Mapes’ impact on Madigan’s future

Illinois Capitol News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — With House Speaker Michael Madigan’s top aide now ousted, and a string of allegations lingering, some are asking, who’s next?

Madigan’s former chief of staff Tim Mapes is the second top Democrat to go down in less than two weeks, but will he be the last?

At the end of the day, Speaker Madigan seems to be the common denominator for almost all the claims being brought forward.

Many are asking if women will be the ultimate force to take the powerful speaker off his throne. Political insiders say it’s going to take a lot more than what we’re seeing now.

Wednesday, a longtime female staffer, Sherri Garrett, spoke about what she calls “locker room behavior” she endured and witnessed in the speaker’s office.

Mapes, her superior, ignored her complaints. Like every previous allegation, Madigan denies knowing about the issues. Within hours, he ordered Mapes to step down.

A complaint is being filed with the Inspector General, but even with new reforms, some fear the process isn’t trustworthy.

Thursday, the House Democratic Women’s Caucus called for an independent investigation into operations in the speaker’s office and House chamber.

The woman who came forward Wednesday says getting rid of Mapes won’t fix the problem because it’s bigger than just one person.

Democratic women in the House agree. They’re also launching a new program, titled Representing Respect, to change the culture. In a statement, they said methods will be much different than a typical sexual harassment training.

The Illinois Legislature would be the first in the country to adopt this sort of training.

It looks like some change is in the works, but what about the investigations? The Inspector General will have to look into four complaints in Madigan’s office.

Questions still linger about when and how lawmakers will get to the bottom of this and if Madigan will hold any responsibility in the end.

Mapes stepped down after working for the state for nearly four decades. It’s estimated the 63-year old’s pension will cost taxpayers upwards of $100,000 a year. 

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