Mary Hansen

Mary is a reporter at NPR Illinois and graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting program at UIS and received her BA in International Studies from American University. Previously Mary worked as a planning consultant and reported for the State Journal-Register where she covered city government.

Mary is a lifelong NPR listener since tuning into her home station WESA in Pittsburgh.

Just before noon on a recent Saturday, a group of political memorabilia collectors jostled for a spot around an exhibit table, checking their final bids in a silent auction.

They were in Springfield at the national American Political Items Collectors (APIC) conference. Most of the items up for auction at this table featured presidential candidates.


Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Last fall, JB Pritzker spoke to reporters after getting the nod from the Illinois Democratic County Chairs in Springfield. He told the crowd what his campaign was about.

"It's a lot about beating Bruce Rauner. But it isn't just about beating Bruce Rauner," the Hyatt Hotel heir and billionaire said. "It's about electing every Democrat, everywhere in this state. It's about building the biggest, strongest tent in Illinois politics. It's about being ready to win up and down the ballot."

NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on online shopping left two things clear – consumers who buy online will have to pay sales tax on more items, and some states will see more money from those online purchases.

In Illinois, one of the largest internet retailers, Amazon, has been collecting the tax from customers since 2015. And residents are asked on state income returns whether they’ve bought anything online so they can pay outstanding sales taxes, though many leave it blank.

Illinois is losing residents, according to recent census estimates, and common explanations include high taxes, unfriendly business policies or the state’s growing pension debt.

An article from the watchdog group Better Government Association examines those claims. The BGA’s senior editor, Bob Secter, says they distract from a deeper look at demographic trends.

Illinois will host what could be the most expensive race for governor in U.S. history. The huge increase in campaign spending raises a lot of questions about the rise of big money in politics. Between now and the election, Illinois Issues will examine the impact in a series we're calling Money Machines.

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