Defeated Bradley says Southern Illinois will lose clout in Assembly upon his exit
Democratic State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) only has a few weeks left in office and has been using that time to attend a special legislative session on Illinois’ spending plans before recently elected Republican David Severin of Franklin County takes over the seat.
Bradley lost to Severin on Election Day in a high-profile race, with Severin taking 53 percent of the vote, compared with Bradley’s 47 percent.
The race was a hard and difficult one, Bradley said.
“I worked hard, and I continue to work hard,” Bradley told ABC station WSIL-3.
The legislative veto session continuing this week in the Assembly will determine, if possible, the state’s spending in the shadow of a massive deficit that includes pension liability in the billions and a steadily growing backlog of unpaid bills.
The state also has been suffering a steady loss in manufacturing jobs and young, working-age adults who are leaving for better opportunities.
Bradley, a close ally of House Speaker Michael Madigan and assistant majority leader of the state House, who was on the House Revenue and Finance Committee since 2006, served for over 12 years in the legislative body and said his defeat signals a change in Southern Illinois’ position in the General Assembly.
“Southern Illinois is not going to be the lead negotiator in budget meetings and is not going to be chairman of revenue and finance,” he told WSIL-3.
Revenue and finance are contentious issues in Illinois, as many have scrutinized and criticized state leaders for their inability to rein in spending and create new revenue streams that are not reliant on tax hikes in a state with already-high taxes.
Severin, a small-business owner, opposes the idea of raising taxes higher than what they are now and said such hikes harm businesses and residents. The Benton resident also supports restricting career politicians via term limits, reforming workers’ compensation, reforming business regulations and fixing the budget.
Severin’s win and those of three other Republicans in the State House are considered a blow to Madigan and the Democrats in Springfield, as they no longer have a veto-proof supermajority in the state House.
"I congratulate Dave Severin on his victory,” Bradley said in a conciliatory statement. “The people of the 117th District have spoken, and I respect their decision. I stand ready to assist Mr. Severin during the transition period. It has been an honor and privilege to represent the people of Southern Illinois, and I thank them for the trust they placed in me to be their voice at the Capitol."
Bradley asked that Severin focus on the people and the needs of the state, believing that while the special legislative session is meant to find a solution to the state’s spending plan, he doesn’t expect the General Assembly to agree on one.