Wednesday, May 11th
Flora Public Library
216 N Main Street
Flora, IL 62839-1510
Flora Public Library will host a book talk and signing by Robert E. Hartley featuring his new book, The Dealmakers of Downstate Illinois. The talk and signing will be on Wednesday, May 11, from 1:00-2:00pm, in the library community room. Copies of the paperback book will be available for $20.00.
Many people are unaware that for a period of about thirty years, downstate lawmakers dominated the Illinois political arena. In The Dealmakers of Downstate Illinois, Robert E. Hartley details the lives and contributions of the three most influential southern Illinois politicians, Paul Powell, Clyde Choate, and John Stelle, during the period 1945–75, showing how these “dealmakers” were able to work together to bring tremendous benefit to their region.
Hartley traces the personal histories of Powell, Choate, and Stelle, describes 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, honest tale of fighting on the chamber floor, backstabbing behind the scenes, and trading of special favors for votes in pursuit of not only personal gain but also the advancement of a neglected region.
Robert E. Hartley is the author of many books published by Southern Illinois University Press, including Battleground 1948: Truman, Stevenson, Douglas, and the Most Surprising Election in Illinois History and Paul Powell of Illinois: A Lifelong Democrat. He was a journalist for Lindsay-Schaub Newspapers in Illinois from 1962 to 1979 and served as executive editor of the Toledo Blade and as publisher of the Journal-American in Bellevue, Washington.