(The Center Square) – Former state Rep. Michael Madigan didn’t have any public questions for the 26-year-old he nominated to be his replacement in the statehouse.
His weighted vote went to appoint Edward Guerra Kodatt to fill the vacancy.
“We’ve gathered here this morning because I have resigned as the state representative for the 22nd district for the state of Illinois,” Madigan said Sunday at the Balzekas Museum ballroom. “I want to thank … all of those people who have permitted me to serve as a local state representative and then later as the speaker of the House for several, several years.”
Madigan, D-Chicago, resigned Thursday. He’d been in office since 1971. He had been speaker of the House for all but two years since 1983 until he lost a bid last month.
During Madigan's tenure, the state’s credit rating plummeted to near junk status with ballooning legacy pension debt and unbalanced budgets.
Madigan also caps his career being labeled as “Public Official A” by federal investigators in a nine-year bribery scheme involving ComEd. Last year, the utility admitted it paid bribes to Madigan associates in an effort to influence the speaker.
Madigan said Sunday his goal in his 50 years of service was to focus on making life easier for working-class people.
“I would hope that my successor as a state representative would follow the same approach,” Madigan said.
Voters don’t get a say in filling vacancies in the Illinois House. State law has leaders of the previous officeholder’s political affiliation fill the vacancy. Madigan had a weighted vote Sunday.
Several candidates applied and took questions from party officials. Kodatt said he was involved in the service office of Ward 13 Alderman Marty Quinn and Madigan.
“At first that meant filling potholes, then it meant shoveling snow for our seniors,” Kodatt said. “Eventually I was tasked with serving as a bilingual liaison and helping with budget planning.”
Marty Quinn is the brother of disgraced former Madigan operative Kevin Quinn, who was fired by Madigan shortly after a female staffer went public with allegations that she was sexually harassed by Kevin Quinn. Marty Quinn also has been named in subpoenas tied to the federal corruption probe.
Kodatt also worked on several political campaigns and said he’ll worry about whether to run for the position “at a later date.”
Madigan deferred questions for Kodatt to other Democratic party officials, but later nominated Kodatt, who eventually got 63 percent of the vote and was appointed.
“I would ask the committee if there was a desire to make the nomination unanimous,” Madigan asked.
Several members of the panel said no.
“There are severe problems facing the state of Illinois, the government of the state of Illinois, and COVID is just one of them,” Madigan said, calling the state’s financial problems “severe.”
Madigan has not been charged with a crime in the ComEd bribery scheme and he will still wield power as the chair of the state Democratic Party, which gives him control over millions of dollars in campaign funds.