- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reaction from Illinois’ elected officials and state residents to the federal indictment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich:

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“I’m saddened and hurt but I am not surprised by the indictment. I am innocent. I now will fight in the courts to clear my name. I would ask the good people of Illinois to wait for the trial and afford me the presumption of innocence that they would give to all their friends and neighbors.” _ Blagojevich.

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“We can only hope the former governor will not view this indictment as a green light for another publicity tour. Rod Blagojevich deserves his day in court, but the people of Illinois deserve a break.” _ U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

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“The indictment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich today serves as a stark reminder that enormous reforms are needed in our state.” _ Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross.

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“Most people I associate with who had any opinion about it, including myself, were irritated with the way he did things, the way he appeared to do things. We pretty much cheered when he was arrested.” _ John Olsson, a 47-year-old farmer from New Berlin. A Republican, he never voted for Blagojevich.

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“It is reassuring to see that our justice system works, but there is no joy in this indictment. Rod Blagojevich has decimated our state. And regardless of what happens to the former governor, Illinois residents will be paying for his time in office for generations to come.” _ Judy Baar Topinka, the Republican gubernatorial candidate defeated by Blagojevich in 2006.

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“I think if they make an example out of him, hopefully this curtails some of the corruption that’s going on in our city and our state.” _ Bernie Puralewski, a 62-year-old Aurora resident who works as a manager at a Chicago hobby shop.

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“As this case moves forward, perhaps now we can close this book and begin to write a new one that speaks to the breadth of who the people of Illinois are and what they seek in the people they send to public office _ honesty, integrity, truthfulness, vision and leadership.” _ U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill.

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“In 2002, when Democrats came to power, we were promised this day would never happen again, but today’s indictment coupled with their decision to support Rod Blagojevich for six years proves those promises were merely empty rhetoric in order to obtain and keep political power.” _ Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna.

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“Rod Blagojevich was elected and then re-elected governor based on the promise that he would reform and renew state government, but his government was more like an overloaded, malfunctioning sewage system. Now, it’s up to the elected leaders in Springfield to respond to the demands of the citizens of Illinois and clean up this mess.” _ Cynthia Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

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“The U.S. Attorney’s indictment serves to confirm the public’s long-standing distrust of former Gov. Blagojevich and his administration, and it underscores the culture of corruption that has afflicted our state for far too long.” _ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a possible Democratic contender in the 2010 gubernatorial race.

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“I can’t imagine what this place would be like if he was still the governor, trying to solve the problems that we have with the incredible deficits that we have. And so it’s good that he’s gone and I hope that he can just concentrate on his defense and I wish him well. But in the meantime, we are left with his legacy and we have to overcome the embarrassment that’s he’s brought upon the state.” _ Illinois Sen. President John Cullerton, D-Chicago.

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“It was very clear to many of us beginning in the first few months of the Blagojevich administration that this guy was bad to the bone and his administration was all about pay to play.” _ State Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale.

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“It shows that from shortly after the beginning, the governor and his crooked pals made state government a criminal enterprise.” _ State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo.

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