* The election of Senate President Emil Jones’ replacement will mean more than just a new Democratic leader, it will mean a change to the entire Statehouse atmosphere…
The future of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s relationship with the General Assembly, and with the Senate in particular, will hinge on who replaces Jones as leader of the Senate Democrats, lawmakers said. […]
Jones’ retirement “might be a greater detriment to the governor than anyone else,” said Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield. But he warned that if Jones’ successor is a Blagojevich loyalist, “we’re looking at continued gridlock, I believe.”
* The AP further explains Bomke’s point…
Blagojevich has depended on Jones to block legislation he opposed and pass bills intended to embarrass or pressure his nemesis, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago). At times, Jones had to press Senate Democrats to go along with the governor.
Most recently, Jones pushed through the Senate several Blagojevich budget measures, including a multibillion-dollar capital construction plan that the House refused to approve.
Blagojevich won’t be able to count on that kind of coziness with the new president.
* A different angle from Bethany…
Senate Republicans are hoping the new leader, whoever it is, opens the door to improved communication. “We’ve always been willing to walk through the door, but the Senate president and the governor have walked in lockstep together,” says Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson. “And that has, unfortunately, not meant good things for Illinois.” […]
Even the House could feel a fresh, new-start feeling when the new legislative session starts in January, says Rep. Gary Hannig, a Litchfield Democrat and deputy majority leader. “There will be, sort of a, ‘It’s a new day. Let’s start over. Let’s be positive about it.”
* Cindy Canary’s quote may be going a bit far…
“It represents a revolution at our capital.”
That depends on who wins.
* And the SJ-R editorializes…
The next person to hold that job need not test the limits of that power by waging a pointless war with Madigan that would probably extend the Democrats’ record of failure.
The next Senate president, if he or she and Madigan work together, also could render the unpopular Gov. Rod Blagojevich mostly irrelevant. In his nearly six years in office, the governor has shown little inclination to work with legislators or govern responsibly. Jones has enabled such bad behavior.
With their complete control of state government, Democrats should have made progress on a whole host of issues from education funding to much-needed state construction money. Jones’ retirement is their second chance.
How do you think things will change, if at all?