Longest serving speaker of the house Michael Madigan resigns his state representative seat

By Danny Connolly, Staff Reporter

Former Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan is resigning his state representative seat, effective immediately. In his original letter, he intended to resign March 1, but as reported by ABC7 Chicago, another letter to the clerk of the house made his resignation effective immediately. 

“Fifty years ago, I decided to dedicate my life to public service,” Madigan said in his resignation letter. “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.” 

78-year-old Madigan has served in the Illinois House of Representatives since 1971.   

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“It closes a little door on a very lengthy chapter in Illinois history in which he was an important ingredient,” Steve Brown, Madigan’s press secretary and former Daily Egyptian alum said. 

Madigan was the democratic Speaker of the House in Illinois from 1983 to 2021, except for 1995 and 1996, where Republicans took control of the House. 

He was the longest running state House speaker in United States history until Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch took over last month. 

(See more: The end of an era: Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan passes the gavel to Chris Welch)

“I thank the former Speaker for his sincere and meaningful contributions to our state.” Rep. Welch said on social media. “Under him, we’ve had strong sustained leadership in Springfield.“ 

Gov. JB Pritzker also thanked him for his public service to Illinois, including his help of legalizing gay marriage and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“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.” Gov. Pritzker (D) said in a statement. 

Illinois Republicans were more critical of his long time in office. 

Speaker Madigan’s record as he leaves office goes like this: $5 billion in unpaid bills, a $1.6 billion budget deficit, upwards of $150 billion in pension debt, no ethics reforms and a cloud of corruption that has ensnared democratic politicians in the House and Senate,” Rep. Paul Jacobs (R) of Ponoma said in a statement. “The people of Illinois are better off because Mike Madigan will be leaving the legislature.”

Representatives Rodney Davis, Darrin LaHood, Mary Miller and Mike Bost said Madigan should still be investigated even upon resigning his seat. 

“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,” Davis, LaHood, Miller and Bost said in a joint statement.

Madigan is under federal investigation for allegations that his associates were taking bribes to help pass legislation from Com-Ed, an electric utility company in northern Illinois. Madigan has denied any involvement. 

(See more: Madigan Shielded From Answering To Role In ComEd Bribery Scheme

“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,” Madigan said in his letter. “I have been resolute in my dedication to public service and integrity, always acting in the interest of the people of Illinois.”

He still remains as the head of the Illinois Democratic Party, where his term ends in 2022, and as a committeeman of Chicago’s 13th ward. 

“I think he’ll be very active in community affairs as a result of being a committeeman within the ward,” Brown said. “He’ll continue to work closely with Marty Quinn, who’s the alderman for the Chicago city council.”

 

Staff reporter Danny Connolly can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @DConnollyTV.

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