Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield. Subscribe here.
Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza blasted Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner for calling her a “puppet” of House Speaker Michael Madigan, saying the governor won’t accept responsibility for problems he’s created for Illinois.
“To always say, first of all, that a strong, independent, outspoken woman who holds him accountable is a puppet of someone else, which is exactly what he did call me … is just a condescending acknowledgment, frankly, that he cannot take criticism from anybody — much less than from a 5-foot-3 woman from Chicago,” Mendoza said on WGN 720-AM.
Mendoza defeated Rauner’s hand-picked appointee for the comptroller’s office in a special election last year that was a proxy war for Rauner and Madigan. She is seeking a full four-year term next year and is being challenged by Republican Darlene Senger, a top aide in the governor’s administration.
On Sunday, Mendoza likened herself to holding a lifeline keeping Illinois’ finances from plummeting over a cliff while Rauner “is sitting there, kicking me, while I’m trying to hold on to the rope.”
“If you want the job, then take the accountability that comes with it. Take the criticism that comes with it,” she said. “Don’t just take credit when people say nice things about you.
“When you screw up the state of Illinois to the extent that you have, take ownership of it. Act like a grown man and a grown adult. Don’t blame everybody else but yourself for your colossal failures,” Mendoza said. “This governor has a gene in his DNA code that does not allow him to take accountability or responsibility for any of the failures that he has imposed upon this state.” (Rick Pearson)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel will tour new homes in Bronzeville.
*Gov. Rauner will be in Wheeling for an event on a first responder network. He’s not scheduled to take reporter’s questions.
*U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin will have a news conference at Benito Juarez Community Academy about the DREAM Act.
*Democratic candidate for governor state Sen. Daniel Biss and running mate state Rep. Litesa Wallace will unveil his criminal justice reform proposals at a news conference in Woodlawn.
*An Illinois House committee meets to talk about state Medicaid contracts.
*Week ahead: On Tuesday, the State Board of Elections meets and could talk about removing Democrat Terry Getz from the primary ballot for governor. An Illinois House committee meets to talk about transportation infrastructure. And 1871 CEO Howard Tullman will be at the City Club.
From the notebook
*Downstate Republican favors marijuana legalization, taxation: Republican state Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington says he’ll work with Democrats who want to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Illinois.
“Taxpayers are demanding that we reprioritize our spending. I think when you look at the costs that are attributed to enforcing prohibition of cannabis, it’s a very inefficient use of state and local resources. I think that should give us pause immediately,” Barickman said on WGN 720-AM.
“The reality is people today are using cannabis because it’s illegal. We’re enabling the black markets. The drug dealers, gangs and others are being enabled by the fact that we’ve made this product illegal,” he said. “And you look to the message that many of us Republicans have said, for many years now, which is we need to look creatively at how we broaden our tax base, how we look for opportunities to provide tax relief to middle-class Illinois taxpayers.”
Barickman said revenue from taxing marijuana could be “substantial,” and some Democrats have estimated it could bring up to $700 million into the state.
Gov. Rauner has said he does not support legalization without further study of other states that have taken such action. Barickman said the studies he’s seen should remove any questions that Rauner has. (Rick Pearson)
*Pritzker Metro East backing: Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker received endorsements from six lawmakers from the Metro-East area near St. Louis. They are state Sens. James Clayborne of Belleville and Bill Haine of Alton, and state Reps. Jay Hoffman of Swansea, Dan Beiser of Alton, Katie Stuart of Edwardsville and LaToya Greenwood of East St. Louis.
*On the “Sunday Spin”: Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests were LaVonte Stewart, executive director of the violence prevention group Lost Boyz Inc.; Mendoza on contracting in the Rauner administration; and Barickman on his support for legalized marijuana for recreational use. The “Sunday Spin” airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN-AM 720. Listen to the full show here.