Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has probably lost enough votes of House Democrats not to be re-elected to his position as Illinois House Speaker.
He probably won’t be Speaker next session.
I say probably because this is Illinois and you never know for sure.
It started slowly with a few women legislators vowing to oppose his re-election as the longest serving state legislative leader in the country.
The sexist and very hostile work environment that surrounded the Speaker’s office was widely exposed as far back as 2017 by Alaina Hampton.
When Hampton told leaders of the state’s Democratic Party in 2017 that Michael Madigan aide Kevin Quinn had sexually harassed her, they ignored and then shunned her. She sued on the grounds of workplace retaliation, teamed up with the crisis-management strategist and #MeToo champion Joanna Klonsky, and won a $275,000 settlement. Her case inspired two pieces of antiharassment legislation — and spurred others to speak out, too.
With last week’s federal indictment of his closest pals and the former CEO of Commonwealth Edison on bribery charges, cracks in the Madigan dam began to burst wide.
I was disappointed yesterday to hear the executive director of a state retired teachers organization at a zoom meeting speak about Madigan’s troubles ruefully.
It was Madigan, after all, that tried to steal our retired teacher pensions until he was stopped in his tracks by the unanimous decision of Illinois Supreme Court.
This was the same state retired teacher organization that refused to take a position on the state income tax reform amendment which then failed to pass, hurting state revenues and ultimately will create another threat to our pensions.
The Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers have also remained silent on Madigan’s future as Speaker.
I doubt that any of that matters anymore.
But there is something troublesome about their silence. Even if Madigan hadn’t gone after retired teacher pensions, doesn’t the corruption matter to us? Doesn’t the sexual harassment matter?
Do we only care about our pension checks?
It’s a bad look.
But a sad reality.