Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » The 2017 exodus
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
The 2017 exodus

Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

If it seems to you that more legislators are announcing their retirements than in the past, you’re right, at least about the House.

With the recent retirement announcement by Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), a total of 24 House members have either resigned or announced that they weren’t running for reelection.

That compares to 16 state representatives who retired or resigned during the 99th General Assembly, a two-year period which ended this past January.

Seventeen House members retired or resigned during the 98th General Assembly. Sixteen retired or resigned during the 97th, and 17 resigned during the 96th. Members who lost reelection races and those who died aren’t included in these figures.

So, that’s an average of 16.5 retirements/resignations every two years. And we’re already at 24 after only nine months of the 100th General Assembly.

Now, there are some caveats here. Two House members (Juliana Stratton and Litesa Wallace) are leaving to run for lieutenant governor, but that’s unusual because they’re really just beginning their legislative service. Another, Scott Drury, is running for attorney general, but he’s clearly dissatisfied with the House.

Even so, statewide bids by House members are pretty rare, mainly because their two-year terms requires giving up their seats. If House members do run statewide, it’s usually because they’re nearing the end of their careers.

So, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Statehouse’s toxic atmosphere and the political exhaustion it has caused are the main reasons why we’ve seen so many House retirements.

But that hasn’t necessarily been the case in the Senate, which has so far seen 7 retirements/resignations since January. Nine Senators retired or resigned during the 99th General Assembly. Then again, just one retired during the 98th. And 12 retired or resigned during the 97th, while 6 did so during the 96th GA. Unlike the House, the Senate’s retirement rate has been all over the place.

The House has twice as many members as the Senate, but more than three times as many House members have resigned or retired so far. What gives? Senators have longer, staggered terms, so that may be part of it.

The one Senator we know for sure who quit because of the dysfunction was also the most high-profile resignation of the year: Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. Leader Radogno sparred with the governor’s campaign apparatus during the 2016 campaign season and then was repeatedly undercut by the governor and his team during her ultimately unsuccessful “grand bargain” negotiations with the Senate Democrats.

Just one Senate Republican, Dale Righter, voted for the income tax hike, and he is in the middle of a four-year term. But 15 House Republicans voted for that bill, although some didn’t vote for the veto override. All of those Republicans were immediately denounced as essentially being Speaker Michael Madigan-supporting traitors by the Illinois Republican Party. Gov. Bruce Rauner has since said that support for the education funding reform bill would cause him to forget the tax hike vote, but the damage was already done. The blowback from the folks back home was horrific.

Nine of the eleven House Republicans who’ve so far said they’re not running again voted for the income tax hike.

Rauner has been focused like a laser on defeating as many of Speaker Madigan’s House Democrats as possible. But he’s also said publicly that he doesn’t really care if the Senate Democrats retain their majority as long as he can topple Madigan.

Twelve House Democrats have so far either quit or announced they aren’t running again. Several of those faced tough general election races next year if they ran again. Others said they’d just had enough of the war and wanted the heck out.

Now, I’m an agnostic when it comes to term limits. I can see the good and the bad either way. Fresh ideas and a clean slate would be welcomed in this state. But some fresh ideas can also be stupid ideas. And term limits on legislators make governors more powerful — and that may not be a good thing when you look at Illinois’ history of gubernatorial elections.

But this sort of turnover (on top of any electoral losses next year) means that a higher percentage of House members will be newbies. So, remaining legislators with more experience (along with lobbyists and staff) will gain even more influence and power, unless those who are elected next year take much more independent stances — and that doesn’t seem all that likely to me.

* The list…

* Related…

* Walker to run for his former House seat: Former Democratic state Rep. Mark Walker of Arlington Heights said Monday he plans to make a bid for his old House seat that’s being vacated by Republican David Harris. The Wheeling Township Democratic committeeman says he knows the difficulty of finding candidates interested in the role, given ongoing gridlock in Springfield.

