REACTION: Michael Madigan resignation Here’s how elected officials and public figures throughout Illinois reacted to the resignation announcement of state Rep. Michael Madigan, the former longtime House speaker. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D-Chicago “When you dedicate your career to public service, it’s your loved ones who make the biggest sacrifices – whether it’s because you’re
REACTION: Michael Madigan resignation
Here’s how elected officials and public figures throughout Illinois reacted to the resignation announcement of state Rep. Michael Madigan, the former longtime House speaker.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D-Chicago
“When you dedicate your career to public service, it’s your loved ones who make the biggest sacrifices – whether it’s because you’re away from home, working long hours or spending time with constituents. Michael J. Madigan and his family dedicated countless hours to serving Illinois families, particularly during the Rauner years, when he served as the bulwark against constant cruelty to the most vulnerable.
“Over his decades in office, he shepherded through some of the most consequential changes to our state: bringing about the legalization of gay marriage, fighting on the frontlines for workers’ rights, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding access to voting and protecting women’s reproductive rights. The people of Illinois have much to be grateful for thanks to his dedicated public service, and the many sacrifices he and his family made to make a difference in our lives. I know how dearly he loves his wife Shirley, their children and grandchildren, and I hope that in this next chapter, his family can begin to make up for lost time.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
“Mayor Lightfoot thanks former Speaker Madigan for his long legacy of service to Chicago and to the State of Illinois,” and wishes Madigan’s family well, the mayor’s spokeswoman said in a statement. “She looks forward to working with the next representative from the district on a shared agenda for the city of Chicago.”
House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside
“As of last month, Michael Madigan has dedicated 50 years of service to the Illinois House of Representatives. I thank the former Speaker for his sincere and meaningful contributions to our state.
“Under him, we’ve had strong, sustained Democratic leadership in Springfield. We legalized same-sex marriage, abolished the death penalty and solidified abortion rights. Illinois also became the first state in the Midwest to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. These laws gave underserved populations a new sense of hope. Now we must build on that with a new generation of leadership focused on racial and gender equity in all dimensions, improving government transparency, and leading with the kind of conviction, compassion and cooperation expected by our constituents. I truly appreciate his contributions and I join Illinoisans across the state in wishing him well.”
Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs
“Today’s news of Rep. Madigan’s retirement comes as no surprise to me and every other Illinoisan, and I have been looking forward to this ‘new day’ in Illinois for some time. I urge the Democrats in both Chambers and the Governor to reflect on how we can use this opportunity to improve Illinois. Rep. Madigan’s autocratic rule over the decades has not made Illinois a more prosperous nor competitive state. Our state is in shambles – financially, structurally and ethically. New ideas and sincere collaboration between the parties is the only pathway forward.”
Former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar
“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.”
U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood, Rodney Davis, Mary Miller and Mike Bost
Republican lawmakers representing the state’s 12th, 13th, 15th and 18th Congressional Districts released a joint statement:
“Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been the constant force in state government during Illinois’ steadying decline over the past two decades, wrecking our state finances and pushing policies that have run our state into the ground. During his half-century in office, Madigan has shepherded tax hikes, budget deficits, pension holidays, debt, and job-crushing regulations through the General Assembly, all while accumulating a massive amount of personal political power and enriching himself through his property tax appeals law firm. Because of Madigan’s failed leadership, Illinois families have been voting with their feet and leaving our state in droves.
“Illinois will be better off without Speaker Madigan having the final say on public policy, but let’s not forget, he still serves as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois and maintains much influence over politics in our state. And let’s be clear — Madigan isn’t resigning on his own terms. He is resigning in disgrace because he has been implicated in a federal corruption investigation that has already seen indictments of several of his close associates. Even as Madigan’s time in public office comes to a close, he should not avoid prosecution for crimes he may have committed in office. Federal prosecutors should continue their investigation into the years-long bribery scheme that was set up for the benefit of Speaker Madigan.
“While Madigan may no longer be steering state government, the consequences of his agenda and poor policy choices will be felt for generations to come. We, along with the people of Illinois, welcome his retirement from public office, but now is the time to work to reform state government so that we never see another politician accumulate and wield power like Madigan did.”
Former Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington
“While the Speaker and I certainly did not agree on most issues, I did appreciate his support during my time as Senate Republican Leader for efforts that we put forward for education funding reform, tuition tax scholarships for low-income families and infrastructure improvements.”
Illinois state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield
“Speaker Madigan has played a pivotal role in the state of Illinois for many years. He was a great partner for me as county chair and I was a more impactful chair because of his counsel. I wish him well in his retirement and applaud the positive impact his leadership has had on the state legislature and the Democratic Party.”
Chicago Federation of Labor
“Speaker Michael J. Madigan has been a steadfast, dedicated, and courageous champion of workers and their families in Illinois for a generation. His leadership in the fight for collective bargaining rights and worker protections in the state of Illinois spans more than five decades. In that time, Speaker Madigan partnered with labor on countless pieces of legislation to protect workers and protect the middle-class, keeping Illinois a strong pro-union state while many of our neighboring states joined the race to the bottom.
“Under Speaker Madigan’s leadership, the Illinois General Assembly enacted sweeping ethics reform laws, the first campaign finance limits in state history, equal pay requirements for women, landmark education funding reform, health care protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, minimum wage increases, and many more pieces of vital legislation to move Illinois forward. He led the charge for increased infrastructure investment that has resulted in countless Illinoisans receiving a decent paycheck and benefits while building the foundation of our state.
“Speaker Madigan served alongside seven different governors, finding common ground and moving our state forward by working in a bipartisan way with lawmakers from across the political spectrum. However, he never compromised on his core values and he stood strong for four years against the attacks of former Gov. Bruce Rauner, the most fervent anti-union ideologue Illinois has ever seen.
“Speaker Madigan never forgot the constituents he served nor did he lose sight of the needs of working families in Illinois. His leadership and partnership will be missed, and we wish him and his entire family well as he begins the next chapter in his life.”