Mike Madigan Does the Honors | Bleader

Mike Madigan Does the Honors


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For the sake of the Reader's 40th anniversary project, I've been thumbing through binders of back issues. Sic transit gloria. History may look impermeable, but it's woven from wafts of ephemera.

But there are exceptions. In the March 6, 1982 issue, I came across a cover feature by Steve Bogira (now a Reader editor), "Drawing the Lines," a discussion of the 1981 legislative remap in Illinois. This paragraph caught my eye:

"When state Representative Mike Madigan drew the legislative districts in Cook County last year, he created heaven for Democrats and hell for everyone else; that's why Democrats now genuflect whenever they near him."

Click here to read Bogira's story.

Roughly 30 years and three remaps later, they still do. The 2011 remap, based on the new census figures, is now underway, and Madigan, as speaker of the house, is again in the middle of it. Democrats control both houses and the governor's office, so in Illinois, if in few other states, they should have their way. As Shane Cultra, a Republican senator from downstate Onarga, told a local newspaper, "We'll just have to see what old Mike Madigan and [senate president] John Cullerton do and we'll have to live with it."

If an analogy is needed here, perhaps a good one is the Thanksgiving turkey. Once the family gives you the honor of carving the bird, you don't want to give it up.