Illinois state Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport)
In the mind of Illinois state Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport), longtime state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) did the only thing he could do in stepping down as chairman of the senate’s powerful Transportation Committee.
“Sen. Sandoval chairs one of the most influential senate committees, in charge of the largest spending program passed this spring – the state’s capital spending plan,” Chesney posted on his website prior to Sandoval making his departure official at the end of last week. “Without removal of Sandoval as Transportation Chair, an asterisk may always linger after the moniker ‘Rebuild Illinois.’”
Federal agents recently raided the home and offices of Sandoval as part of an ongoing federal corruption probe some believe is tied to a multi-million dollar red-light camera company working with the state.
Illinois state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago)
“Gov. J.B. Pritzker has already distanced himself from Sandoval,” Chesney wrote. “The concern over his role as Senate Transportation Committee Chair is bipartisan."
Chesney argues that things shouldn’t have had to come to Sandoval finally being forced to step down.
“While senate leaders remind everyone that all parties are innocent until proven guilty, everyone must concede it doesn’t look ‘on the up and up’ to leave him as chair of this committee,” Chesney said.
Chesney called on Chicago Democratic Senate President John Cullerton to oust Sandoval, reminding him that state party leaders have been in the same predicament before and ultimately chose patriotism over partisanship.
“Democrats came together with Republicans in fighting against corruption before, in removing Gov. (Rod) Blagojevich from office not that long ago,” Chesney said in his post. “In many ways, Democrats were rewarded for doing the right thing. If Cullerton fails to take action, though, he’ll have to forgive many Illinoisans for caring less about due process as they do the appearance of impropriety. Call it a muscle-memory reaction from the many times Illinois taxpayers have been wronged before when personal agendas were allowed priority over good public policies.”
Sandoval ultimately resigned from the committee on Friday.