Blagojevich: 'So sad' say locals
"It's just sad," remarked Jason Plummer, the former chairman of Madison County Republican Central Committee.
"I am not in glee," Plummer said in a telephone interview. "The people of Illinois deserve better representation. It's just sad."
Plummer, like many others around the Metro-East and beyond, grappled with Blagojevich's early morning arrest. The second-term governor faces federal corruption charges, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. The men face as much as 20 years in prison if convicted on the fraud charge and 10 years for the bribery charge.
State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville, who was mentioned in the corruption trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko in May as having been present in Blagojevich's Chicago office in the summer of 2002 shortly before the governor accepted a $25,000 campaign check from state job-seeker Ali Ata, had little to say about Blagojevich's indictment.
"Like all Illinoisans, I am saddened by today's news. I have no knowledge concerning the allegations and for any comment you should contact the Governor's office directly," Hoffman said in a statement.
Glen Carbon businessman Dwight Kay, a Republican who ran against Hoffman in November and lost, said he commended the U.S. Attorney's office which brought the charges against Blagojevich.
"I commend (U.S. Attorney) Patrick Fitzgerald and his efforts to cut the control of corruption out of state government," Kay said in a phone interview.
Kay called on the Illinois General Assembly to take steps to remove Blagojevich from office.
"I don't mean to prejudge," Kay said, "but if there is evidence to support the charges then it seems appropriate for the general assembly should begin to impanel a group to see if he should be impeached."
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, called on the governor to step down.
"If Governor Blagojevich has any regard for the State of Illinois and its residents, he will immediately resign from office," he said. "The state of Illinois needs to move forward with its business, including the appointment of our new Senator, and he cannot remain at its helm."
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