Democratic Gubernatorial candidate draws Speaker Madigan, Lord Voldermort parallel

By Eric Bradach

Illinois has a problem lurking in the shadows, and there is a parallel between him and a famous fantasy novel villain, said state Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood.

In an eight-member candidate field vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, Drury laid out his “blueprint to build the foundation for Illinois’ future” at an Aug. 3 press conference in Lincoln Park. Called Rebuild Illinois, his plan deals with what he dubbed the “Madigan problem,” referring to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

“I’m a huge ‘Harry Potter’ fan,” Drury told reporters at Lincoln Park Branch, Chicago Public Library, 1150 W. Fullerton Ave. “The big thing about Harry Potter was this guy Voldemort, that he shouldn’t be named. And when I sit on debates and public forums in this campaign, it’s almost as if there is a Voldemort in the state of Illinois, and no one wants to use his name.” 

Drury, who announced his campaign in June, was the only House Democrat who did not vote for Madigan as speaker in January. 

While Madigan has won every election in Illinois’ 22nd District since 1971, he remains unpopular statewide. Illinois voters have pegged Madigan with a 61.4 percent disapproval rating and only a 25.8 percent approval rating, according to a March 15 Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll. 

According to Drury, his plan focuses on long-term structural fixes to restore trust, stability, prosperity and opportunity to Illinois residents, and creates accountable, responsible and honest government. 

“The time has come for Illinois to get serious about wiping out this culture of corruption as it is the primary source of most of it’s problems,” Drury said. “An honest government pays its bills on time. An honest government balances its budget. An honest government values its citizens. But not Illinois.” 

Rebuild Illinois calls for tougher ethics laws to ban lobbyist gifts to elected officials, require mandatory prison time for elected officials convicted of corruption, empowering the state attorney general to investigate and prosecute corruption cases and an end to gerrymandering, the manipulation of legislative districts to control voting.

It also proposes fixing the state’s financial crisis by reforming pension funding and lowering state prison populations, which cost taxpayers $37,000 per person annually, according to Drury. 

Drury said Madigan controls the major Democratic campaign contributions, which has caused Illinois Democrats to be more accountable to Madigan than their constituents. The plan will inhibit political party leaders’ ability to “covertly” direct other politicians money to other candidates, and impose a 10-year term limit for legislative leaders. This will allow for “desperately needed fresh ideas” to be brought to leadership positions, he added. 

According to Illinois State Board of Elections records, Drury has approximately $350,000 in his campaign committee, Friends of Scott Drury, miniscule compared to Rauner’s nearly $70 million in campaign funds. 

“If we have learned one thing from the failed leadership of our current governor, Bruce Rauner, is that our next governor must have experience,” Drury said, adding that Rauner’s goal from the beginning has been to “destroy the Democratic Party.” 

Other candidates in the Democratic primary include state Sen. Daniel Biss, Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th Ward), Madison County Schools Superintendent Bob Daiber, community organizer Tio Hardiman and businessmen J.B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy and Alex Paterakis. 

“By rebuilding Illinois, we can ensure our state’s bright future,” Drury said. “A future that is defined by hope and prosperity. A future that provides stability to its employers and citizens. A future where there is no more partisan bickering.”