The Wemstroms: Rauner’s strategy — blame Madigan, divide the people of Illinois

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We see Jason Gonzales, who lost the March 2016 primary against Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, is suing Madigan, claiming he put up “sham candidates” in legislative races in order to dilute the votes for Gonzales.

We don’t know if Madigan put up sham candidates or not. But it seems suspicious that now Gonzales’ attorneys are asking for a deadline extension to get more documents and conduct additional depositions. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Madigan was to be deposed on Sept. 13, and the attorneys want an extension to Oct. 31, six days before the election.

We know people in our area can’t stand Madigan, and we’re certainly not fans. But although he has too much power for one legislator, as we’ve said many times, he’s not the problem. Madigan is being used by Gov. Bruce Rauner as a scapegoat for everything that’s wrong with Illinois, and Rauner tries to associate every Democrat in Illinois with Madigan and with “corruption.”

An October deposition will not hurt Madigan; he’ll be re-elected. But the judge will not make a decision on Madigan’s guilt or innocence before the election, and Rauner will try to use any publicity to give every Democrat a black eye. He’s already tried to paint J. B. Pritzker, the Democratic candidate for governor, with corruption, for no other reason than he’s a Democrat like Madigan, and he’s from Chicago.

Gonzales has already felt obligated to deny that he’s a “plant for Rauner.”

But Rauner has already proven good at “plants.” When a court ruled he had no standing to sue the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees for demanding agency fees, he got Mark Janus to do it. (Mark Janus immediately retired after having won the suit and took a job with the Illinois Policy Institute, so it turned out that technically he didn’t really have much standing to sue either).

We love living here, and we love the people of northwest Illinois. But as we’ve said many times, Chicago is not the Evil Empire of Corruption, hogging state money and shooting everybody who walks down its streets.

Yes, Chicago has way too many shootings, although CNN reported in May that the murder rate had gone down for the 14th consecutive month. It’s still way too high, and there are many problems that need to be solved.

And Chicago has its share of corrupt politicians, although Journal-Standard columnist Chuck Sweeny pointed out recently that the state’s worst-ever embezzler is a woman from Dixon.

Sweeny also referred to a recent report, The Politics of Public Budgeting in Illinois, that shows Cook County “sends 10 percent more tax money to Springfield than it gets back in state funding” (“No, Chicago doesn’t hog state dollars,” The Journal-Standard, Aug. 26). Downstate counties receive 50 percent more in funding than they contributed. Stephenson County gets back 104 percent.

It’s in the interest of Gov. Rauner to divide the people of Illinois. It’s in his interest to blame everything on Madigan and not on his own anti-union, anti-middle class agenda and lack of capable governing. For example, millionaire Rauner recently vetoed a bill that would have set a minimum teacher salary of $40,000 within five years. And we wonder why it’s difficult to encourage bright, college-educated young people to go into teaching!

Let’s judge Rauner for what he has done, or hasn’t done. Let’s look at J. B. Pritzker’s record and statements and ask ourselves who would be the best governor for Illinois. Let’s not let Republican politicians manipulate and divide us for their own personal gain.

Chuck and Pat Wemstrom live in rural Mount Carroll. Reach them at patandchuck@gmail.com.

 

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Region: Northern,Feeds,City: Freeport,Region: Rockford,Opinion

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September 6, 2018 at 05:29PM

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