Mike Madigan makes rare public comment

August 7, 2013 4:49:57 PM PDT
He's arguably the most powerful politician in Illinois. House Speaker Mike Madigan is speaking for one of the few times since the legislative session ended in May.

Before delivering a speech at the Union League Club Wednesday, Madigan talked about pensions, paychecks and his daughter, Lisa, the Illinois attorney general.

The Illinois house speaker, ironically, doesn't say much publicly. Madigan would not allow reporters to hear his speech at the Union League Club. But he did come back outside to say he was disappointed by judge Neil Cohen's ruling Tuesday that the lawsuit Madigan filed to restore lawmaker paychecks vetoed by Governor Pat Quinn in June would not get a hearing until late September.

"You don't get paid if you don't do your job," Quinn said.

"I would have appreciated a quicker schedule, a more expedited schedule, I would have appreciated that, but it's the judge's decision," Madigan said.

The 71-year-old Madigan -- 43 years in the House, 28 as speaker -- said it's possible lawmakers might return to Springfield to override the governor. And on an ominous note, he warned that if the House-Senate conference committee presents a compromise pension reform bill in the next week or so, it will not necessarily mean he'll lead a rush to Springfield to vote on it.

"I'm prepared to go to Springfield whenever we have 60 votes in the House and 30 votes in the Senate to do pension changes," Madigan said. "So it doesn't make much sense to go there and to consider a bill if you don't have the required number of votes to pass it."

Madigan would not take questions on the allegations that he tried to influence personnel decisions at Metra. As for his daughter's decision not to run for governor, the speaker said she knew all along he had no plans to quit as speaker.

"Lisa and I had spoken about that on several occasions, and she knew very well that I did not plan to retire," he said. "She knew what my position was."

Lisa Madigan teased a possible run for governor for nearly six months. She bowed out in June citing her father's continued role in state government as the major reason.

Michael Madigan would not say how long he plans to remain speaker.

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