Letter to Editor -
President Ronald Reagan once said “Always leave them wanting more.” Ex-Speaker Michael Madigan did not possess such class. Instead of gracefully stepping aside, Madigan clung to his speakership far too long even as his actions devastated our state. That is because he is addicted to power.
Now Madigan’s forced exit of his national record-setting reign as House Speaker is tarnished with both a leading role in a federal indictment for corruption, and also for being thrown out by finally having his crusty hands pried from the levers of power.
Though that is not the worst part of his legacy. His true legacy is that every indicator of performance of state government has radically declined during his epic reign to the point of Illinois being ranked 49th or 50th in the nation for everything that matters. Michael Madigan’s heavy hand ruined Illinois government and made life more expensive with less opportunity for our people.
His legacy is the highest unfunded pension liability in the nation. The highest overall tax burden. The worst credit rating in the nation. One of the highest out migrations of people. And a culture of corruption.
During Madigan’s reign as Speaker we have had:
· Democrat and Republican governors
· Democrat and Republican presidents
· Democrat and Republican state senate majorities
· Good national economies and bad national economies
The only constant over 36 of the past 38 years has been the heavy hand of Mike Madigan as House Speaker through whose hands every bit of legislation had to pass. He is more responsible than anyone for the decline of state government.
What now remains to be done is to fumigate Illinois government from Madigan’s shady way of doing business. Never again should Representatives and Senators vote on bills—even on issues they agree on—when House or Senate leaders give members only minutes, hours, or only a few days to consider major legislation. And we need to insist bad provisions tucked into otherwise good bills are removed before we are willing to vote in favor of legislation.
For too long, too many legislators rationalized voting for bills without knowing all provisions contained in those bills, without time to thoroughly analyze them, without the time necessary to listen to constituents, or adequate time to deliberate on the bills and fix or delete bad provisions.
This Springfield Way imposed by Madigan is why Illinois government is in such a mess.
In my first week in office, just last night, the Senate was in session all night long. At 3:45 am a 764 page police reform bill with the final text was given to Senators. We started debating it at 4:04 am and had a final vote on it at 4:48 am. This is shameful and outrageous. It allowed for no time to understand all the provisions in the bill, let alone to thoroughly analyze them. Most importantly, putting forth the bill and voting on it in the middle of the night allowed for no input from the people we represent.
That was the capstone of Madigan way. If the bill was a good a bill last night, it would have been a good bill in two months after it was properly analyzed and with ordinary people being able to contact their legislators.
We, in both the House and Senate, need to go beyond rejecting Michael Madigan as Speaker. We need to reject his heavy-handed ways that have directly led to the problems confronting the people of our state. The Madigan Era is not over until his ways of doing business are repudiated and reformed.
Senate 37th District