Ronald Reagan was president when Michael Madigan, a Democrat, became speaker of the Illinois House in 1983. Reagan served two terms and died in 2004, and his name adorns schools, roads, parks and an airport. A generation has passed since he left the White House.
And Madigan? He is still speaker, and has been for all but two years since he started. He appears to be as permanent a feature of the Illinois landscape as the Mississippi River.
Illinois is a blue state, voting Democratic in the past seven presidential elections.
But the Democratic Party’s control of the state House is not the simple result of its ability to satisfy the citizenry. Democrats have also had the help of district lines drawn to help them at the expense of Republicans. Steve Chapman explains more.