Illinois GOP leader resigns amid budget crisis

Amid an epic budget stalemate in Illinois, GOP state Senate leader Christine Radogno has announced her resignation, effective Saturday, a signal that the interminable impasse will not soon come to a close.

"I did my best, that’s all I could do," Radogno said. "It has been a privilege to serve. But now I am looking forward to returning to private life and spending time with my family, especially my five grandchildren."

Radogno was the co-architect, along with state Senate Democrat John Cullerton of the now-defunct, so-called ‘grand bargain,’ which was a major compromise effort to end the state’s budget crisis.

In a resignation address before reporters in Springfield on Thursday, Radogno said it was her hope that the grand bargain would pass out of the state Senate. It failed after GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner put the brakes on the legislative package, saying it didn’t go far enough.

Radogno, the first female legislative leader in Illinois history, was viewed as being pushed aside after that effort.

Radogno was long considered among the few leaders who could work toward compromise.

It was immediately unclear what effect the resignation would have on budget negotiations as lawmakers take part in an ongoing special legislative session. But it’s an undeniable blow to Rauner to lose a key agent in the talks at this stage.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to work alongside Leader Radogno these last two years as we continue to try to improve the lives of the people of Illinois," Rauner said in a statement. "She is a consummate professional and public servant, who has championed fiscal responsibility and human services that help our most vulnerable residents. While she will be sorely missed, Diana and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”


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