When we look for the face of the problems with Illinois state government, we often turn to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. There certainly has been a fair share of ink and pixels expended on villifying him, and rightly so.
He has been in the Illinois House since 1971 and served as speaker since 1983, except for a two-year lapse. If it is a bill or a budget, it goes nowhere without his OK. He is the reason U.S. Rep. Mike Bost ranted and threw a pension bill in the air when he was still a state representative. He is the primary reason Illinois has failed to pass a state budget for 2016 or 2017. He is a master at nullifying the checks and balances of state government.
How he came into being is a subject worthy of study. A new documentary was created by Illinois Policy Action, the advocacy arm of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, entitled “Madigan: Power, Privilege, Politics.” We will show it in partnership with Illinois Policy from 7 p.m. Thursday through 7 p.m. Sunday at bnd.com.
The hour-long documentary’s range of opinions and background on Madigan is fascinating. It is also worth watching as you are pondering your Nov. 8 statehouse election choices.
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Voters recently said honesty and the ability to compromise are what they most value in their political candidates. How, exactly, do you think Madigan, incumbent lawmakers and challengers fit into that mold? Too bad neither the Grim Reaper nor Lonzo’s daughter decided it was worth their time to explain that to voters in the 114th Illinois House district when they were invited to supply guest viewpoints on their fitness for the statehouse.
Madigan may be very well insulated, but if enough join 112th Illinois House Rep. Dwight Kay’s pledge to rebel and get a new House speaker elected, maybe there’s hope to again see statesmanship in the state that gave us Abraham Lincoln, Adlai Stevenson, Everett Dirksen and Paul Simon.