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Rep. Chad Hays to retire: “Blame, press conferences and talking points have replaced governing”

Monday, Jul 3, 2017

* This is a huge blow to the Illinois House. Bipartisan, hard-working, tenacious and an all around good guy

State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) announced today that he will not seek reelection in 2018. He has served in the General Assembly since December of 2010 and as Assistant Minority Leader since 2013. 

“Serving in the Illinois House of Representatives has been a supreme honor and a tremendous privilege,” said Hays. “I have been a passionate advocate for Vermilion and Champaign Counties and the East Central Illinois area, and sincerely appreciate the opportunity to temporarily occupy the seat representing the 104th District.” 

Hays pointed to a changing political climate in Springfield as a contributing factor of his upcoming exit from State politics. “The functionality of the Illinois General Assembly today is simply untenable and counterproductive,” said Hays. “Legislators who care deeply and have the courage of their convictions and the intestinal fortitude to do what is right regardless of consequences are increasingly silenced. I believe we are in serious jeopardy of independent thought being a relic in our public discourse.”

Go read the rest here.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m expecting a large number of retirements. People are just sick of this nonsense.

* Hays’ official retirement letter says it all

The current dislike and distrust between the Governor and Speaker of the House has paralyzed government in Illinois. Ego, money and power eclipse the desire of well-meaning and honest public servants. Blame, press conferences and talking points have replaced governing. Voices of moderation and reason are increasingly elbowed out by well financed fringe elements.

Our State faces financial calamity due to years of spending well beyond its means and the collective inability of leaders to put petty, partisan differences aside for the common good.

The Governor’s office has struggled with identifying which fights to fight and what constitutes victory. Politics is the art of the doing the doable, particularly when you are in the minority. The pathway to success for the Administration is to seek and build upon incremental progress.

The rules of engagement in the House of Representatives are the conduit to one man unilaterally controlling the Legislative process in a total and complete end run around Democracy. The stifling nature of the House Rules render “we the people” void of a voice or even a venue from which to be heard. The House has become a remote outpost in relation to what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

There truly are legislators who care deeply, have the courage of their convictions and the intestinal fortitude to do what must be done regardless of consequences. They are increasingly silenced and dwarfed by monied bullies. We are in serious jeopardy of independent thought being a relic in our public discourse.

The functionality of the Illinois General Assembly today is simply untenable and counterproductive.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

55 Comments
  1. - Curl of the Burl - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    I hope this is an acceptable phrase:

    Son of a biscuit.


  2. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:27 am:

    Reading his words instantly reminded me of this press conference….

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/83756509-157.html


  3. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:27 am:

    This is sad. If hardworking, bipartisan, thoughtful people are driven out of the legislature, with whom are we left?


  4. - W Flag - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:27 am:

    Sadly true!

    No need to rehash the manifold issues related to Madigan.

    The most accurate criticism of Rauner is his refusal to accept incremental changes as the beginning of the turn-around. His all or nothing approach has not served Illinois well. Half a loaf is better than none.


  5. - JoanP - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    Sorry, anonymous at 11:27 was me.


  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    Very well said.


  7. - SAP - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    We are rapidly running out of legislators who can reach across the aisle.


  8. - Annonin' - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    He is no Bill Black, but generally ok. He was stifled to the point that he could send 3 bills to Gov. “Happy” Junk. Not bad
    That leaves Sen. Harmon as a solo


  9. - Hamlet's Ghost - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:30 am:

    @Ducky LaMoore

    After clinking your link, I saw this headline from June 10, 2015:

    == Rauner ratchets up rhetoric against Madigan, Cullerton amid impasse ==


  10. - FDRDEMOCRAT - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:31 am:

    Rep. Hays is a good guy, legislator and advocate for central Illinois.

    He will be missed.


  11. - Markus - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:31 am:

    Agreed, well said. But I’ve read recently, those often maligned House Rules were actually put in place by the Republican caucus during their brief stint in power. There’s a lesson there somewhere.


  12. - Colin O'Scopey - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:32 am:

    At this point, the Illinois flag should be changed to the “white flag of surrender”.


  13. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    Unfortunately, he will almost certainly be replaced by an appointee with allegiance and fealty to Rauner, which will only make things worse. :-(


  14. - phocion - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    Stirring words on the eve of Independence Day.


  15. - Johnny Paycheck - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    I saw him do a pretty mean DAC karaoke one time too. Sounds like an encore performance of “Take This Job and Shove it” might be in order.


  16. - Roman - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:35 am:

    == I’m expecting a large number of retirements. ==

    Yep, and they’ll almost all be middle-of-the-road, sensible problem solvers. That’s the way it’s gone so far: Hays, Nekritz, Radogno, Bivins.

