Suburban lawmakers voted without reservations
SPRINGFIELD - In voting to oust him from office, suburban lawmakers vehemently rejected Gov. Rod Blagojevich's last-minute appeal to stay in office, passionately arguing the governor violated his oath of office and deserved to be removed.
"Gov. Blagojevich insists, and he said it today, that he puts the people's interests ahead of his own. Give me a break," said Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican. "A man who wants to help the people does not say he doesn't want to be 'stuck' in the governors office for the next two years."
"He's a cynical, calculating, self-serving man who cheated the people of this state of good governance and needs to be removed from office," said Sen. Matt Murphy, a Palatine Republican. "He reminded us in detail today he is an unusually good liar."
The House prosecutor and the governor each had 90 minutes to make a closing argument. The governor spoke for about 45 minutes. Each senator was allowed five minutes to speak before the final vote.
The Senate voted unanimously to remove Blagojevich as governor and bar him from holding state office in the future. Pat Quinn was sworn in as governor Thursday evening.
Sen. Dan Duffy, a Lake Barrington Republican, said that going forward, senators need to create a whistle-blower program to make sure no future governor can flout the law for as long as Blagojevich did.
"Illinois needs a new business model for doing the people's business," said Sen. Michael Noland, an Elgin Democrat. "Let us all pledge to do better."
"I will do all that I can ... to change Illinois government," agreed Sen. Dan Cronin, an Elmhurst Republican. Cronin said the first step toward an improved Illinois was removing the two-term Democratic governor.
"This man is without a doubt unfit to govern," Cronin said. "I vote without hesitation for conviction and removal. I do not delight in my task here today, but I welcome it as my responsibility."
Rep. Jim Durkin, a Westmont Republican, said he had heard Blagojevich's speech before.
"Gov. Blagojevich's statement is the same gibberish that I heard from defendants that were about to be sent away to penitentiaries when I prosecuted cases," Durkin said.