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* Paris Schutz caught up to Rep. Ken Dunkin by phone…
“For [Speaker Madigan] to throw me under the bus like that is foul,” Dunkin told Chicago Tonight over the phone. “I guess they took for granted that I was going to be there. I told them emphatically that I was going out of town. They knew damn well I was going to be gone.”
Dunkin confirms that he was in New York for both work and personal reasons: he first attended a work conference and then a funeral for the friend of his wife. He says he told the speaker and his staff that he was upset the bill wasn’t called a week earlier, and he sacrificed personal and family time to be at the statehouse then, and that he supported the bill at that time. But Dunkin says that his support for the bill eroded when he started asking more questions.
“This is such an unprecedented move by any union under any governor in this state’s history. I wanted to see what they were talking about,” Dunkin says. “I wanted to see the union’s position and where they were in negotiations in writing. I asked AFSCME for information on what specifically they were negotiating and they said, ‘We don’t typically share that information.’ I also asked the governor’s office and had to squeeze information out of them.” […]
When asked if Gov. Rauner did anything to persuade Dunkin to miss the vote or if he offered any sort of benefit in return, Dunkin said, “Hell no.” But Dunkin admits that the governor made the case that AFSCME had a poor record on hiring and protecting the jobs of minorities in state agencies. He says AFSCME flatly rejected that claim but offered him no evidence to the contrary. […]
“The speaker made this a super issue,” Dunkin said. “I don’t want to be a part of his political manipulations. I don’t know what he was thinking when he called the bill knowing he didn’t have 71 votes. He knew I wasn’t 100 percent on board anyway. I’m not in the pocket of Mike Madigan. I don’t work for Mike Madigan, I work with him. I don’t work for the governor. You can print that.”
“There are 47 other bodies that [Madigan] has worked with equally if not longer,” Dunkin said. “But I’m the cause of his self-manufactured defeat? Meantime, on Wednesday eight people were killed in Chicago. The schools are $480 million short. And this is the most salient thing we can talk about in Springfield? This bill meant nothing to the average person.”