Smiddy says Madigan has “kinda outlived his usefulness”

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MOLINE, Illinois – If you think Illinois state government has achieved little in its last session, you're not alone.

It's a view shared by a lawmaker who was in Springfield during it all.

"The past two years have been a complete failure on the part of government in Illinois and I think the next two years are going to be a lot more of the same," said outgoing Illinois Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) during an interview with News 8's Jim Mertens.

Representative Mike Smiddy ends four years in the legislature in frustration.   The state is still mired in a seemingly unending budget battle.

And as for a quick settlement?

"I don't hold out a lot of hope."

Area lawmakers say they did win a big December battle by passing a new statewide energy initiative that keeps the Quad City nuclear power plant open, retaining 800-high paying jobs in the area.   But no such bi-partisan, down to the wire compromise can be reached on the budget between Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders like House Speaker Michael Madigan.

"Unfortunately, when it comes down to the budget, you're not working with different entities, you're working with two extremely big egos with the Governor and the Speaker," said Smiddy.

Though he puts the lion's share of the blame at the feet of those two people, Rep. Smiddy doesn't pull his punches when it comes to his fellow Democrat: Speaker Madigan.

He says Madigan's control of the House stops any major legislative reforms like overhauling the way the state redistricts political boundaries.

"As long as you have the Speaker controlling what gets out of the rules (committee) for legislation, I don't see it coming anywhere close to hitting the floor."

And as for term limits, forget about it.

"It's not about getting rid of your local legislator," Smiddy believes.

"It's all geared toward getting rid of Madigan and in some respects I don't think that's a bad idea.  I think he's kinda outlived his usefulness in Springfield."

Smiddy lost re-election to his 71st State Assembly seat to his Republican opponent, Savanna Mayor Tony McCombie.   McCombie will take the oath of office later this month.