SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego) plans to challenge longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan when the chamber votes for leadership in January.
The four-term lawmaker made the announcement Thursday morning, following months of heightened scrutiny for Madigan. Kifowit was one of the first legislators to call for the Speaker to resign in July following news of ComEd’s deferred prosecution agreement.
She believes Madigan compromised the integrity of the Speaker’s office and undermined the public’s trust. “The response from Michael Madigan was to double down and has remained that way,” Kifowit stated. “It is clear to me that he doesn’t hold the same values that I do and falls short of what the public expects from an elected official.”
The Democrat will retain her seat in the General Assembly, as she is unopposed on the November ballot. However, Kifowit’s decision could leave some of her colleagues in tight reelection races in an awkward position. Democratic representatives and hopefuls, many from the Chicago suburbs, will have to show voters who they side with for leadership.
Madigan under pressure
This also comes weeks into a legislative investigation into Madigan’s involvement in the bribery scheme with ComEd. Madigan has not been charged by federal prosecutors. He also continues to deny any wrongdoing. Republican members of the committee hope to subpoena the Speaker and several other key witnesses. However, that effort requires one Democrat to join them in a vote to issue the letters.
Meanwhile, the Speaker was quick to respond Thursday afternoon.
“I have spent my entire career supporting Democrats, regardless of differences in perspective within our party,” Madigan stated. “We are at a critical juncture in our country, and all of us should be focused on coming together to defeat Donald Trump and repair the hate and division he has sown in our communities. We have a lot of work to do, and I’m focused on the November election and addressing the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the workers, families, and people of Illinois.”