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Hartley traces the personal histories of Powell, Choate, and Stelle, shows how they teamed up to advance a downstate political agenda, and reviews their challenges and successes. Beginning with an account of early experiences, including the battlefield courage that earned Choate the Medal of Honor as well as Stelleâs World War I experience and later entrepreneurship, the book continues with an exploration of the groundwork for their collaborative legislative agenda and their roles in the growth of Southern Illinois University and the passage of income tax legislation. Hartley reviews the importance of Powellâs relationship with Governor Stratton, Choateâs leadership of the 1972 Democratic National Convention and his relationships with Governor Walker and with Chicago interests.Â
The Dealmakers of Downstate Illinois is a vivid, straightforward tale of fighting in the legislative chambers, backstabbing behind the scenes, and trading special favors for votes in pursuit of not only personal gain but also the advancement of a regional agenda.
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