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Video: Interview with Illinois Speaker Michael J. Madigan

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Video: Interview with Illinois Speaker Michael J. Madigan

Madigan says those criticizing him in attack ads are doing so because they can’t explain what they will do to address the state’s needs

By Aaron Hanania

In an interview on Sunday after attending a candidate’s forum that was hosted at Niko’s Restaurant in suburban Bridgeview, Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan criticized his critics for targeting him in election ads rather than addressing the state’s issues.

Madigan has been the target of hundreds of election elated TV campaign ads from Republicans who are trying to influence the vote on behalf of their candidates.

Asked about how he feels when he, and others, see himself on TV hundreds of times every day in the TV commercials, Madigan responded that he believes the focus on him personally is an attempt to distract voters from the fact that his critics have failed to provide solutions, programs or answers to address the state’s and the voters’ needs.

To view the video interview use the widget above or click here.

Michael J Madigan and Aaron Hanania interview
Michael J Madigan and Aaron Hanania interview

Here is the Question and Answer segment that is also on video at

Q: How do you feel about how you are being portrayed by candidates attacking you in hundreds of political TV ads every day?

A: “Usually not so good. I didn’t notice the ones that are good but usually they are not so good. I think the Republicans don’t want to talk about their lack of a record of accomplishment in government. So, they think they can use me in a negative sense to win elections. I have more faith and confidence in Illinois voters. Illinois voters realize that Illinois Republicans led by Governor Rauner have failed to develop reputable accomplishments for the state … the people of Illinois want change and want to remove Gov. Rauner from office.

Q: What does it say about the people who are attacking you?

A: “I think they ought to spend more time on developing positive programs where they can help the economy of the state. They can help the people in Illinois who need government help. They failed to do that. My advice is to get busy and evolve a record of accomplishments.”

Sample campaign attack ad from Republican Congressman Randy Hultgren targeting Democrats Michael J. Madigan and challenger Lauren Underwood.
Sample campaign attack ad from Republican Congressman Randy Hultgren targeting Democrats Michael J. Madigan and challenger Lauren Underwood.

Q: Growing up, did you know you wanted to be in a government position?

A: “Oh well, somewhere in high school and college I thought I might be interested in politics. My father was involved in government and was a precinct captain.”

Q: What message for young people who can vote or will be voting soon?

A: “Young people should spend a lot of time learning the issues that affect all of us and understanding the importance of voting. That is a problem. Young people sometimes just don’t take voting seriously. It is their future that’s at stake. We really need them to take a strong interest in the issues, problems and how we can solve them.”

Q: Can you share something about yourself that you want the public to know about you?

A: “I am a dedicated public servant devoted to people who need government help just to get by, who need opportunity to get ahead in life.”

After the interview, Madigan autographed a baseball noting that he has autographed baseballs before. He said he watched the Dodgers-Brewers playoff game on Friday, emphasizing that he is a dedicated White Sox Fan.

(Aaron Hanania is a senior at Sandburg High School, author, and freelance writer and videographer. You can get more information on his writings and videos by visiting

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