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Birkett, Cohn appeal for CATA support

November 23, 2010

Two Illinois candidates for state office vowed to CATA directors Sept. 18 that they would best serve the interests of new-vehicle dealers if they win election Nov. 5. Joe Birkett and Kristine O'Rourke Cohn, the GOP nominees for attorney general and secretary of state, respectively, spoke at a monthly CATA board meeting.

Birkett pledged to retain the Attorney General Auto Dealers Advisory Council, a forum for dealers to maintain a level playing field, primarily through regulated advertising practices. For example, the council advanced the ruling that dealers may not award gifts with a vehicle purchase if the purchase price is negotiated. The council is comprised of a growing number of entities-assistant attorneys general, new-car dealers, advertisers, the Better Business Bureau, and staff of the CATA, the IADA in Springfield, the Peoria Dealers Association and CarMax, among others.

Birkett said he would consider paring the council Cohn, currently chairwoman of the Winnebago County Board, decries what she calls an ineffective performance by first-term Secretary of State Jesse White. "We don't have a proven administrator, a proven professional in that office," Cohn said. "I have more energy in my right arm than other people who have run that office."

Cohn's campaign, "Lose the Wait," and her Web site,, blast White for delays attendant with renewing driver's licenses and obtaining vehicle registrations, and for errors like lost drunken driving records that enabled some drivers to remain on the road. "Government," Cohn said, "is not a place where you harbor people who can't get jobs in other places."