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Letters to the Editor

Democratic candidates need to renounce support for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

To the editor:

Recently, Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington wrote a piece entitled “The hypocrisy of Illinois Dems: ‘Mike Madigan’s gotta go but I’ll vote for him to stay’”.

Illinois Democrats running for the Illinois House of Representatives are finally being put on the spot to answer whether or not they will vote to re-elect the corruption-entangled Speaker of the House of Representatives — Michael J. Madigan.

Madigan has held this post for all but two of the past 37 years and has been the head of the State’s Democratic Party for the past 22 years. During that time, it has become clear that the culture of our state government,especially that in the House of Representatives, is broken and is in desperate need of true ethics reform.

Over the course of the last three years, a number of people have come forward about the sexual harassment they have suffered while working in the Capitol, some allegedly at the hands of those closest to the Speaker.Most glaringly, we read of an email where one of the Speaker’s closest political allies and friends purportedly asked for help for an individual because he kept quiet about a rape.

The problems do not end there.The federal government is either charging, investigating and subpoenaing some of the Speaker’s former leadership team, elected officials in and near his district, and his closest political allies in a series of corruption probes.To date, all those involved have been Democrats or affiliated with officeholders in the Democratic Party.

Illinois residents are fed up with the corruption in our state. In fact, according to a recent poll conducted by One Illinois, 85% said “cleaning up corruption in state government” is a top priority. This is not the type of leadership the residents of Illinois want and certainly not what they deserve.This is why I have publicly called upon the Speaker to step down and allow for new leadership and I am now calling on him to immediately resign to allow for new and honest leadership in the Illinois House.

Yet what is missing in the public arena is any word about the Speaker from the two Democratic candidates seeking the seat I currently hold in the 65th District, Martha Paschke and Mohammad Iqbal. Neither has publicly called for the Speaker to resign or indicated we need new leadership at the top of the Illinois House of Representatives. Following another indictment this past week, I call upon Martha Paschke and Mohammad Iqbal to join me in calling on Speaker Madigan to resign. Furthermore, I call upon both candidates to publicly commit to stop accepting any funds for their campaigns from the Speaker, and those funds he directs, as well as return whatever money they have received to date from Madigan. These candidates have the opportunity to do the right thing and put the people of Illinois ahead of the Madigan machine. It is time they end their silence and take a stand.

Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva

State Representative, 65th District

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