Illinois Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno resigns

AP - The two-year Illinois state budget mess has prompted the Senate minority leader to call it quits.

Lemont Republican Sen. Christine Radogno is the first woman to lead a caucus of the Illinois General Assembly. She issued a statement Thursday that she will step down as senator on Saturday.

The 64-year-old Radogno said, "I have done everything I can do to resolve the state's budget crisis." She worked with Senate President John Cullerton to fashion a wide-ranging budget compromise to break the long-running stalemate with GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner. But she could not convince her 21 other Republican senators to vote for key parts of it.

Radogno is a social worker who was elected to the Senate in 1996. She and Cullerton took leadership of their respective caucuses the same day in 2009.

Radogno released the following statement:

“It truly is an honor to represent the 41st Senate District and my Republican colleagues in the Illinois Senate.

I have done the job to the very best of my ability and always with the needs of the state and my constituents in mind. I am proud of my legislative accomplishments – none of which were achieved alone. I have always appreciated the support, advice and counsel of my colleagues in both parties, staff and family. 

I have particularly enjoyed my friendship and working relationship with Senate President John Cullerton that began the day we were chosen as Leaders of our respective caucuses.

However, I believe it’s time for a new Senate Republican leader.

I have done everything I can do to resolve the state’s budget crisis. I will continue to do so for the coming days. But if the solution will not come on my watch, I hope and pray that the Governor, other legislative leaders, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House can find a path to solve the state's problems.

Though I leave political office with a sense of sadness and some disappointment, I leave with no regrets. I did my best – that’s all I could do. It has been a privilege to serve. But now I am looking forward to returning to private life and spending time with my family, especially my five grandchildren.

Effective close of business on July 1, 2017 – the start of the new fiscal year – I intend to resign my position as Senate Leader and Senator from the 41st District.

The Caucus has already begun executing the plan for a smooth, orderly and expeditious transition.”

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