CHICAGO – Mike Madigan stepped aside a month ago from his bid to be Speaker of the Illinois House and Thursday he resigned from his House seat – an office he has held since being first elected in 1970. The 78-year-old remains as the chairman of the Illinois Democrat Party and ward Democrat committeeman in Chicago's 13th.
He pointed to "vicious attacks" as a key reason he resigned. Those "vicious attacks" include an ongoing federal investigation and nasty complaints from within the Democrat ranks over his tolerance of sexual misconduct among the party faithful.
“It’s no secret that I have been the target of vicious attacks by people who sought to diminish my many achievements lifting up the working people of Illinois. The fact is, my motivation for holding elected office has never wavered,” Madigan declared in a prepared statement. “I leave office at peace with my decision and proud of the many contributions I’ve made to the state of Illinois, and I do so knowing I’ve made a difference.”
But in the long statement, Madigan listed what he considers all his "accomplishments" while being the most powerful person in Illinois politics for decades.
Fifty years ago, I decided to dedicate my life to public service. Simply put, I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I believed then and still do today that it is our duty as public servants to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and help hardworking people build a good life. These ideals have been the cornerstone of my work on behalf of the people of Illinois and the driving force throughout my time in the Illinois House.
As speaker, legislator and member of the Illinois Constitutional Convention, I worked to make the General Assembly a co-equal branch of government, ensuring it acted as a check on the power of the governor and the executive branch, especially around a governor’s abuse of the amendatory veto. Many heated battles were fought to keep governors from rewriting legislation sent to them by the General Assembly.
No mention whatsoever of the state's fiscal disastrous condition, the state pension's deepening critical position, or the massive numbers leaving the state every year as a result of back-breaking property taxes:
I am particularly proud of our work to increase the diversity of voices in the House Democratic Caucus to include more women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. In my tenure as Illinois House speaker, we worked to elect representatives across all backgrounds and beliefs to truly represent the interests of the people of our state.
With the partnership of this diverse and talented group of Illinois Democrats and with our colleagues across the aisle, we were able to level the playing field and strengthen the middle class while workers in other states saw their wages diminished.
We achieved school funding reform to increase investment for schools in need and address inequalities in our state’s education system. We made Illinois a welcoming state by passing the Illinois Dream Act and providing drivers’ licenses for undocumented residents.
We strengthened the rights of workers, increased the minimum wage, expanded access to health care for Illinois’ most vulnerable residents, and protected a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.
We upheld the rights of all Illinois residents by passing marriage equality, finally recognizing the rights of men and women to marry the people they love. We enacted criminal justice reforms to break down laws that too often target people of color and led the country in expanding voting rights as other states weakened them.
Collaborating with leaders in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, health care and other industries, we built a partnership with job creators to encourage economic development and address crises in our unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation systems. We also expanded opportunities in the tourism and film industry, created the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority that reinvented McCormick Place and Navy Pier, and established the Illinois Sports Facility Authority that kept the White Sox in Chicago.
But he did not hesitate to point the finger at former Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and his attempt to right the Illinois Ship of State:
When were confronted with the Rauner administration and the interests of the wealthy, who sought to weaken unions and the labor movement in Illinois, we stood up for working people.
Rauner went on to plunge our state into a budget crisis, nearly bankrupting social service agencies, eliminating funding for higher education, and racking up billions of dollars in state debt in the process. House Democrats stood as the last line of defense to protect our state from collapse.
And a last slap at former Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was recently let out of prison by President Trump:
“Under my leadership, we increased transparency of state and local government by creating the Freedom of Information Act and protecting it from attempts to water it down, impeached Rod Blagojevich and repeatedly strengthened the state’s ethics and campaign finance laws.”
Madigan concluded his statement with these boasts including making "Illinois a bastion of Democratic values."
My achievements would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of many members of my staff through the years. I thank them for their efforts on behalf of the House Democratic Caucus and the people of Illinois. I also want to thank the many volunteers and supporters who worked on behalf of the residents of the 22nd District. It is with the collective support of many that we have made Illinois a bastion of Democratic values.
Most of all, he's proud – very proud of himself.
I leave office at peace with my decision and proud of the many contributions I’ve made to the state of Illinois, and I do so knowing I’ve made a difference.
Madigan, what is no secret is that you were a power abuser. You aren’t a victim, Illinois citizens are the victims of your 40 year reign of tyranny. No one person should have ever had the unilateral power to kill any bill desired. Of course as your people bragged, nothing gets done unless Mike wants it done.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! Thanks for destroying the financial condition of Illinois with over $140 billion of unfunded pension liability. You can now enjoy your $150K per year pension on top of the $1.5 million from your grandfathered access to your campaign war chest to use for personal reasons. Thanks for standing up for the “working class” with that pension clause that forbids any “diminishment” of benefits, only allowing benefits to increase year after year. Too bad that these “working class” recipients represent under 10% of those you are supposed to represent while the other 90% plus have to pay for it.
Reported today: President Biden Fires Chicago U.S. Attorney Hot on the Trail of Illinois Democratic Corruption
When Madigan stepped down I thought maybe a deal had been made….