Many people are unaware that from 1945 to 1975, downstate lawmakers dominated the Illinois political arena. In TheDealmakers of Downstate Illinois, Robert E. Hartley details the lives and contributions of three influential southern Illinois politicians, Paul Powell, Clyde Choate, and John Stelle. He describes how these “dealmakers” were able to work with Democrats and Republicans throughout the state to bring jobs and facilities to their region. Using a variety of coalitions, they maintained downstate political strength in the face of growing Chicago influence. 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 Stelle’s 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 Powell’s relationship with Governor Stratton, Choate’s leadership of the 1972 Democratic National Convention and his relationships with Governor Walker and with Chicago interests. 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.
SPENCER SPEEDWAY LEGENDS 1957-1977 by Len Kasper SPENCER SPEEDWAY LEGENDS 1957-1977 was written using notes and journals kept by the author, and it tells an in-depth chronology of a racetrack in a suburb of Rochester, New York, over a twenty-year period. The storyline follows the drivers, owners, promoters, officials, and race crews that made this incredible history possible. It includes a multitude of behind-the-scenes information and personal stories with rare photographs from the author and from the racing families themselves. For those who lived through the period, it is a nostalgic trip back in time. For others, it will be a compelling journey through time where local tracks were evolving from jalopy tracks to professional racing circuits, and their drivers rose to national prominence.