I am often asked if I miss working for State of Illinois government (“State”). I do. Sometimes.
I worked for the State for 5 and 1/2 years, and in full disclosure I truly loved it – the crisis management, the public policy debates and decisions, and the asbestos-ridden ceilings.
My first State job was as a Springfield-based attorney for the group health insurance program for state employees and retirees. In truth, I got the job more for my willingness to relocate from Chicago to Springfield, IL, than for my exceptional healthcare law chops (though I had some of those too).
I spent the next 16 months living in Springfield (initially on a borrowed inflatable mattress, later on a borrowed full-sized mattress, and then upgrading to my own apartment), and the experience was roughly what you might expect. When the legislature was in town, Springfield had an unmistakable electricity.
When they were out of town – it looked something like this===>
Fine – Springfield has less tumbleweeds than that.
For the following four years I worked for the State out of a Chicago office, but frequently headed down I-55 South towards the State Capitol. I really do hold some fond memories of S-patch (it’s too small for a field, so it’s more like spring-patch, get it?). Perhaps most of all, I miss the exceptionally gracious people that live there year-round, and very much long for the days of eating authentic buffalo chicken horseshoe sandwiches (see below – YUM!). If that surprises you, you must not have read my earlier post about Olive Garden.
This week I will return to Springfield after a hiatus from traveling there. My emotions have varied between nostalgic excitement, to deep thoughts on how to advance progressive policy issues, to sadness to have to be away from my family – even for one night.
I will use this trip to start rekindling my long-lost Springfield friendships and legislative advocacy – so look for me in the halls of the Capitol, and perhaps at my old horseshoe sandwich haunts. It’s time to get back in the game. Springfield, here I come.