    God help us.


  17. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    I’m sure it’ll feel good to take Rauner’s boot out of his behind


  18. - Who's Next? - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    Jimenez? Bryant?


  19. - SAP - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    Also, I guess Rep. Hayes won’t be looking for a job with the Rauner administration after retirement.


  20. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    ILGOP danced to a piper with millions and a penchant for destruction. This weekend they are seeing the results. Nothing. They danced themselves into a corner, leaving supporters bitter and feeling like losers. ILGOP so sold themselves on Rauner they are struggling to save face.

    Minority parties cannot simply paralyze governments to score political victories. Obstructionism isn’t victorious when the obstructionists don’t know when to claim victory. ILGOP allowed it to be marginalized for a final big victory. Rauner led them to failure instead.

    ILGOP forgot how to win, and let a charlatan charm them into doing nothing to win again. Rauner couldn’t sell Illinoisans on his Turnaround nonsense, but he did get ILGOP to follow him, didn’t he?


  21. - Anon - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    Boat Drink Caucus decimated!


  22. - anonymous - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:44 am:

    Sure…believable…BUT…I can’t help but notice a number of GA folks in the last two years who leave service exactly at the minimum number of years required to pull a very nice lifetime pension at exactly age 55. Are people not noticing this? Perhaps media should do a piece on this.


  23. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    When was the last year the General Assembly was tendable and productive? I assume he means passed a truly balanced budget. 1982?


  24. - Undiscovered country - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    Illinois Governing Republicans - Rest in Peace


  25. - Clarity - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    He just voted for a large tax increase. He was going to get “primaried”, and he knew it before the vote. Is what he did yesterday (the vote) and what he is doing now (announcing resignation) courageous? Or is it desperation to define his legacy, and introduction to his next career?


  26. - Dr. M - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    Voluntary term limits may prove to be the Gov’s biggest policy success. Sad to see Hayes go, he’s a class act.


  27. - Macbeth - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:51 am:


    This is sad. If hardworking, bipartisan, thoughtful people are driven out of the legislature, with whom are we left?

    The people that Rauner wants.


  28. - Glengarry - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    Who needs term limits when you have Rauner….


  29. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    It is a mistake to assume that retiring GOP moderates will be replaced by GOP extremists.

    Democrats can win those seats with moderates too.

    Don’t assume.


  30. - Ginhouse Tommy - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    Rauner is no different than Blago. He’s toxic and every decent person in the GA wants to stay away from him.


  31. - Gruntled University Employee - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    === I’m expecting a large number of retirements.===

    And yet there are only 2 that I can think of that would make a difference.


  32. - Responsa - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    Hays pretty well kneecapped both the governor and the speaker. It’s fascinating how commenters on this thread are reading into his letter only what they want and need for their partisan talking points, and ignoring the rest.


  33. - Nick Name - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    He couldn’t have served out his term? If it’s bad now, doesn’t giving Gov. Gaslight the opportunity to appoint your replacement make it worse? Seems counterproductive to me.


  34. - Quiet Sage - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    To Markus@11:30 am: The House rules, or something very close to them, were originally put in place by a Senate Republican Majority lead by Pate Philip. Lee Daniels adopted these rules during his brief stint as Speaker in 1995-96, and then Madigan retained them after becoming Speaker, gradually making them even more restrictive. The moral seems to be that the Illinois General Assembly in recent decades has always trended toward greater centralization, less real democracy, and the lowest common denominator. Good people are driven out. This applies to both parties.


  35. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    ==It is a mistake to assume that retiring GOP moderates will be replaced by GOP extremists.

    Democrats can win those seats with moderates too.

    Don’t assume. ==

    Many (most) of the Republican districts were stacked, so that makes it an uphill climb for a Dem, even a moderate one.


  36. - Juice - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    Nick Name, he says in the letter he is planning on finishing out his term.

    Bring Back Bill Black!


  37. - cardsfan - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    @ Nick Name
    “…he will not seek reelection in 2018″

    Open seat for both parties to run for. No Raunerite appointment, thank goodness!


  38. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    You can only be silenced if you acquiesce, for whatever rationalizations you choose to make.


  39. - The Great One - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    He is trying to put blame elsewhere when in all reality he knows after voting for the tax increase that he never would stand a chance at being re-elected. Total sell out! Wonder what he got in return for voting for the huge tax increase?


  40. - Tar & Feather RINO's - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    We did not elect him as a Republican to vote with madigan and the dems. Good riddance.


  41. - anon2 - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    == I’m expecting a large number of retirements. ==

    How many more of the 15 GOP Profiles in Courage will join Hays? That way they prevent a nasty Proft primary.


