Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is the most powerful politician in the state. Ironically, Madigan never says much to reporters. But after a news conference in Bedford Park, he talked for the first time about his daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and her decision not to run for either governor or the United States Senate.
"She would have been the strongest Democratic candidate," said Madigan. "I was very proud of her because she put her family ahead of her career."
The powerful House speaker wants people to know that he spearheaded the General Assembly's effort to first impeach, then remove Rod Blagojevich from office. Since then, the indicted former governor has entertained, while taking shots at Madigan and others in the Illinois Democratic party power structure.
The speaker, who is also the state Democratic party chairman, concedes the former governor will be a factor in next year's elections.
"Governmentally, Blagojevich is gone. He will continue to be a distraction," said Madigan.
But Republican candidate for governor Dan Proft says Democrats should know better than to blame Blagojevich for the state's problems.
"As we all know, the guy who runs the state of Illinois is not Blagojevich, even when he was governor. It's Mike Madigan," said Proft.
Madigan is nearing 40 years representing the southwest side in the legislature, acting as speaker for all but two of the past 26 years. His next challenge as state chairman is making the upcoming primary between state comptroller Dan Hynes and sitting governor Pat Quinn does not divide and risk the party's hold on the governor's mansion.
"It's better to have a primary because it's a good test. If you can't make it through the primary, then you don't deserve to be a nominee of the party," said Madigan.
Madigan was in Bedford Park to announce a state capital bill appropriation to help pay for the planning and design of Central Avenue through the rail yard at 63rd Street. The project itself still several years in the future.
Charles has more on the political beat in his Precinct 7 Blog.