Former Ill. House Speaker Michael Madigan resigns seat

Former Ill. House Speaker Michael Madigan resigns seat
Illinois state Rep. Michael Madigan has announced that he is resigning his seat in the Legislature. (Source: Illinois General Assembly)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS/AP) - Illinois state Rep. Michael Madigan has announced that he is resigning his seat in the Legislature.

The a Chicago Democrat virtually set Illinois’ political agenda as House speaker before he was ousted last month.

The 78-year-old Madigan was elected speaker in 1983 and served 36 of the next 38 years at the helm.

He was tarnished by a federal investigation of Statehouse bribery announced last summer that implicated him.

He has not been charged with wrongdoing and maintains his innocence.

But he lost his bid for a 19th term as speaker to Hillside Democrat Emanuel “Chris” Welch.

Governor JB Pritzker issued the following statement on Madigan’s retirement on Thursday:

“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.”

U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (IL-12), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Darian LaHood (IL-18) and Mary Miller (IL-15) issued 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.”

Copyright 2021 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.