Illinois Senate's Top Republican To Resign

Jun 30, 2017

As Illinois’ top political leaders struggle to end a two year budget standoff, one of them has announced she’s resigning.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno is stepping down effective Saturday. That’s the first day of Illinois' new budget year — and would be the third without a real budget unless she and the other legislative leaders cut a deal.

Radogno instigated the secret bipartisan attempt at compromise that became known as the “grand bargain.” She says she’d hoped to be able to resign after getting it passed.

“I will say that I feel strongly that the governor has the right agenda, but it’s not that easy getting there," Radogno told reporters Thursday. "We need fundamental change in this building, but wee need to compromise in order to get there.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner worked to block the grand bargain, feeling it didn’t go far enough in meeting his economic and political agenda. Radogno says that has nothing to do with her decision to leave.

Rather, she says she’s looking forward to traveling with her husband, and spending more time with her kids and five grandchildren.

Radogno is the only woman ever to head one of the Illinois House and Senate's legislative caucuses.

“I would be happy to see another woman, and I’m sure at some point you will — maybe my successor will be, I have no idea," Radogno said. "To me though, it’s an asterisk in my career. It’s one that I’m proud of, but it’s not one that defines me.”