Illinois House impeaches governor

For the first time in history an Illinois governor has been impeached.
January 9, 2009 9:03:35 PM PST
It took only 16 seconds for the House to vote in favor of impeaching the governor.After opening the session, the Speaker immediately called House Resolution 1671, the recommendation to impeach the Governor:

"We stand here today because of the perfidy of one man, Rod Blagojevich," said State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, (D) Chicago.

The introduction was followed by a 90 minute, one-sided debate. Members of both parties agreed that Blagojevich - the fortieth governor in state history - should be ousted from office.

"His greed and arrogance are only equaled by his brazenness and recklessness . He violated his oath of office and the people's trust time and time again," said State Rep. Susana Mendoza, (D) Chicago.

Then the 16 second electronic vote: 114 to one with one abstention.

Republican House members, who called for the Democratic governor's impeachment months ago, kept a relatively low profile during the session.

"We didn't think we needed to grandstand or pound our chest. We made our points," said Rep. Tom Cross , (R) minority leader.

So on impeachment day, Democrats were the most outspoken critics of the governor for whom most of them campaigned in 2002 and 2006.

"This was not something I wanted to do, this is something I had to do," said Rep. Karen Yarbrough, (D) Maywood.

The House will take another vote on the impeachment resolution after its new members are sworn in next Wednesday. The leadership hopes a second vote will protect the process from any challenges.

State representative Milton Patterson was the only lawmaker to vote against impeachment. He's a freshman South Side Democrat who said he wasn't comfortable voting to impeach the governor. Patterson has suffered a stroke, and didn't seek a second term.

Another South Side first-term Democrat, Elga Jefferies, voted present. Representative Jefferies won't be back in the house either. She ran for re-election, but lost.