Illinois’ Mike Madigan problem can’t be ignored

SHARE Illinois’ Mike Madigan problem can’t be ignored

What does Gov. Pat Quinn suggest we do about the Mike Madigan problem?

Of all the questions that have been asked so far in this campaign for governor, that may be the most important, yet it goes unaddressed.

Madigan was first elected speaker of the House in 1983 and, with the exception of two years (1995-96) has served in that position since.

As the leader of the Illinois Democratic Party, he has become the most powerful politician in the state. He tells governors what they can and cannot do.

Most important, the people of this state have no ability to influence Madigan because he is elected to the House easily from a overwhelmingly Democratic district on Chicago’s Southwest Side and elected speaker by Democratic House members — who understand that his ability to raise money, put campaign workers in the field and influence legislation can make or break their political careers.

When I talk with people about this campaign for governor, they rarely talk about Quinn or Republican candidate Bruce Rauner’s abilities. What they tell me is that they want change in Springfield because they’re tired of Madigan’s control of the state.

I do not believe Madigan is as evil as his critics contend. But when one person accumulates as much power and influence as he has over three decades, that is not a good thing.

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