* Former state representative becomes lobbyist: Former State Rep. Brandon Phelps stepped down Sept. 1 citing health reasons, but two weeks later he registered as a lobbyist.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 10, 17 @ 9:27 am:

    Interesting, IPI broke the Phelps scoop and got no credit in WSIL piece.

  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 10, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    While the difficulty factor of being a legislator has escalated drastically in the past few years, there will always be a line of those wanting to jump in headfirst. Unfortunately, those that want to go for it are the type that have made it more difficult recently - taking money from Big Daddy ATMs who yearn to be recognized by the Multi-Billionaire Club. (You get invited to the retreats!). If the would be candidate says “I just want to give back” or some such nonsense, he/she is either a naive dolt or a bs-er of long standing. The latter is actually the unstated prerequisite for getting in the door. Sad.

  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 10, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    Looking at Illinois Sunshine linked from CapFax last year, Phelps was taking money from the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers local 150 in Countryside, which is a long way from Harrisburg.

    Phelps taking money from the 150 union 350 miles away didn’t make sense, until I remembered seeing Phelps and former 150 lobbyist (now NRA lobbyist) Todd Vandermyde walking into the Stratton building together in 2013, during the concealed carry bill. Phelps and Vandermyde were basically joined at the hip through 2013 during the debates on the carry bill, and Phelps got NRA money also.

  4. - Jocko - Tuesday, Oct 10, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    I’m just hoping that the we’ve reached the limit of what partisan politics and disdain for government does for us. Can we swing back to D’s & R’s working collaboratively for the common good?

  5. - anon2 - Tuesday, Oct 10, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    Walker was recognized last year as one of the top commenters on this site. He has demonstrated both the temperment and a deep understanding of state issues to make a difference.

  6. - Ron - Tuesday, Oct 10, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    Good, now only if Mike Madigan would join the exodus.

  7. - State worker - Tuesday, Oct 10, 17 @ 12:34 pm:

    Very disappointed to hear about Phelps. That’s a slap in the face to his constituents.

  8. - walker - Tuesday, Oct 10, 17 @ 6:47 pm:

    Boy I’m gonna miss this place, and the great commenters here.

    Some have become my heroes and heroines from a distance.You have kept us involved and informed for the last many years.

    Even if I tried my best to be fair and true, it would do Rich’s saloon no good to have ongoing commentary from someone currently running for office.

    Happy trails my friends, Mark Walker

  9. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 10, 17 @ 7:00 pm:

    - walker -

    Godspeed. All the best, good luck.

    Oswego Willy

  10. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 11, 17 @ 1:26 am:

    State- I really can’t see anyone who knows Phelps’ track record hiring him.

    Phelps tried to pose as the struggling downstate good old boy who would bring concealed carry to Illinois, then he let the police unions write the concealed carry bill and load it up with everything they wanted. His carry bill put every gun owner in the state in more danger from police and police impersonators than they would be without a license, all the while intoning the name of Otis McDonald. He wouldn’t get much lobbying business if the average NRA member didn’t have the I.Q. of a turnip.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* More evidence that Tribune editorial board members don't read their own newspaper
* *** UPDATED x2 *** IHSA defies governor
* Sun-Times Editorial Board: Save The Solar Industry In Veto Session
* Context is key
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Lightfoot and city's top public health doc clearly not on the same page as mayor responded to mitigation order
* 6,110 new cases, 51 additional deaths, 2,861 hospitalized, 6.7 percent positivity rate - Springfield region one day away from mitigation mark
* Lake and McHenry counties' turn in mitigation
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x2 *** After weeks of enduring attacks, Londrigan puts up new explainer ad
* Rate Ives' closing cable ad
* COVID-19 roundup
* Today's number: 124,000 hours of IDES overtime
* Downstate manufacturing training academies to be created by state
* Urbana city council calls on Pritzker to enact utility disconnection moratorium
* React rolls in to winter prep sports changes
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition and some campaign news
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller