Hebein: Lawmakers 'more concerned with protecting their pensions' instead of protecting victims
Herbert Hebein worries that the culture in Springfield has become so polluted that too many lawmakers are more concerned with the perks of the job than they are actually performing the duties of it.
“They seem to be more concerned with protecting their pensions then they are with protecting victims,” Hebein said, pointing to the cases of Rep. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), Tim Mapes and Kevin Quinn as prime examples.
All three men, each of whom has close ties to longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan, are still eligible for lucrative state pensions despite being forced to relinquish at least some of the duties they were publicly entrusted with after being ensnared in the #MeToo movement and being accused of sexual harassment.
Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), Madigan’s second in command in Springfield, has also been similarly accused.
Mapes, Madigan’s longtime chief of staff, is the latest to go after fellow Madigan staffer Sherri Garrett stepped forward to accuse him of harassment and bullying.
No matter, the Chicago Tribune reports after 40 years in state government Mapes is still eligible to collect a pension of more than $135,000 per year with annual pension increases of 3 percent.
During her primary run for governor, Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) estimated that Quinn is in line for a $750,000 payout from state taxpayers after contributing roughly $26,000 to his pension over 17 years of service.
Meanwhile, Silverstein recently passed the 20-year threshold, making him eligible for a yearly payment of 85 percent of his final legislative salary. In 2017, around the same time local activist Denise Rotheimer went public with her allegations of harassment against him, his yearly salary totaled almost $88,500, according to the comptroller's office.
“It is not fair,” said Hebein, running for the 35th House District seat held by Rep. Frances Ann Hurley (D-Chicago). “They should only receive a pension if they abide by the oath of office: which means holding the office during good behavior, to live by the law of the land and to serve the people of the state as promised.”
Hebein said corruption is nothing new in Springfield, but now is the time to stem the tide.
“Certain factions within the Springfield culture have been corrupt for a long time,” he said. “The main concern within those factions is their own welfare and not the victim’s welfare. When they do talk about their victims, it is usually to expand their agenda.”
In the end, Hebein said politicians need to be reminded that there are only one set of rules.
“Lawmakers should be held accountable for their actions at all times, like anyone else,” he said.