CHICAGO (CBS) — When state Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) met Thursday night for a 90-minute debate with 5th District Democratic primary challenger Juliana Stratton, virtually every topic circled back eventually to Dunkin’s estrangement from Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Dunkin said the gridlock in Springfield can be traced to one man — Madigan.
“It’s one person. It’s not the governor. It’s Mike Madigan,” Dunkin said. “The Speaker simply only listens to his own thought process.”
Dunkin said when he and other Democrats have asked Madigan in caucus why the Speaker has not been willing to sit down with Rauner to discuss budget issues, “He looks at me and other members as if we have third eyes.”
Dunkin said he’s trying to negotiate with the governor, but Stratton said Dunkin is merely hurting people, citing his refusal to cast the deciding vote on a bill that would have restored full child care assistance to low-income Illinois families while budget negotiations continued.
“There was another alternative. He could have voted,” she said. “He could have been there for the vote and restored the services to 100 percent, and instead, that didn’t happen.”