Former Gov. George Ryan remains well-liked among state lawmakers, perhaps more popular than the current governor. Ryan made a rare public appearance in Waukegan Friday to speak about criminal justice reform. Those in attendance, including local politicians and state lawmakers, were eager to take pictures and speak with him, despite his five-year prison sentence for corruption.
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Several state legislators, including State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) said Ryan knew how to gain support for legislation from both parties, which has been a struggle since Gov. Bruce Rauner took office.
“I’ve served with five different governors: three Republicans and 2 Democrats, and I want to make this very clear: Gov. Ryan, we miss you,” Link said.Ryan himself wouldn’t criticize Rauner, saying the state’s “in a financial mess” and feels Rauner is trying to solve those issues. He did mention that when he was able to get along with House Speaker Michael Madigan when he was in office.“I had a good relationship with all the leaders in both sides of aisle and in both chambers. I had a good working relationship with all of them,” Ryan said.Ryan declined to offer any advice to Rauner saying “he’s doing OK.”
(Photo: Former Gov. George Ryan speaks to reporters in Waukegan on October 9, 2015.)