As we get ready to welcome 2014, we thought we’d take a few minutes to reflect on some of the voices in the news this past year in Illinois state politics and government. People in the Capitol were busy with same-sex marriage, medical marijuana, and dozens of other issues. What follows are a few of the more memorable moments.
Gov. Pat Quinn: “This is no small issue. This is a choice about whether we will make the tough decisions necessary to balance our budget by reforming our public pension systems."
House Speaker Michael Madigan: "There will be changes here. ... But this bill is a well-thought out, well-balanced bill."
Dan Montgomery, Illinois Federation of Teachers: "There's only one way to describe that kind of blatant taking of one's life savings. We call it theft."
Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg: "Every legislator on this floor has a different opinion when it comes to concealed-carry policy."
Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Department: "There is no compelling evidence, despite what gun advocates say, to show that more guns makes people safer."
Todd Vandermyde, National Rifle Association: "This is a fundamental, constitutionally protected civil right — the right to self-defense; the right to own a firearm. It's not a privilege to be meted out by bureaucratic people on an eeny, meeny, miny, moe [basis]."
Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago: "The choice is this: fracking in Illinois with no regulation, or fracking in Illinois with the tightest, most stringent regulations possible."
Chairman Gery Chico, Illinois State Board of Education: "Schools can only do so much 'more with less.'"
Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst: “I learned that the Senate Democrats and the House Democrats struck a deal on the budget — not from our members that usually participate — I learned it on public radio. Isn’t that a travesty?"
Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine: "So far there's no plan whatsoever that's discernible for this tax increase to go away."
Sen. Kim Lightford, D-Maywood: "Wake up! You guys have lost the tax argument. That's why you have 19 and we have 40."
Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica: "I absolutely believe that I could go to my doctor, and go through my history of medical conditions, and I could get medical marijuana under your bill. I believe I could, sir."
Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie: "Do you have any of those medical conditions today?"
Sacia: "I believe I do."
Lang: "Then maybe you need the product, sir."
Sacia: "I'm doing well without it."
Attorney General Lisa Madigan: "There's a process that I went through in terms of evaluating how I could best continue to serve the people of the state of Illinois. Obviously, that involved, um, you know, private conversations that I will not be going through with you publicly."
Bill Daley: "I don't believe that if the governor is re-nominated by the Democratic Party, he will win the general election. He barely won against a very flawed candidate four years ago."
Gov. Pat Quinn: "I was given a nine percent chance of winning in the General Election. And we won. And Brady's still looking for his gym shoes."
Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington: "Well ladies and gentlemen, I'm here today with running shoes on, and game on for the Republican Party."
Treasurer Dan Rutherford: "I know that going into communities of diversity is imperative for us as Republicans to earn the right to govern."
Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale: "I know how to govern a Democrat legislature to get it to do things … to live within its means."
Bruce Rauner: "I love to fight. I love to win. I've been a leader at everything I've touched throughout my career -- both in business, and in our civic leadership here in Illinois."
Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago: "In Illinois we tried civil unions, and that separate status has time and time again proved to fall short."
Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake: "We are a family that is treated differently under the eyes of the law. We are a family that does not have the same protections that your family has."
Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill: “I’ve had three judges in my district call up and say, ‘David, there is not a facility in your district that’s going to perform these ceremonies. They’re going to call me. Where’s my religious, individual freedoms?’ ”
Sen. Willie Delgado, D-Chicago: "I don't get out to the movies very often, and I just watched 'Lincoln.' And for the love of God, I feel like I'm sitting in 1865."