[Bumped up to Friday for visibility.]
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In a stunning development amid ongoing negotiations to end the budget crisis in Springfield, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno has announced she is stepping down July 1.
Radogno’s announcement came after a private meeting with GOP Senate colleagues, on the heels of a meeting of the four top state lawmakers at the Illinois State Capitol.
“I have really tried hard and it’s time for someone else to take the reins,” Radogno said at a news conference, adding she wants to travel with her husband and spend time with her five grandchildren.
She told reporters that the end of the fiscal year is a “natural break” to leave her position, despite the fact that leaders in the House and Senate have still failed to reach a budget deal. She said she would continue to work on a resolution through Friday.
Radogno began her third term as leader in 2013. She has served in the Illinois Senate since 1997 and represents the 41st District in DuPage, Will and Cook counties.
In discussing her departure, she also became teary-eyed while discussing the sudden death of Lisa Radogno, her daughter, in 2014. Lisa Radogno, 31, was an executive assistant for Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; she died from a blood clot in her lung about a month after she was injured in a hit-and-run accident.
“It doubled down my interest in it [politics], but it did give me the perspective that nothing is forever,” Radogno said. “And I don’t want to squander my life with my husband and my grandkids and my other daughters. We only all have a certain amount of time and that experience told me, that’s for sure.”
Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, praised Radogno, saying she “demonstrated true willingness to negotiate in good faith,” and that she showed the “humanity” that’s needed within the next few days to end the budget impasse.
* Tina took a great photo…
* Illinois Senate Republican leader Radogno steps down: Even before her announcement, behind-the-scenes efforts to replace Radogno were being made by state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who served as her top deputy in the Senate GOP caucus, and by state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, the former Kane County Board chairwoman from St. Charles, legislative sources said. Talk of Radogno’s decision had begun spreading privately during the closing days of June in the aftermath of months of contentiousness with a Democratic legislative majority and a demanding Republican governor who has extensively used his personal wealth to command loyalty among GOP lawmakers. Radogno found her members’ loyalty to Rauner sometimes created problems with loyalty to her leadership, some GOP lawmakers said privately. That surfaced in attempts with Democrat Cullerton to negotiate an end to the state’s historic budget impasse known as the “grand bargain.”
* Christine Radogno resigns from Illinois Senate: She said she was not leaving out of frustration with a lack of support from the governor. “I feel strongly the governor has the right agenda, but it’s not that easy getting there. We need fundamental change in this building, but we need to compromise in order to get there,” she said.
* Radogno sends shockwave with sudden resignation from Senate: Radogno said she isn’t resigning because of the lack of budget progress. “I can expel that unequivocally,” Radgono said. “I was disappointed … that it didn’t happen. If that was my motivation, I would have been gone then. I really wanted to continue to try to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt and try to get to a place where we have the agreement.”
* Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno to resign: In the past few weeks, Radogno has maintained a relatively low profile at the Capitol. When Senate Republicans have scheduled news conferences or other public events to present their views, Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Sen. Karen McConnaughay of St. Charles have often led the discussion. Radogno, who has served in the Senate since 1997, did not mention a successor to her role as Senate Republican leader. In her statement, she said it was time for a new leader.
* Batinick: Timing of Radogno’s resignation ‘brings uncertainty’: “I’m not surprised that she resigned; I am surprised that she is doing it so soon,” Batinick told the Will County Gazette. “I knew her very well and respected her very much. I wish her the best in the future. Her replacement has big shoes to fill.”
* Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno latest to resign: Radogno’s resignation follows that of state Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook, state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine, state Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge, among others.