Sen. Bill Brady Chosen As Next Illinois Senate Republican Leader

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Senate Republicans have unanimously elected Sen. Bill Brady to serve as the new Senate Minority Leader, after Sen. Christine Radogno announced she is stepping down on Saturday.

Brady, a Bloomington Republican, has been a state senator since 2002. He previously served as a state representative from 1993 to 2001. He also unsuccessfully ran for governor three times, most recently in 2010, when he lost to Democrat Pat Quinn.

“It is an honor to be chosen to lead the Senate Republican Caucus,” Sen. Brady said. “I thank them for their faith in me. I also appreciate my constituents in the 44th District for giving me the privilege to represent them in the State Capitol and the opportunity to serve as Leader.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner congratulated Brady on his election as the new Senate Republican Leader.

“He is a champion for Illinois families – understanding the changes our state needs to create jobs, lower property taxes, strengthen schools, and reform our political system. I look forward to working with all of the outstanding leaders in the Senate Republican Caucus as we work to fix Illinois by creating a more responsive and responsible state government,” Rauner said in a written statement.

Radogno, a Lemont Republican, announced her plan to resign on Thursday. She said she will step down at the end of business on Saturday.

The change in party leadership in the Illinois Senate comes as state lawmakers have been scurrying to reach an agreement to end a two-year budget impasse.

Radogno was an author of the so-called “grand bargain” in the Senate, which got the ball rolling on months of budget talks this year. The Illinois Senate approved a budget deal last month, and talks have continued in the House.

“I have done everything I can do to resolve the state’s budget crisis. I will continue to do so for the coming days. But if the solution will not come on my watch, I hope and pray that the Governor, other legislative leaders, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House can find a path to solve the state’s problems,” Radogno said Thursday in a written statement.

A proposed $36 billion state budget passed a critical test in the House late Friday morning, but House Speaker Mike Madigan said more work needs to be done, and lawmakers will miss a midnight deadline to avoid starting a third consecutive fiscal year without a budget.
The House voted 90-25 late Friday morning on a version of a yearlong spending plan, but the proposal was an amendment and would need another vote for final House approval.

Madigan said after the vote that lawmakers will miss the deadline for passing a budget before the new fiscal year begins Saturday, but he said lawmakers would continue working Saturday.

A missed deadline means an almost certain downgrade in Illinois’ creditworthiness to “junk” status, but Madigan said he’s sending messages to the major bond-rating houses to give Illinois more time to secure a deal before a downgrade.

The proposed budget relies on more than $2 billion in spending cuts and a likely increase in the income tax to raise $5 billion in additional revenue.

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