Kessem says Madigan needs to be held responsible for his 'gross incompetence'
Ammie Kessem stands in amazement over how such gross incompetence can so steadily be rewarded.
Fed up, the Chicago police sergeant running against Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) in the 19th District rallied GOP lawmakers to attend a recent press conference where they called for the ouster of longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago)
“The goal in the press conference was to bring attention to the amazing phenomenon of how this man could be in office for as long as he’s been in office and continuously be elected Speaker of the House, yet have all these issues keep surrounding his office and he doesn’t have to answer for it,” Kessem said during a recent appearance on Illinois Rising.
In organizing the gathering, Kessem said one of her first orders of business was recruiting Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton).
“I reached out to Jeanne Ives and asked if she would be willing to help me have a press conference and shed light on the issue,” she said. “I’ve never seen this kind of issue in my career. People have always held me with a high level of respect. I was promoted recently to sergeant. I don’t see things like that happening and when they do people have the ability to file a report and it’s handled accordingly, not just swept under the rug.”
Over the last several months, at least four of Madigan’s closest associates have been ensnared in an ongoing sexual harassment scandal that has led to all of them being forced to at least partly relinquish some of their responsibilities.
Tim Mapes, Madigan’s longtime chief of staff, is the latest to be hit, after fellow staffer Sherri Garrett came forward to accuse him of harassment and bullying.
Kevin Quinn, a key operative in Madigan's political empire, also faces similar allegations, as does Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) and Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), Madigan’s No. 2 guy in Springfield.
“These women were left to feel helpless, with no one to turn to,” Kessem added. “The only people they could go to were appointed in those positions, mainly by Speaker Madigan. There needs to be someone held accountable; I think we need to hold Speaker Madigan accountable.”
As for her opponent, Kessem said Martwick has been largely missing in action on the issue, just as he has throughout the community.
“I’ve called him out several times,” she said. “I told him he will be held accountable for his silence.”
Kessem said she plans to take a completely different approach once she arrives in Springfield.
“I intend to go to Springfield and be a representative of the people of the 19th district,” she said. “It’s important for people to realize what’s at stake.”
The 19th House District includes parts of Chicago's Northwest Side as well as Norridge and Harwood Heights.