Dec 12 2008

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is not a total jerk.

Published by at 7:05 PM under News and Trends,Savvy Sip Tips

With allegations of wire fraud, quid pro quo politics, and an attempt to sell the senate seat that President-Elect Barack Obama filled to the highest bidder, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has a lot of things to be worried about. The international media is ripping him apart, his approval ratings are (as of this morning) at 7% statewide, and everyone who is anyone is asking him to resign before he gets impeached.

With all the controversy surrounding Rod Blagojevich, it is easy to forget about the good that he’s been involved with while in politics. One of these examples came in October of 2007 when governor Blagojevich signed into law a bill permitting Illinois residents to purchase up to 12 cases of wine per year directly from any Illinois or out-of-state winery that obtains the necessary shipping licenses. This allowed wineries producing less than 25,000 gallons of wine a year to sell directly to retailers, something that become illegal post-prohibition.

Governor Rod Blagojevich was quoted as saying "Illinois has a vibrant and growing wine industry, which is quickly becoming an integral part of the state’s culture, as well as putting more and more people to work. This legislation builds on our ongoing efforts to promote Illinois wineries, and allows them to continue to expand and remain competitive."

This wasn’t the first time that governor Blagojevich has stuck up for the Illinois wine community. In 2005, he announced $83,000 to support several value-added agriculture projects in southern Illinois that then promoted the states growing wine industry and specialty crop markets. The funds, which were distributed as part of the Governors comprehensive Opportunity Returns economic development strategy, encouraged growth in niche markets of Illinois agriculture, such as wine.

One of the greatest aspects of our free nation is the notion that one is innocent until proven guilty. We here at Just Grapes aren’t tied to political agendas, and we most certainly believe in equality and fairness for all. If the governor is guilty, the courts will decide, but in the meantime, we’re going to enjoy the fact that anyone could start up a winery and compete directly with the big boys, at least in Illinois.

Sources: Bill Daley, Chicago TribuneIllinois Department of Agriculture

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