Steve Shearer is well-known by folks who follow politics. He’s been a part of Aaron Schock’s political life almost from day one. At one time he was Schock’s chief of staff. Like Schock, Shearer has been questioned by the F.B.I. And like Schock, Shearer could be indicted, at least that’s what’s floating around in political circles.

Undaunted by his fall from some degree of political stardom, Shearer has gone to work for Peoria County Board member Brian Elsasser. Elsasser is making a third try for higher office. He wants to win the Republican nomination for Dave Leitch’s 73rd District House seat.

While under investigation by the F.B.I., Shearer sent out a scathing attack piece against Jim Montelongo and Ryan Spain, Peoria councilmen. Both Republicans had announced plans to run for the House seat occupied by Leitch. Shearer, who twice served on Montelongo’s campaigns, ripped into his “friend,” while bragging about himself. Shearer wrote, “(Montelongo) lost miserably against Jehan Gordon in 2010 because he did nothing to fulfill the elaborate plan I laid out for him. Absolutely nothing.” Shearer continued, “If we are Jim Montelongo’s friend, we need to do whatever is necessary to keep him from walking off a cliff and humiliating himself.”

Montelongo has quit.

Shearer’s six-page attack also went after Ryan Spain, saying, “Spain may be able to sell ice cream to an Eskimo but he has sold out the interests of Republicans too many times to be trusted with this appointment.” Shearer complained that Spain accepted a $500 campaign contribution from Democrat Dave Koehler. Shearer criticized Spain for being a registered lobbyist without mentioning that’s what his OSF Saint Francis job entails. He represents the health care industry in Springfield. That alone makes him far more qualified than Elsasser.

What makes Shearer’s rambling diatribe so sad is he’s an officer of the Peoria County Republican Central Committee. That position demands support for all Republicans in primary and general elections. An officer of the party should show no partisanship, unless, of course, your name is Shearer.

Finally, Shearer failed to list any political achievements by Elsasser during his 15 years on the county board. Not one! He did say he sold a lot of tickets to Republican dinners and he went to Republican dinners in all area counties in the last 10 years. And, oh yes, he said Elsasser is an Apostolic Christian which is “another strong base in this tight knit community.” Can you imagine someone saying the same about a Catholic, an African-American, or a Jew?

I don’t know how much of the $50,000 Elsasser brags he has will be paid to Shearer, but the six-page attack letter isn’t worth much. Shame on Shearer for distributing it. Due to the FBI inquiry and the letter, he should resign from the Republican Central Committee.


Sharing the political spotlight with Republican Steve Shearer for poor judgment is Democrat Richard Burns, who’s suing Republicans Darin LaHood and Aaron Schock for defamation. Burns was defeated by Republican Brad Harding for District 16 of the Peoria County Board last November. Almost a year later he’s now complaining he lost because of a letter signed by Schock and LaHood that was sent to District 16 voters. In his lawsuit, the Peoria County farmer says the letter falsely accused him of cheating at farm shows, damaging his reputation. The letter, says Burns, claimed he raised championship hogs and he doesn’t. Also named in the lawsuit is the Peoria County Republican Central Committee, but not his winning opponent, Brad Harding. Burns claims the suit is not political, but his wife, Colleen Callahan, unsuccessfully ran against Schock, losing by a large margin. I may be stepping into something on the farm by talking about this subject, but I’m not the only one.


We erroneously predicted the selection of Ryan Spain to be appointed as Darin LaHood’s replacement as state senator. Fellow councilman Chuck Weaver got the nod, in essence, from Gov. Bruce Rauner. We congratulate Chuck. With his experience and intellect, Weaver will make an outstanding state senator.

While we missed the selection, we do know about another Peoria office holder who was in the running and was interviewed by the Illinois governor in Chicago. And it was not

Brian Elsasser. Guess who? Inquiring people like the newspaper would like to know, but they don’t.


After Chuck Weaver was selected by Republican county chairpersons to replace LaHood, the Peoria Journal editorialized about the lack of transparency in the process. The editorial, as usual, was unsigned, illustrating its own lack of transparency. The newspaper regularly holds interviews with elected officials and candidates that are held in secret behind closed doors. The public is barred entry and only learns about them, when, and if, they decide to write their sanitized version of what was discussed.

The process for which the editorial was so critical is called a caucus. It dates as far back as 1763 when John Adams wrote about it in his diary. It’s something that’s part of both political parties at all levels of government, including the Peoria County Board. I remember one night when the board took a recess so each party could caucus regarding committee assignments. PJS reporter Jennifer Davis was miffed because we kept her out. The meeting resumed, business was conducted and life went on. The editorial writer needs to go back to high school and retake a course in Civics. Night courses are available.


Stunned by the Illinois Central College decision to end programming on WAZU-FM that included “Breakfast with Royce and Roger,” we’ve been seeking other radio opportunities without success. Jeremy Styninger, who holds the license for FM 90.7, has flatly stated he’s not interested in continuing our morning show. We’re considering broadcasting on the Internet. Meanwhile, thanks to everyone for their wonderful words and letters of support. It beats medication.


“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” –Marcel Proust

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