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*** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day

Monday, Aug 4, 2014

* From a press release

State Senator Kirk W. Dillard stepped down from his seat as state Senator for the 24th District, ending a prolific legislative career.

Dillard will begin work immediately as Chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees the nation’s second largest mass transit system, over 2 million riders daily.

“It has been a true privilege to serve the people of the 24th District,” said Dillard. “It has been a tremendous honor to work side by side so many great people in my district serving them to make our communities better places to live and work.”

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) adds, “Sen. Dillard is a respected legislator in the Capitol, a statesman recognized by both chambers and both parties. We will truly miss his experience.”

“I began my career as an intern right out of Western Illinois University in 1977 on the Senate Republican staff and then attended law school at DePaul while living in my parents house and taking Metra to school daily,” said Dillard.

“I was called to public service at a young age,” he said. Dillard served with distinction as Chief of Staff for Gov. Jim Edgar (from 1990 to 1993) and as a Legislative Director for former Gov. Jim Thompson (from 1983 to 1987). He was a Judge on the Court of Claims from February 1987 to December 1990.

“I’ve greatly enjoyed my work as a lawmaker.” Dillard said. “I respected the process and worked hard to honor the wishes of those who elected me and sent me to the General Assembly to work humbly on their behalf. I’ve worked with many outstanding lawmakers and community leaders over the years and I am grateful for the opportunity to have served the state of Illinois.”

“Among my accomplishments legislatively, I’m very proud to have sponsored a bill to create the Amber Missing Child Alert System here in Illinois,” said Dillard. And we bolstered public access to Internet information about sexual predators, said Dillard, who was first elected to the Senate in 1995.

“I am proud to have worked in a bipartisan fashion, without ever giving up my Republican principles of less government, lower taxes and individual liberties.”

The rest is here.

I know that many of y’all had some hard feelings about Sen. Dillard during the primary campaign. I did, too, and I gave Dillard a piece of my mind. But he’s leaving the Senate after a long and pretty darned distinguished career, so…

* The Question: Your thoughts on Dillard’s retirement? And be kind, please.

* I’ll start: Too many legislators will look for a way to disagree with their colleagues. Dillard built a reputation for trying to find a way to agree with a colleague in order to make a bill better. I admired that in him.

He also listened, even if he totally disagreed with you. He heard you out.

Your turn…

*** UPDATE *** From Bruce Rauner…

“Senator Dillard has devoted years to public service on behalf of the people of the state of Illinois. His constituents were fortunate to have him working on their behalf in Springfield. The Regional Transportation Authority is gaining a wonderful leader who’s knowledge and experience will bring value as chairman. I wish him all the best in his new endeavor.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


26 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    Sen. Dillard,

    There are very few people who can truly understand what it means to be a part of a legislative body, and understand the ideals that make the legislative process look for common ground.

    You time in the IL Senate is to be applauded. You were always willing to listen to the other side of the argument, not to score points, but often, to listen where compromise could be found.

    I was grateful for your time you served Illinois in the Senate, especially when the GOP was in the Majority in the Body. You gave your time, and your resources to Illinois, so thank you for the job you did. Your mark on Illinois during your time in the Senate is unmistakeable.

    Thank you.

    OW


  2. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    Senator Dillard brought some dignity to the Judiciary Committee and was rightly respected by both sides of the aisle.


  3. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    A General Assembly without Skip Saviano was bad. One without Kirk Dullard now will be worse. Partisanship is poisonous, and Kirk Dillard knew working with the other side to get things done is why the voters sent him to Springfield. It wasn’t to make angry speeches or introduce symbolic legislation. Voters want elected officials to solve real problems, and Dillard never forgot that.

    Thanks Senator Dillard. I still think you’d have made a very good Governor.


  4. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    Dillard’s departure is another example of how far the GOPies have slipped over the years. He had a very good run and deserve praise and thanks. It is very confusing why he climbs into the murky world of RTA that has surplus of critics and little else. He may have to work with FliP Rauner who is cluelss on the actual operation of govt services. And he faces a Congress that cannot get a transportation plan passed.
    Thanks and Good luck


  5. - downstate hack - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    Thank you for your service Senator Dillard. You would have been a great Governor.


  6. - Bogey Golfer - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    In the 1990’s you were my state senator. Thank you for serving me then. And as a current Metra rider, best wishes to you in your new duties as RTA Chairman.


