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Michael Madigan: A DNC Interview With The Chairman Of The Democratic Party Of Illinois

Aug 2, 2016
Originally published on August 1, 2016 5:17 am

 As Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan ran the show for Illinois’ delegation last week at the Democratic National Convention.

Madigan took some time before the convention wrapped up to sit down in Philadelphia with Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and WBBM radio's Craig Dellimore.

They touch on everything from term limits to Donald Trump, to the state budget and the November election. 

Madigan began the joint interview talking about the effect Bernie Sanders – and his most vocal supporters --- has had on the Democratic Party.

On Bernie Sanders: "I  think that Bernie Sanders and the Sanders campaign have a done a great serviced for the Democratic Party in America.”

On Gov. Bruce Rauner: "What we need is for the governor to become reasonable, to recognize that Illinois is not some extreme right state in the right part of America. It’s a moderate state. It’s in the middle of the country. It’s a mainstream state, and the people of the Illinois expect the public officials in the state not to be extreme, but to be reasonable."

On term limits: "In the last primary election, friends of Bruce Rauner spent over $1 million in an Illinois House district on the Southwest side of Chicago, attempting to remove me from office. The voters of that district recognized who the enemy was and voted to keep me in office. That’s how term limits should be administrated."

On the Monetary Award, of MAP, grant for low-income college students: "So if you’re a poor student today planning to attend college in IL starting in Sept, you don’t know the status of the MAP program, you don’t know whether there will be state support for your college tuition, or whether it won’t be there. That’s the product of the Rauner extremism in Illinois. It’s wrong. It ought not to happen, if Bruce Rauner wants to pick on some people, he ought to find some big people to pick on, not little people who are trying to put themselves through college."

On his relationship with Senate President John Cullerton: "What the governor should understand is that that’s an old divide and conquer theory which was practiced by the British against the Irish. And he’s working with two Irishmen – Madigan and Cullerton – who are very aware of the British history, and we’re not going to allow that to happen."

On if Democrats can pick up General Assembly seats in the November election: "You know I don’t think along those lines because it’s going to be a very interesting election. Clearly it’s going to be an ordinary election. You’ve got different personalities, very different types of personalities, different approaches. And so given all of that, why, there could be surprises in the election. We could suffer loses or we could have gains."

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