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Who hasn’t heard of Mike Madigan?’: Chicago area residents chime in on long time pol’s resignation

Chicago Sun Times

Thursday, February 18, 2021  |  Article  |  Matthew Hendrickson

Madigan, Michael--State House, 22

News of longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan’s decision to resign his state House seat percolated Thursday in the Southwest Side’s 22nd District where the powerful pol presided for half a century.


“Who hasn’t heard of Mike Madigan?” Gregory Hatchett, 55, of Country Club Hills, laughed while shopping at the Bedford Park Home Depot. “He’s just Mike. I liked him.


“But you knew something like this would happen eventually, just with the way he was with other politicians.”


Hatchett, like most others who spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times, said he only knew a handful of things about Madigan: He was connected to a recent scandal involving ComEd, he was powerful — both feared and reviled — and he had been a part of Illinois political life for as long as they could recall.


Madigan hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing, but a federal indictment last summer accused ComEd leadership of bribing Madigan associates in exchange for passing legislation that was beneficial to the state’s largest electricity utility company.


Lloyd Mitchell, 71, pointed to that case, saying Madigan was an example of why he distrusts many politicians.


“You’re not supposed to use your office for personal gain,” Mitchell said while loading groceries outside Lots-4-Less in West Lawn. “I think for too long politicians have forgotten that they’re supposed to be serving the people.”


Mitchell said he wasn’t surprised by Madigan’s resignation.

“He lost a lot of his power,” Mitchell said. “What’s the point anymore? But he’ll still be around. He’s still the chairman of the [Illinois] Democratic Party.”


Len Tomicki, a longtime Clearing resident, said he had voted for Madigan in the past but started leaving the 22nd District race portion of his ballot blank in recent years.


When asked what came to mind at the mention of Madigan’s name, Tomicki, was blunt.


“Thief,” Tomicki, 63, said. “I’m sorry, but it’s been going on a long time, for years. He just finally got caught.”


Not everyone said they would fault Madigan if he is eventually charged with a crime.


“If someone is trying to take a little for himself, that’s just human nature,” Muhammed Mahmed said.


Still, the Scottsdale resident said, it was probably time for the former speaker to go.


“When you get old like me, there’s no use to being in power,” Mahmed, 71, said. “They’ll just replace him with someone else.”