  7. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    Kirk, you were a good Senator. I proudly supported your run for Governor in 2010. I was a little disappointed in your 2014 run, but now you have a position that will enable you to serve the folks and still enjoy your family. Good luck to you and your family.


  8. - A guy... - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    It’s not at all difficult to be nice in commenting about the service of Senator Dillard. In part, because there were few people anywhere in Springfield who worked as hard at being nice as Kirk did. Best of luck at the RTA. All those friendships and skills will be put to the test there. They couldn’t have chosen a better guy to help fix things there.
    Job well done.


  9. - Good One - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    Senator Dillard thank you for your years of service of the citizens of the State of Illinois. He is one of the last of a breed who could pass big controversial bills that meant something. A true Statesman!


  10. - John A Logan - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    Scale of 1 - 10, I give him a 6.3


  11. - Dan Johnson - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Senator DIllard is one of those legislators who can change the tone and direction of a committee or floor debate from his measured, thoughtful comments. He brought tremendous intelligence to the body as an institutionalist. The Senate’s loss is the RTA’s gain.


  12. - Reformed Public Servant - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    Preparing to replace one Kirk for another? Sen. Mark KIRK to be replaced by Sen. KIRK Dillard? RTA as a stepping stone … why else go there if not to prep for 2016?


  13. - Under Further Review - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    I am saddened that Dillard came up short in 2010. The political landscape would have been different. Had Dillard won the nomination in 2010, I think that he would be a candidate for reelection in 2014.


  14. - anon - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Perpetually good natured, always well informed, a man with deep institutional knowledge and relationships, Kirk Dillard made a strong mark as a Senator and will surely do so as RTA chairman.


  15. - searchingfortruth - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    Senator Dillard was a joy to work with at all times. Pleasant, an active listener, concerned in a genuine manner about every corner of our State.

    Without question, would have won this Governor’s race by a double digit margin. A voice of moderation in an era of extremes on the left and right.


  16. - Left Leaner - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    Thanks you for your service Senator Dillard. You taught this government newbie (years ago) some good lessons - being a good listener chief among them.

    Please put 100% of your energy into helping bring the RTA out of the dark ages. The continued prosperity of our region depends on it!


  17. - Joe Schmoe - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    There are politicians and then there are statesmen. Statesmen look out for the common good of all. I think Kirk strived to fill that role. We’ll miss him in the Capitol!


  18. - walker - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    He never lied about the budget. That makes him among a tiny few.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    ===The Regional Transportation Authority is gaining a wonderful leader who’s knowledge and experience will bring value as chairman. I wish him all the best in his new endeavor.”===

    “…although I tried to derail it from happening, being the Tom Hagen I promised to be, so…yeah, good luck or something…”


  20. - Paul Lynde for the Block - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    “who’s knowledge”. W-H-O-S-E

    You’d think the silk stocking Rauner bunch could proofread or use the grammar review. Jeesh.


  21. - vulcan - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    Dillard couldn’t beat Rauner’s money in the Primary but he beat Rauner’s influence (or lack thereof) when he was elected RTA Chairman despite Rauner’s behind the scenes efforts to derail it.


  22. - Toure's Latte - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    One less moderate problem solver in Springfield. The RTA will tax his ability to the max. Straighten out that mess and he’s golden.


  23. - Publius - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 8:53 pm:

    I worked for Kirk when he was chief of staff and I was an agency head. He was a gentleman and a nice guy.

    In addition, he knew how budgets and government work.

    And best of all,whenever there was controversy he had my back !


  24. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 9:18 pm:

    It’s good to know Obama’s got a friend at the RTA.


  25. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 9:20 pm:

    I’m going to miss those “When I worked for Jim Edgar and Jim Thompson” intros to explaining a vote that was increasingly opposed to what Edgar and Thompson would have actually done.


  26. - Man Or Geek - Tuesday, Aug 5, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    There are very few people who can truly understand what it means to be a part of a legislative body, and understand the ideals that make the legislative process look for common ground.

    You time in the IL Senate is to be applauded. You were always willing to listen to the other side of the argument, not to score points, but often, to listen where compromise could be found.

    I was grateful for your time you served Illinois in the Senate, especially when the GOP was in the Majority in the Body. You gave your time, and your resources to Illinois, so thank you for the job you did. Your mark on Illinois during your time in the Senate is unmistakeable.

    Thank you.


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