Gov. Pat Quinn shouldn’t show his face in the 618 area code anytime soon, based on the reaction from Southern Illinois lawmakers. “He kept saying this is our Illinois; a lot of those issues, it wasn’t my Illinois,” said State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), pointing to this week’s prison assault. “He was proud of closing those 54 facilities. He’s going to get somebody hurt. You see what’s going on in Menard right now. I attribute that to Tamms (supermax correctional center) being shut down.”
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“I think we’ve taken a lot of hits,” said State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) of the facility closures. “Trying to draw positive attention to something that’s devastating to our communities down there is something that we didn’t particularly appreciate.”
While he is not shy about criticizing the governor, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) credited him with coming up with something comparatively new, a proposal to increase the minimum wage: “It’s great to say something he said which is true, that nobody working 40 hours a week in Illinois should live in poverty. I agree with that, but we have to get there by doing the right thing.”
Republican reaction was, by and large, predictable.
“I wonder what planet Gov. Quinn’s on,” said State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth). “He needs to come to Macon County, where we’ve got 12 percent unemployment.”
“Frankly, it was a campaign speech, primarily targeted to demographics who vote in Democrat primaries for governor,” said State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine).