ICPR Announces Paul Simon Public Service Awards

ICPR announced Wednesday that the 2006 Paul Simon Public Service Award will be presented to Mike Lawrence, Newton Minow and the editorial page of the Peoria Journal Star.

Sheila Simon, daughter of ICPR founder Paul Simon, will present the awards
at an event in Chicago on May 10.

-- Mike Lawrence, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at
Southern Illinois University, will be recognized for his contributions
to better government through a distinguished career in public service
and journalism. A journalist for 25 years, Lawrence was chief of the
state capital bureaus for Lee Enterprises and the Chicago Sun-Times,
and he continues to win high praise for his policy analyses appearing
on commentary pages of Illinois newspapers. He was press secretary
and senior policy advisor to Gov. Jim Edgar for nearly a decade.
Lawrence joined the Institute in 1997 as associate director and worked
closely with Paul Simon in developing the Institute into a "do tank"
working to improve government, rather than the "think tank" approach
of other policy institutes.

-- Newton Minow, a former Chairman of the Federal Communications
Commission, will be honored for his long commitment to improving the
quality of American broadcasting, including his efforts to increase
and improve issue-based coverage of election campaigns. Minow has
served as Chairman of the Carnegie Corporation and the Public
Broadcasting Service; served on numerous presidential commissions; co-
chaired the 1976 and 1980 presidential debates; and is a director of
the Commission on Presidential Debates. He is the Annenberg Professor
of Communications Law and Policy at Northwestern University and is
senior counsel in the Chicago office of Sidley Austin LLP.

-- The Peoria Journal Star editorial page will be recognized for its
consistent and strong advocacy of good government and campaign finance
reform. Editorial Page Editor Mike Bailey will be accepting the award
for the paper. For many years, the Peoria Journal Star has been a
tenacious watchdog of public funds, shining a spotlight on waste and
abuse, as well as praising good public servants. "Illinois has the
dubious distinction of being scandal-prone, but we also have an
abundance of excellent daily editorial pages trying to improve our
system," Canary said. "While we don't see eye-to-eye on every issue,
no one does a better job of holding the politicians' feet to the fire.
No one does a better job of asking the right questions, demanding
answers and giving readers a clear, keen perspective."

Simon, who died in 2003, founded the non-profit, non-partisan ICPR in 1999, and ICPR created the Paul Simon Public Service Awards in his honor in 2004. The award recognizes individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary contributions to civic life and public participation in the state of Illinois. Previous award winners are Dawn Clark Netsch and Abner Mikva.

The May 10 event will be hosted by comedian Aaron Freeman and will include a showing of odd and funny campaign commercials. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at Fado Irish Pub and Restaurant, 100 W. Grand Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $50 with proceeds benefiting ICPR. Donations to ICPR are tax-deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.

ICPR's work has included helping to pass and now monitor enforcement of the state's ethics law; researching and reporting of contribution and expenditure trends in elections; encouraging informed and issue-oriented debate in judicial elections; developing non-partisan, state-sponsored voter education guides; advocating increased and improved coverage of election campaigns by the broadcasters; and seeking passage of legislation to limit the influence of large contributors to political campaigns.

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