Watch now: Lawmakers, political observers reflect on Madigan’s downstate legacy

Committeeman Michael Madigan, 13th Ward, speaks before the park board on July 28, 1970.


Madigan supported the evidence-based education funding model that was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2017, for instance, which created the framework to divert more state funds to downstate schools as well as Chicago.

Before that, he supported Edgar’s school funding reform initiative, which would have raised income taxes and reduced property taxes to shift the burden of funding schools to the state. That effort was killed by then-Senate President James “Pate” Phillip, who represented the Chicago suburbs.

Edgar said that Madigan “brought stability to the process” and “always knew where his votes were.”

“And as a result, when you negotiated with him, you knew that if he agreed to something that he was going to deliver,” Edgar said. “And that isn’t always true of all leaders.”

Edgar said that “just to survive 36 years of speaker in a body as diverse as the Illinois House, particularly his caucus, is an accomplishment in itself.”

“I don’t know anybody else you could have survived that long,” Edgar said. “He was very good at sensing where his members were. I mean, he pulled them along at times, but he also couldn’t get too far ahead of them. He had to adapt and change, which he did.”

Former Gov. Jim Edgar, left, appears with Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner at an even in Springfield in 2014. Rauner clashed with state Rep. Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, who announced his resignation on Thursday. 


Current and former members in both parties of the General Assembly offering praise for the former House speaker, but many said Madigan’s departure was “far past time.”


February 18, 2021 at 05:11PM

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