, 24 lieutenant governors have been promoted to chief executives of their respective states, 14 on account of the career advancements of their predecessors (see Clinton, Bill, and Bush, George W.), 5 due to scandal-imposed resignations (see Blagojevich, Rod), and the other 5 death-related. Since statehood, 7...

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Illinois Primary Postmortem

(3) Comments | Posted February 4, 2010 | 12:23 PM

It's perhaps fitting that the 2010 Illinois primary was held on Groundhog's Day given that the outcome in both parties' gubernatorial races remained uncertain through this morning with the prospect of mutual "do-overs." Acknowledging that neither the Democratic nor Republican Party produced clear winners, and that a number of absentee...

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Hail Mary Mudslinging

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2010 | 1:19 PM

Last Monday, I spent Martin Luther King Day at the DuSable Museum of African American History on Chicago's South Side. While perusing the exhibits, I came across a lifelike, robotic Harold Washington seated in an office modeled after his city hall digs while he served as...

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What the Latest Boston Tea Party Means for the Land of Lincoln

(28) Comments | Posted January 20, 2010 | 4:06 PM

One year after President Barack Obama took the oath of office and pundits declared the beginning of Democratic ascendancy, the national political landscape has been dramatically transformed. Republican State Senator Scott Brown's stunning victory over Attorney General Martha Coakley yesterday in the Massachusetts special election to replace the...

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Prehistoric Print Endorsements?

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2010 | 5:29 PM

It's newspaper endorsement season once more, and the rival Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune have cooked up different recipes for eager readers and recalcitrant voters. With the February 2 state primary in Illinois inching ever closer, these major dailies clearly feel obligated to weigh in on what to date has been...

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Cook County Wars

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2010 | 3:25 PM

During the mid-1980s, Chicago's city council evolved from a "rubber stamp" on mayoral priorities to an open battle that all but stymied African-American Mayor Harold Washington's reform agenda. He later co-opted former remnants of the machine constructed by a string of Irish-American mayors hailing from Bridgeport, and also fought for...

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Swinging Senators to Be

(7) Comments | Posted December 17, 2009 | 11:31 AM

Seven more shopping days until Christmas, and a mere forty more until voters must make their Election Day decisions for who will represent the Democratic, Republican, and Green parties on the ballot next November in Illinois. Yesterday's attendees of the Union League Club's Democratic U.S. Senatorial Candidate Forum...

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Canvassing in Cyberspace

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2009 | 12:20 PM

Via Twitter, Illinois Comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Hynes likes Notre Dame's hire of Brian Kelly as head football coach and hopes he brings the school their first national championship in more than two decades.

On his home page, State Senator Dan Rutherford and treasurer candidate just...

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Senate Sextet

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2009 | 11:39 AM

On Saturday, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate brought health care reform to the floor of the body with a strict party line vote, 60-39 -- the bare minimum to stave off a Republican-led filibuster. Unlike the House, a supermajority is often required to pass legislation in the Senate to invoke cloture...

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State's Civic Health on Life Support

(1) Comments | Posted November 18, 2009 | 3:00 PM

The political climate in Illinois is nothing less than a national embarrassment. Last January, we impeached and removed our sitting governor from office. Come next June, he will face trial on charges that will likely lead to imprisonment, making him the fourth of the last seven Illinois governors to go...

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Gubernatorial Gambit

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2009 | 12:00 PM

This coming June, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's criminal trial resumes, and it is likely to lead him to a place that his predecessors have already frequented: prison. During the intervening months, both parties will hold primaries to select his successor, hoping for an alternative fate regardless of the victor....

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Sonia and the Supremes

(4) Comments | Posted August 10, 2009 | 10:48 AM

On Thursday, Judge Sonia Sotomayor won confirmation as the 111th U.S. Supreme Court Justice, with the Senate voting 68 to 31 in her favor. The third woman and the first Latina to land on the High Court, Sotomayor's ascendancy can be attributed to a number of factors, including...

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Blago Bracketted

(3) Comments | Posted August 3, 2009 | 8:11 PM

Those searching for a quick primer on the pay-to-play scandal starring former Governor Rod Blagojevich that continues to cripple the State of Illinois would be wise to pick up Elizabeth Brackett's Pay to Play. The 236-page tome paints a portrait of a corrupt city and state, where Rod Blagojevich...

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