9 Democrats needed to oust Madigan

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Newly elected State Representative Mike Halpin of Rock Island says although not the "perfect choice", he intends to vote to retain Rep. Mike Madigan as House Speaker next Wednesday.

"I'm going to vote for the speaker I believe, as a Democrat, represents the values that I represent, so yes," said Halpin, who will be sworn in in Springfield that day.

The Chicago Tribune last week called for the ouster of Madigan after 30 years as Speaker, predicting two more years of dysfunction for the state of Illinois if he stays in his leadership role. Madigan has been in the House for 46 years.

Assuming all Republican representatives vote against Madigan, it would take 9 Democrats to hit the magic number of 60, the prospect, unlikely.

The Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative non-profit think tank says it is urging residents of Illinois to call on their lawmakers to make a change, before next week's vote.

"I think Illinois lawmakers need to be reminded two-thirds of Illinoisans disapprove of his leadership and they disapprove of the direction the state is going," said Eric Kohn, the marketing manager for the Institute.

"People are voting with their feet," Kohn said, referencing new numbers that show Illinois now has the highest rate of people leaving the state.

"I would hope all the members of the House take a serious look and recognize the need for new leadership," he said.

The Tribune's editorial board publicly provided a roster of what it said could be potential "swing" voters, based on their past support of term limits.

"Remember, you don't work for (Madigan). You work for voters. They didn't send you to Springfield to be gutless. They sent you to do what's best for Illinois, regardless of the consequences," the paper wrote.

Halpin, an attorney, said he would not rule out bi-partisanship cooperation this session when it comes to legislation and finding a solution to the budget crisis, but said he cannot support a Republican for House Speaker.

When asked about the influence of thousands of dollars from Madigan to his House campaign, Halpin said, "I don't owe anyone except the people that elected me."

The Illinois Policy Institute says it plans on holding a protest the day of the vote.

"No sitting Democrat in the House of Representatives has voted for anyone other than Mike Madigan as Speaker except for the two years in the '90's when Lee Daniels and the Republicans controlled the House. We're encouraging people to peacefully assemble and display signs encouraging the General Assembly and members of it to not vote for Michael Madigan for Speaker of the House," Kohn said.

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