Former Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison Wednesday by Judge James Zagel and Illinois representatives and politicians were blunt in their reactions.
"The former Governor will now have plenty of time to consider his performance over these years and quietly assess the consequences of his actions," said Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka in a release. "It may seem like an eternity to him, but in truth, the damage he has caused to our state will far outlast any prison sentence he will serve."
Topinka said she is not taking "joy in seeing any father taken from his children and family" but believes the sentence the judge handed down was appropriate given the "extraordinary damage" Blagojevich caused Illinois.
U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) issued a statement saying the people of Illinois have suffered the consequences for Blagojevich's actions, and the former governor has "never understood the fundamental difference between serving the public and serving his own personal interests."
"Although Blagojevich's punishment will not restore statewide much less nationwide certainty in Illinois, some justice has been served to our State today," said Kinzinger in a statement.
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon said the sentencing of Blagojevich won't "kill the state's pay to play culture" unless it causes serious ethics reforms and exposes conflicts of interests before they cost taxpayers.
"Increased transparency, coupled with the threat of serious prison time, can end these shameful courtroom battles," said Simon in a statement.
Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady issued a statement saying the sentence won't stop "his enablers."
"Today's sentence ends the Rod Blagojevich saga, but unfortunately his enablers continue to burden the people of Illinois with financial mismanagement and higher taxes that have caused the downward spiral of the Illinois economy, and also widespread distrust of our public officials," said Brady.
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk issued a statement saying, "Judge Zagel's sentence is a clear warning to all elected officials that public corruption of any form will not be tolerated."
Secretary of State Jesse White commended Judge Zagel on the sentence of Blagojevich and said he hopes it sends "a strong message that unethical conduct is unacceptable."
"Blagojevich's actions were particularly offensive given that he talked about reforming government in the wake of the scandals that had plagued the Secretary of State's office during the years of George Ryan," said White in an issued statement. "The people of Illinois deserve better."
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin released a statement saying, "I hope today's sentencing finally draws this sad chapter in Illinois history to a close."
The Chicago Young Republicans issued a statement saying they believed the 14-year sentence was "just, fair and appropriate."
"The crimes Blagojevich committed while serving as Governor have, as U.S. District Judge James Zagel states, breached the trust between state government and the citizens of Illinois. That fundamental trust is the foundation upon which our state governs itself."
Gov. Pat Quinn -- Blagojevich's former running mate -- said the former governor let him down and let down the people of Illinois. He called it a somber day and one that won't be forgotten soon.
|Gov. Pat Quinn -- Rod Blagojevich's former running mate -- assures the public that he believes in ethics and integrity, and touts the reforms he's enacted since assuming office.|
|Illinois Comptroller and former rival Judy Baar Topinka says Judge James Zagel's 14-year sentence for Rod Blagojevich is a fair one for which she feels no remorse.|