EYE ON ILLINOIS: Politically prudent for Dems to try distancing from Madigan

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“We can’t allow this shameful behavior to continue — especially from someone who has a lead role in both the General Assembly and throughout the state. The continuous ethics and legal violations have been swept under the rug for far too long.”

That kind of statement wasn’t unusual Friday following news of a major bribery scandal implicating House Speaker Mike Madigan, the state’s most powerful lawmaker as well as head of its Democratic party. The words stand out because they came from a veteran Democrat, state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake.

Bush pushed her statement Friday afternoon, also referencing her January introduction of “Senate Bill 2488, which would require any lawmaker who has been indicted to be immediately removed from leadership. Should Madigan be indicted, he must be removed from leadership and resign immediately. Anyone in the Illinois General Assembly with ties to this ComEd scandal has betrayed the trust of the public. They must be held accountable.”

Bush is up for re-election (her challenger is Lindenhurst Republican Chris Kasperski), so although she faces the tricky issue of campaign contributions connected to Madigan, she won’t encounter the same damning question as her House colleagues: would they give Madigan another term as speaker?

This distinction wasn’t lost on other Republicans, notably those in the often red suburbs that went a bluish purple in 2018. State Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, said the federal investigation proves “corruption goes all the way to the top in Springfield. Any state representative candidate who won’t commit to voting against Mike Madigan for Speaker doesn’t deserve your vote in November.”

Chris Bos, R-Lake Zurich, is running to reclaim the 51st House seat from freshman Rep. Mary Edly-Allen, D-Libertyville. After issuing his own statement, Bos retweeted a supporter who noted the incumbent’s “first vote as state representative was for Mike Madigan to be speaker. Chris Bos won’t make that mistake.”

This isn’t just a suburban issue, of course. Further flung swing districts have recently been proxy battles for Madigan against whichever Republican presently claims the party’s ideology. That was true in the 76th House district, where loads of Bruce Rauner’s money went to electing Streator’s Jerry Long in 2016, and piles of Democratic funds went to supporting Lance Yednock in 2018. Now Utica’s Travis Breeden is challenging and, like Bos, calling on Yednock to denounce Madigan.

In a pivotal election year, not just for the White House but also Democrats’ beloved graduated income tax, Madigan becomes a heavy anchor. That he’s not yet cast aside is further proof of his dominance. Democrats who rightly denounce corruption in Washington need to sing the same song of Springfield. Not just because voters respect consistency, but because Illinois truly needs a fresh start.

• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.

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via | Northwest Herald

July 20, 2020 at 11:59AM

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