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Rep. Fortner to retire at end of term

Monday, Aug 7, 2017

* Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) becomes the latest budget veto overrider to announce his retirement…

Life is lived in cycles. There are cycles due to changes in our personal lives and those of our families. Elected officials are not immune to these cycles. At the end of this term in 2019 I will have served 12 years in the general assembly – 6 years representing the 49th district and 6 years before that representing the 95th district. Before I was sworn in as a state representative I served 12 years in elected office with the City of West Chicago – 6 years as mayor and 6 years as alderman before that. It has been my honor to serve the public at both the state and local level, but after many months of reflection I have decided that it is time for this cycle to end, and I will not run for reelection in 2018.

As a state representative I have been privileged to use my experience in local government, science and technology to help the people of Illinois. I led the effort to improve our electric power by allowing municipalities to buy power on behalf of their residents. I have been successful in protecting our privacy from unauthorized video recording and unauthorized use of passwords on social media. This year I was successful in helping to negotiate major improvements to the way we recycle electronic equipment, and to improve access to voting registration through automation. However, none of this would have been possible without the support of the people I represent and my colleagues in the legislature.

Twelve years ago a door opened for me when my predecessor decided to seek another position. With this announcement I can open a door to a successor, who I hope will enjoy the same support and success I have in public office.

He’s smart as heck and a sweet man. The GA is also losing its only nuclear physicist.

…Adding… The running list and a bit of context…


…Adding More… Leader Durkin…

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Mike Fortner throughout his time in the Illinois General Assembly. He has been a leading voice on important issues such as energy policy, election reform, local government and technology. Mike used his background and expertise to serve the public good and he has been a tremendously effective legislator. We will all miss his professorial intellect, wit and ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve the lives of Illinois families. I wish Mike all the best in his future endeavors.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - A guy - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:07 am:

    He is smart. He is kind. Impossible not to like on a personal basis. Decent people will miss him a lot.


  2. - The Captain - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:13 am:

    Chicken/egg question: how many of the Republicans who are retiring and voted for the tax hike are retiring because of the blowback and/or how many of these Republicans voted for the tax hike because they knew they would be retiring anyway?


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:14 am:

    It speaks volumes that those who voted to save Illinois from Raunerism… they are the ones that the General Assembly will feel the loss of them in the body.

    Stopping Raunerism is now up to the brave Republicans and Democrats.

    The IPI, Proft, Griffin, Uihlein, even Diana… they cheer rational, thoughtful legislators leaving the wholly owned Raunerite Party caucuses in the GA.

    Thank you, Rep. Fortner, for choosing to save Illinois when it mattered. I, for one, will remember, like when Dems had Blago, who stayed with Rauner far after the changes and the purge occurred.


  4. - Political Animal - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:22 am:

    Not surprising. I bet many of the retiring Republicans knew they’d retire before they cast that vote. They betrayed their voters, their party, and their principles.

    For too long the Republican Party in Illinois has just been “Democrat-lite.” Hopefully this is the start of an influx of real conservatives.


  5. - Leslie K - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:24 am:

    A generous spirit who is always a joy to have a conversation with. A decent man willing to make tough decisions. He will definitely be missed.


  6. - Mongo - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:32 am:

    Good morning Political Animal

    Do true conservatives dig in their heels and refuse to issue the $6B in bonds, costing the State $2,000,000 a day, when the only reason the bond issue has not occurred is because it was part of that dang budget-veto-override?

    Let’s see…30 days at $2,000,000 is a whopping $60,000,000! That’s not small change.

    I like conservatives. But don’t claim to be a “real” conservative while blowing money away.


  7. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    ” Hopefully this is the start of an influx of real conservatives.”

    I thought conservatives believed in paying their bills and and not destroying local communities.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    Calling yourself a - Political Animal - when your comments drip with Slytherin purity is the type of comic genius only the naive of one’s person can bring.

    Politics isn’t a religion.

    Destroying a state for an alleged false purity that includes refusing to pay bills and holding the state’s most vulnerable hostage… that’s not looking at things like a political animal, that’s looking at things with a Slytherin soul, hoping purity will destroy Illinois.


  9. - Retired Surs Employee - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    Rep. Fortner is my state representative. Over the years I have found him to be sincere, thoughtful, always willing to bend my ear concerning state pension matters, and impossible not to like. I am so sad that he will be leaving the General Assembly.


  10. - Political Animal - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    ==I thought conservatives believed in paying their bills and and not destroying local communities. ==

    Rauner couldn’t pay bills because the GA failed for two years to send him a balanced budget, as is their constitutional responsibility.

    Not sure what the destroying local communities bit refers to, but I see Rauner advocating for changes to strengthen local communities, like reforming local public collective bargaining and ending the fraud that is prevailing wage.


  11. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    It’s hard to imagine that Illinois government could become more dysfunctional.

    But who is going to replace these reasonable republicans? Likely more Rauner-bots.


  12. - en absentia - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    New blood in the General Assembly: Interesting. Imagining younger players; Millennials even. Imagining them being told how to vote on a bill, or shown the door by a ‘superior.’ Heh!


  13. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    Political Animal, perhaps you need a lesson in the Illinois Constitution. This one is real simple:

    “ILLINOIS CONSTITUTION - SECTION 2. STATE FINANCE (a) The Governor SHALL prepare and submit to the General Assembly, at a time prescribed by law, a state budget for the ensuing fiscal year…Proposed expenditures shall not exceed funds estimated to be available for the fiscal year as shown in the budget.

