Saturday, January 10, 2009
Reporters talk to Rep. Milton Patterson today after the impeachment vote in Springfield. (Michael Tercha / Tribune
The lone "No" in the 114-1-1 vote on the impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich was Rep. Milton Patterson, a Chicago Democrat from the Southwest Side whose office is on West 63rd Street.
After the vote, he said he didn't feel it was his job to vote to impeach the governor. Asked whether he thought Blagojevich has been a good governor, he said, "I have no comment on that." Asked his vote should be taken as a defense of the governor, he said, "I'm not defending anybody."
Patterson said he wasn't comfortable with voting "yes" on impeachment. "I think the committee did an excellent job in the report, it was just there was not enough for me to feel comfortable with a decision to do that...I did not feel comfortable voting based upon what I heard and read, simple as that."
Asked whether he expected a backlash from his constituents, Patterson said, "I have no idea."
I read the report," he said. "If the government is going to indict him, let them go ahead and do that...That's their job and I'm doing my job."
Asked whether he believed the evidence, he said, "I went by my own gut feeling, as simple as that, sir, that's all I can say."
Rep. Elga Jefferies, a South Side Democrat, cast the sole "present" vote because, she said, a "lot of this process was personal." But she conceded there were "quite a few things the governor could have done differently."
Jefferies, whose term ends next week, said she suffered from "personal vendettas" in a rough primary campaign that she lost.
"I was torn between political and personal," Jefferies said.
"I believe that part of the allegations were true, and I believe that the body really had to dig deep to pull up... They've gone back years to come up with this."
Her next move is to have a knee replacement, but she doesn't have a job lined up.
Asked if Blagojevich had offered her a job, Jefferies said, "Not at this point, no."
"I might go and ask him for one," she said. "I have no problem with asking."
She said the idea of potential state job no role in her vote: "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no."
When a reporter suggested that she ask Blagojevich soon, she said: "I know. Maybe I can get a couple of months in."
Jefferies said she did not think Blagojevich should resign now.
"I think he's due his day in court," Jefferies said. "I really do. I really do."
In fact, Jefferies said, he should be able to finish the term if the court case drags through the next two years.
"Sure," she said, "I think that there's still a chance that he can make some adjustments and making things right."
The House has 118 members. One member, Rep. Wyvetter Younge (D-East St. Louis) died on Dec. 26, and her successor has not yet been chosen.