SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Wednesday was Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who flew in at the request of Senator Dick Durbin and addressed more than 2,000 people at the annual Democratic County Chairs Association brunch.
“It’s an honor to be here with Governor Pritzker,” Pelosi said. “How proud we all are, you think big, you get big things done. Congratulations for being a model to the nation.”
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan kept a low profile and spoke for only three minutes.
“I don’t want you to sound like a bunch of Republicans. Let’s do it again,” he said.
Madigan has remained out of sight out since we learned about FBI raids of his close associates.
The party tried to focus on defeating President Trump and sending more Democrats to Washington next year.
“The days of trying to shame Democrats for fighting for social and economic justice for working families - well those days are over,” Pritzker said.
But hovering over the proceedings was a Democrat who remains locked up in federal prison: Rod Blagojevich.
CNN reported Trump was on the cusp of commuting the disgraced former governor’s sentence late last week but then Illinois Republicans flooded the White House with calls.
The federal bureau of prisons denied a WGN open records request for emails and other information about Blagojevich and said that would be a violation of his privacy. Congressmen Darin LaHood and Mike Bost made their case directly to the president urging him not to let Blagojevich out.
“I think that … people must know that the president is simply trying to distract from all the other challenges that he’s brought to the American people,” Pritzker said.
Most statewide Democratic officials say Blagojevich should serve the remainder of his sentence.
“ When the governor tries to extort the president of a children’s hospital for $50,000 and ultimately $20,000 those are sick children we’re talking about then those governors need to be made an example of with tough sentences,” state comptroller Susana Mendoza said.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul didn’t want talk about it.
“I don’t have the time to think of speak about that topic because I’m concerned with people being shot in our streets, people who may walk into hospitals and commit acts of violence,” he said. “My energy is better focused on protecting our air, protecting our citizenry.”
WGN reached out to LaHood and Bost but they did not respond for comment. The entire Illinois Republican delegation opposes a commutation for Blagojevich.
Thursday is Republican Day at the state fair.