Illinois Republicans, their former party chairwoman says, must be more flexible and inclusive.

“You don't have to say no all the time,” says Judy Baar Topinka. “I like to say, ‘No, but did you try this?’ So that there’s an alternative, other than just no and you walk away. No alone doesn’t do anything. It just stops traffic.”

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Topinka, confirming she will seek a second term as state comptroller after her 12 years as treasurer and unsuccessful bid for governor in 2006, says that inclusiveness has to include acceptance of same-sex marriage: “I don’t understand what the problem is here. People are people, and they’re Illinoisans. … Let’s get it done already.”

Topinka says the new party chairman, Jack Dorgan, would do well to follow her advice.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /