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Chicago Says Bye to Blago

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Illinois residents are wrapping their heads around the idea of a new governor Friday. On Thursday, the Illinois Senate voted unanimously to impeach Rod Blagojevich. Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was sworn into office. Chicago Public Radio’s Adriene Hill talked with people on their morning commute about what they make of the political downfall of Blagojevich.

Newspaper headlines tell the story pretty well. The cover of the suburban paper, the Daily Herald, reads “OUSTED, 59 to 0, Senate votes Blagojevich out, bans him from future office.” The Chicago Tribune has a quote from new Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, “The Ordeal is Over.” And on the front of the Chicago Sun-Times: A picture of a frustrated looking Blagojevich along with the headline “Sorry for What?: Bye, Bye Blago: Even at the end, he sees no reason to apologize.” And that is exactly what rubbed Chicagoan Julian White the wrong way about the whole thing.

WHITE: You walk around as if your mama didn’t teach you to take up for what you did, and take responsibility. I don’t think he took full responsibility for his actions and he should have been impeached.

White has no doubts about Blagojevich’s guilt, even though the former governor hasn’t been indicted or found guilty of any criminal wrongdoing. But Myrna Rodriguez is less sure that Blagojevich did anything wrong. She’s on an el platform, waiting for the train. Rodriguez says she thinks the impeachment process wasn’t fair.

MYRNA; I think they should have let him speak out you know, more of what he did.

But she’s also disappointed.

MYRNA: I’m ashamed of him because, I voted for him twice. I’ve always thought that he was a good governor the first time around. And people trying to talk me out of voting for him the second time…but I guess sometimes you’re wrong.

Now she says, she just hopes Pat Quinn is up to the job. A lot of people I talked with this morning, including Mike Resis, Matt Joynt and Ajit Samudra had similar answers to the question: HILL: Do you think this will change the way Illinois politics work?

RESIS: No, Not at all, Not at all.

JOYNT: No. This sort of stuff has been going on all the time.

SAMUDRA: No. I don’t think so. Illinois politics was corrupt before he got there, with Ryan. And then he [Blagojevich] comes in and presents himself as this reformer. There was some speech where he talked about passing ethics legislation. What is that? You pass ethics legislation and then you do this stuff,...come on.

Samudra is referring to former Illinois Governor George Ryan, who’s Blagojevich’s predecessor, and currently serving a 6 and a half year prison sentence for corruption. Ryan is the third Illinois governor in the last 35 years to serve jail time.

It’s a daunting past, as Illinois tries to clean-up its political future.

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