    So no, you’ve got the responsibility backwards. And it has now been 943 days in office that the governor has failed in HIS constitutional responsibility.


  14. - Miss Marie - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 10:26 am:

    “Rauner couldn’t pay bills because the GA failed for two years to send him a balanced budget, as is their constitutional responsibility.”

    Wasn’t Rauner also supposed to proposed a balance budget, too?


  15. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 10:27 am:

    And now to the post. Fortner was a smart, interesting legislator and he will be missed. I often didn’t agree with him but he was thoughtful. Oh yea, and the average IQ of the ILGA is about to drop a few points.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    ===Not sure what the destroying local communities bit refers to, but I see Rauner advocating for changes to strengthen local communities, like reforming local public collective bargaining and ending the fraud that is prevailing wage.===

    And yet, Rauner won’t tout that, only saying “local control”, rarely saying, since Decatur, that working Labor makes too much money and ending prevailing wage is good.

    You should ask Leslie Munger about RTW Zones while you’re at it, lol

    - Political Animal -

    Rauner vetoed this fiscal year budget.

    Don’t come back later and say “Rauner funded this… Rauner funded that”

    Rauner didn’t.

    Rauner vetoed it.

    So, complain all ya want about budgets now. Rauner until June 2018 has ZERO successes that exist within budgetary funding.

    None.


  17. - Arsenal - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    ==Not sure what the destroying local communities bit refers to, but I see Rauner advocating for changes to strengthen local communities, like reforming local public collective bargaining and ending the fraud that is prevailing wage.==

    Yeah, that’s what GMAB was referring to. You don’t protect communities by trying to slash community members’ pay.


  18. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    ==I thought conservatives believed in paying their bills and and not destroying local communities.==

    And I thought the goal of IPI was to eliminate taxes by destroying government.
    Here’s the game plan, “Democracy in Chains:”
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?430379-2/democracy-chains


  19. - PragmaticR - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    It is not a coincidence that 6 Republicans in the House have announced that they would not seek reelection within the last week. The Governor’s strategy on the budget and on education has put them in the difficult position of choosing between party ideology and district interests. The chance of an override of SB1 AV increases since these mostly moderate Republicans are no longer concerned about ideological purity for reelection purposes.


  20. - facts matter - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 11:01 am:

    == Rauner couldn’t pay bills because the GA failed for two years to send him a balanced budget, as is their constitutional responsibility. ==
    As
    If you’re going to make such a statement, at least try to make it factual or pretend to understand the process.

    First, Rauner doesn’t “pay bills” - the Comptroller does that. But she can’t pay bills unless there are two things: (1) a valid appropriation to pay the voucher, and (2) money in the bank to pay.

    Second, a balanced budget isn’t required to pay bills. But the agency spending the money does need an appropriation. An agency shouldn’t spend money or enter contracts in the absence of an appropriation. However, for the past 2.5 years the Governor’s agencies didn’t care about the lack of an appropriations and entered into contracts anyway. They also asked judges to order payments without an appropriation.


  21. - Been There - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 11:09 am:

    For all of you who want term limits give this some thought from a lobbyist. I have been going to Springfield for about 17 years and I still feel a little wet behind the ears compared to half the people down there. But I’m pretty sure my House seniority license plate would be in the top 15 by now.
    I always get a kick out of legislators asking us what is going on and then us lobbyist being able to tell them more than they know.


  22. - walker - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    To think that these folks had already decided to retire and then felt freer to vote their consciences, is backward and false.

    They are being driven out by direct threats of highly-funded primary contests. The funding is apparently being offered by Rauner, his allies, Proft, and national advocacy groups. That is not the only reason for such a choice, but clearly one important driver.

    Fortner is smart, responsible legislator, who incidently is an expert on redistricting reform. Another loss.


  23. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    Fortner was one of the better legislators. He’s thoughtful and tried to come up with doable ideas. I wish he would have freed himself from the Rauner shackles earlier. I understand those legislators frustrated by the continued dysfunction, but lament the replacements will be those owing their career to the money men rather than the constituents they’re supposed to serve.


  24. - Dome Gnome - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 11:18 am:

    Fortner’s my representative and I’ve had many a long talk with him. We never agree on the human services issues that matter most to me, but civility reigned supreme. This is a real shame.


  25. - Veil of Ignorance - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    Rep. Fortner is going to be missed. Didn’t agree on everything, but he was civil and thoughful in his words. Not the most concise person, but very willing to exchange ideas on any subject.


  26. - Senator Clay Davis - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 3:19 pm:

    With Biss and now Fortner leaving, the aggregate IQ in the building is set to take a big dive.

    Fortner is also one of the most sincere, non-self centered members down there. And I’ve probably had more truly fascinating conversations with him than any other member of the GA. Big loss for IL.


  27. - FDRDEMOCRAT - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 3:24 pm:

    Mike is a smart fellow and committed public servant.

    With he and Dan Biss leaving, there goes our PHD’s
    in math and physics!!!

    Katie Stuart will have to go back to graduate school to replace them!!


  28. - train111 - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 6:32 pm:

    Sad to hear
    Was a former neighbor of mine. Loves politics and the whole political process, so always an interesting conversation.
    Also the only Republican my mother-in-law has ever voted for.

    train111


  29. - anon2 - Monday, Aug 7, 17 @ 9:02 pm:

    One of the most thoughtful legislators, albeit socially conservative on gay rights, marijuana, and the death penalty.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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