Documentary on House Speaker Michael J. Madigan out this month

By Dawn Geske | Oct 3, 2016

CHICAGO – A documentary detailing the life of Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan is scheduled for release this month.

A trailer for the documentary has been released by the Illinois Policy Action. The documentary entitled: “Madigan: Power, Privilege, Politics” is 60 minutes in length and will give an inside look at Madigan’s life and influence as House speaker.

““Madigan: Power, Privilege, Politics” is an educational documentary on how the political system and government work in Illinois, Kayla Weems, spokesperson for Illinois Policy Action, told the Record. “This documentary highlights the influence an officeholder can wield in the absence of term limits,” she said.

Illinois Policy Action is billing the documentary as an unprecedented look at Madigan, who is known for avoiding the media and has been the longest-serving House speaker in Illinois history as well as across the U.S.

“Speaker Madigan is notorious for avoiding media interviews and keeping out of the press,” said Weems. “Even though he is the longest-serving speaker of the House in the nation and wields great power in Illinois politics, many people do not know anything about him.”

The documentary boasts about showing viewers the influence a political figure of Madigan’s stature can have in Illinois – a state without term limits. “This documentary takes an unprecedented look at state Rep. Michael Madigan's rein as House speaker and Illinois' political system and will be eye-opening for all,” said Weems.

Madigan has a long history with Illinois, where he became a legislator in 1971. He has been speaker of the House for the state almost continuously since 1983 – except for two years during this time. Over the course of his career as House speaker, he has seen six different governors, more than 200 state senators, and more than 500 state representatives.

“The documentary will illustrate how Michael Madigan got his power and how he has kept it for 40 years,” said Weems.

For the documentary, several key interviews were held with many prominent political figures as well as media reporters. “A long list of well-respected reporters, political observers, politicians and others who are active in Illinois’ political scene were interviewed,” said Weems.

The list includes Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, University of Illinois professor and political observer Dick Simpson, former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, law professor and former drafter of the 1970 Illinois Constitution Ann Lousin, former state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger, Rob Blagojevich, brother of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and political blogger Rich Miller.

Illinois residents will get an insightful view at how the state is managed and how Madigan rules with the documentary. “Between the lack of a budget, a growing pension crisis, and ever-climbing tax bills, many Illinoisans are frustrated with the corruption and cronyism in Illinois,” said Weems. “This documentary will pull back the curtain to show citizens how Illinois actually is run and who holds the power.”

The documentary will be released to the public during the second week of October. Viewers will be able to see it online as well as in select movie theaters across Illinois.

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