  42. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    ==Wonder what he got in return for voting for the huge tax increase?==
    If a retiring republican wanted something for his/her vote, then voting against the budget (standing with Rauner) would be the way to go.


  43. - Arsenal - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    ==Wonder what he got in return for voting for the huge tax increase?==

    A balanced state budget.

    Assuming Rauner doesn’t bollocks that up.


  44. - Arsenal - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    ==Hays pretty well kneecapped both the governor and the speaker. It’s fascinating how commenters on this thread are reading into his letter only what they want and need for their partisan talking points, and ignoring the rest.==

    “Republican criticizes Madigan” isn’t exactly a man-bites-dog story, now, is it?


  45. - wilson - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 1:24 pm:

    Sigh. Retirements of good people make it even more likely the legislature will be dominated by those who put party before the state.


  46. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 1:45 pm:

    == I assume he means passed a truly balanced budget. 1982? ==

    Probably FY71 - FY74.


  47. - CookR - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    ==How many more of the 15 GOP Profiles in Courage will join Hays?==

    If the 15 GOP yes votes were “Profiles in Courage”, what were the Dem no votes?


  48. - Dirty Red - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    = We are rapidly running out of legislators who can reach across the aisle. =

    It’s almost like that has been a long time goal.


  49. - GLG - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    anonymous - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:44 am:

    Sure…believable…BUT…I can’t help but notice a number of GA folks in the last two years who leave service exactly at the minimum number of years required to pull a very nice lifetime pension at exactly age 55. Are people not noticing this? Perhaps media should do a piece on this.

    Why? This is perfectly legal, you would take it too if you were one of them.


  50. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:08 pm:

    To the Post,

    Another huge blow to the Body and to the State.

    If you read the letter and understand that the legislator writing it isn’t someone who trades in the art of lip service for the sake of saying something, this letter is only sadder that it ends with Representative Hays’ departure.

    Why each loss compounds the losses of the others, looking at the individual leaving, this loss has its own stinging aspects. When central and downstate Illinois lose advocates that practice in the art of doing the doable and both the Chamber they work, and the governor that governs won’t allow the work to happen, how can you honestly blame anyone?

    Rep. Hays, I’ve always held you to a big higher bar because so many pointed to you as the benchmark others should aspire. You have been an exemplary legislator, and more important now, an even better person within this mess we find ourselves.

    Thank you for your service, when you do leave, the House will have one less member who understands the need to govern, and how governing is achieved.

    My very best,

    Oswego Willy


  51. - Boone's is Back - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:30 pm:

    Wow. Well said and spot on.


  52. - Truth Squad - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:38 pm:

    –It is a mistake to assume that retiring GOP moderates will be replaced by GOP extremists.

    Democrats can win those seats with moderates too.

    Don’t assume.—

    No Democrat is winning in the 104th. Not even against a tea party whacko. It is just going to require the sane wing of the Champaign Co. GOP to keep the crazies out of the race and find a qualified replacement.


  53. - anon - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 8:51 pm:

    So glad to see so many people here proving what Mr. Hays says is wrong with the legislature echoed in the public sector. Keep blaming the other side of the aisle for everything wrong with the state/government. Scorn him if you’re a R and he voted for a tax increase to try to compromise and save the state from increased problems because that one vote certainly cancels out all the things he’s voted for since 2010 that you did agree with, oh, and if you’re a D be sure to gloat as as much as you can because he did and deflect your party’s responsibility for the mess we are now in. If you actually take the time to read his resignation he blames leadership on both sides for their ineffectiveness to look past their own personal or party interests and try to make government work (so pretty much what most of you are doing on here with your own discourse), for failing to do the basic jobs for which they were elected. You all complain all day long about how the state government needs to do something, yet you promote the same climate that’s caused the impasse for the past three years. Sadly, Jefferson was right, that you get the government you deserve. I’m sorry Mr. Hays feels he has to not seek re-election, but it is certainly understandable in this climate. He has served the 104th well and fought hard to try to improve conditions in his district, and I can say that as someone who is not a member of his party but still recognizes that he’s done a good job.


  54. - PassTheBudget&Revenue - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:24 pm:

    Rep. Hays, thank you for your service. Your good representation of “for the people” has not gone unnoticed. Rep. Hays, please stay & fight for us. The people of IL need you now more than ever.


  55. - Mama - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:27 pm:

    “Hays pointed to a changing political climate in Springfield as a contributing factor of his upcoming exit from State politics. “The functionality of the Illinois General Assembly today is simply untenable and counterproductive,” said Hays. “Legislators who care deeply and have the courage of their convictions and the intestinal fortitude to do what is right regardless of consequences are increasingly silenced. I believe we are in serious jeopardy of independent thought being a relic in our public discourse.”

    This statement says all we need to know.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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