The 21st Show

Sears Files For Bankruptcy; Most Competitive House Races in IL; Top 10 IL Scientists


Sears, one of the oldest departments stores, is nearing bankruptcy. Sears' stock has fallen more than 50% since Oct. 8 as it faces a debt repayment deadline for $134 million on Oct. 15. (Miosotis Jade/Wikimedia Commons)

On the 21st: Sears, once the largest retailer in the world, which has been headquartered here in Illinois for more than a century, filed for bankruptcy. Plus, as the state celebrates its bicentennial, we check in on the Lincoln museum's latest Top 10 list: scientists. But first, Illinois is home to two of the nation's most competitive Congressional elections. 

Before Amazon, Costco, and even Walmart there was Sears. The Illinois-based company has been around since 1893 and was once the largest retailer in the world. And while Sears isn’t totally gone yet, the company has been a shadow of its former self for a long time.

This morning marked another chapter in Sears’ decline. The company officially filed for bankruptcy and CEO Eddie Lampert will step down.

How did Sears get to this point and, what’s next for the 68,000 people who still work for the retailer? Joining me to unpack this was Brigid Sweeney, consumer reporter with Crain’s Chicago Business. James O’Rourke also joined us on the line. He’s a professor of management at Notre Dame University Mendoza College of Business. 


24. That’s the minimum number of seats the Democratic Party needs to gain in order to take control of the House of Representatives on election day. That’s how big the so-called “blue wave” needs to be.

There’s an election for all 435 House seats every two years. But the vast majority of them aren’t competitive. Instead, control over the House usually comes down to a handful of tightly contested races.

In Illinois’ 13th District, Congressman Rodney Davis is hoping to hold to his seat against Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. We heard from Congressman Davis last week; on Wednesday we'll speak with Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. 

But today, we wanted to talk about two other very close races that are on opposite ends of the state and, opposite in many ways: one is a wealthy Chicago suburb that voted for Hillary Clinton; the other a much poorer district that borders Missouri and Kentucky, and is very much President Trump’s base. In both cases, Republican Congressmen Peter Roskam and Mike Bost are trying to fend off their Democratic challengers.

To tell us more, we were joined by two political reporters. Joe Bustos is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, and he was on the line from their newsroom in southern Illinois. Patrick O’Connell also joined us, he's from the Chicago Tribune. 


Throughout the year we’ve been celebrating along with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as their Illinois 200 lists recognize important moments, people and places in our bicentennial history. 

So far, we’ve heard about the books, films, artists and more that have helped to define our state. And today, we heard about some of our greatest scientists. Not just well-known names like James Watson, who discovered the structure of DNA, but, African-American chemist Percy Lavon Julian and Peoria’s Allene Jeanes. 

Chris Wills joined us. He's the communications director for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  Valerie Higgins was also with us. She is Lab Archivist and Historian for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill. 

Story source: WILL