Illinois politicians talk about sentencing of Jacksons

August 14, 2013 (SPRINGFIELD, Ill.)

Many of the state's top Democrats gathered for their special day at the State Fair in Springfield.

It is uncanny how quickly politicians can put aside a former colleague on his way to prison; Democrats in Springfield on Wednesday were no exception.

The Governor's Day picnic did not miss a beat as Democrats at the State Fair learned early Wednesday afternoon that former party rising star Jesse Jackson, Jr. Would serve 30 months in the federal prison system.

"Justice has to be served, and the judge has spoken, the jury has spoken, and hopefully he'll learn from what happened," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

Earlier, at a Springfield hotel, about 1,300 Illinois Democrats had breakfast together while the Jackson sentencing hearing continued in Washington.

There was no mention of the former congressman during the political speeches that focused on next year's elections.

Senator Dick Durbin said despite corruption and worsening fiscal problems, the Democratic brand is doing as well in Illinois as anywhere in the country.

"We're a party focusing on creating jobs, number one, and focusing on helping working families," said Durbin.

Back at the fairgrounds, as the Governor's Day festivities continued, Matteson mayor Andre Ashmore had sobering thoughts for his friend Jesse Jackson, Jr.

"He was a very good congressman when he was our congressman, and I just wish him and all of his family all the best," said Ashmore.

The governor would not answer when asked if he would keep touch with Jackson, but added he would keep the former congressman in his prayers.

"When someone falls, it is important to pray for their recovery, and I think that's what America's about, and that's what our faith teaches us," said Quinn.

The governor did not deliver a speech at this year's Governor's Day picnic, and he banned other political speeches despite the run-up to the 2014 Democratic primaries. Consequently, fewer elected politicians showed up at this year's event.

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