As we get ready to welcome 2017, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another tough year in Illinois government and politics. We heard Republicans struggling to reckon with Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, Democrats and Republicans engaging in another year of war over the soul of Illinois policy, and a growing list of everyday people being crushed by the budget standoff. Here now are some of the voices that made news in 2016.
RICHARD PORTER, national Republican committeeman: "I know Bruce Rauner — he is spending gazillions of dollars. … We are so lucky to have Gov. Bruce Rauner, not only for his leadership and his ideas, but for his generosity of spirit and of wealth to help this state to create opportunity for people who he doesn't even know."
SEN. DICK DURBIN: "The only thing I’ve said is all this speculation about who’s going to run for governor in 30 months — for goodness’ sake, cool it. We’ve got a budget crisis that needs to be solved today."
JAMIE ANDERSON, college student: “I would not be the student I am today if I did not receive the MAP grant funding. I am from a low-income family. I grew up in a house of eight and I was a foster child, and my family just did not have the money to send me to college. … We’re playing with people’s dreams here now. Eight months into this, people are having to worry about if they can come back to school next semester, if they can be the lawyer that they sought out to be, if they can be the social worker that they sought out to be."
REPORTER 1: "If Donald Trump is the nominee, will you support him?"
GOV. BRUCE RAUNER: “I will support the Republican Party’s nominee for president. I’ll do everything I can to work with that nominee."
REPORTER 2: “Even if it’s Trump?"
RAUNER: “I will support the Republican Party’s nominee."
SEN. MARK KIRK: "I have told publicly, Donald Trump, to shut the hell up with regard to Speaker Ryan. I don’t think attacking your fellow Republicans is a way to build bridges in Washington."
DENIS FISHER, Ford County Republican committeeman: "I'm not going to vote for U.S. Senate. If Sen. Kirk doesn't want to support our nominee, I'm not going to give him my vote."
CONGRESSWOMAN TAMMY DUCKWORTH: "My family has served this nation in uniform going back to the revolution. ... We didn't do that just so the likes of Donald Trump and Mark Kirk can turn their back on the Constitution that founded this great nation, and I will not let them do it."
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "Thank you for such a warm welcome as I come back home. … We can't move forward if all we do is tear each other down. And the political incentives as they are today too often rewards that kind of behavior."
RAUNER: “Speaker Madigan’s Democrats have controlled our General Assembly for more than 30 years."
HOUSE SPEAKER MICHAEL MADIGAN: “I have worked with six governors from both political parties. Twice as many Republicans as Democrats.
RAUNER: "Speaker Madigan’s Democrats have controlled spending in our state government for more than 30 years."
MADIGAN: "We didn’t always agree on the issues. We didn’t always agree on the best approach to passing a state budget. … However, we found a way to compromise. My record over the years is one of compromise — regardless of the governor or his political party — to pass a budget that does not withhold the services that the people of Illinois depend upon."
RAUNER: “The supermajority Democrats are focused on two things: bailing out the city of Chicago, which has been corrupt and mismanaged and financially bereft for years. And — and — forcing a tax hike without reforms."
CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: “These insults are creating an acidic environment that is not productive to working together."
RAUNER: “And anybody who says, ‘Well we can’t work together because you were mean to me yesterday,’ oh come on."
EMANUEL: “This is about to be summertime. There’s summer reading. My recommendation to the governor for his summer reading list is Herman Millville’s ‘Moby Dick.’ Because Captain Ahab, in his obsession to get Moby Disk, takes the Pequot over, and it doesn’t really end well."
Music: “Royals” by Vitamin String Quartet, “For The Good Of Your Country” by Count Basie, and “Trinidadian Rag” by David Grisman and Bob Brozman.