UPDATE: Local leaders react to Blagojevich’s arrest

By Daily Illini Staff Report

State Representative Naomi Jakobsson (D-103) is among other state politicians calling for Gov. Rod Blagojevich to resign immediately as a result of his arrest on corruption charges Tuesday morning.

“The bottom line is I hope he will do the right thing and resign now and not make any appointments,” Jakobsson said.

Jakobsson said she felt the arrest was somewhat expected, but that she was surprised by the governors alleged involvement with the Chicago Tribune editorial board.

“It just goes along with his idea of how to run government, which is pay to play,” she said. “And that is not how government should be run.”

Jakobsson said she has received many phone calls from appalled constituents calling for either Gov. Blagojevich’s resignation or impeachment.

She did say, however, that there is hope for improvement in Illinois politics in the months to come.

“I think we’ve already been looking forward to a new Senate president and we will be able to do some good things for the state of Illinois,” Jakobsson said. “I think this opens the door a little further for that.”

State Sen. Dan Rutherford (D-53) agreed Blagojevich should resign from office.

“I think that his ability to govern the state of Illinois before this morning was almost zero,” Rutherford said. “And not with his arrest it is even lower than that.”

Rutherford acknowledged that he was more surprised with the nature of the charges and that this was going on in recent phone conversations, than that the governor was arrested at all.

“Rod Blagoyevich campaigned on rocking the system,” Rutherford added. “And now it appears that the only thing he will be rocking will be the jail house.”

Other Illinois officials also expressed their views about the governor’s arrest.

“We’re all a little shocked at what we’re reading and what we’re hearing. The conduct is shocking,” – University Board of Trustees member Lawrence Eppley, who was appointed by Blagojevich to the 13-member board.

“He’s never shown up to the meetings so I don’t see how we can be directly effected,” said James Winters, another member of the University Board of Trustees, on which Blagojevich served as an ex officio member.

“It’s a very sad day for Illinois government. Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low. Gov. Blagojevich has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree.” – U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

“I think everybody in Illinois is disappointed we’re going through this.” – Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn.

“We’ve got enough problems with state government without continuing to operate now with more than a cloud over the governor. This is a hurricane over his head.” – Rich Whitney of Carbondale, who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Blagojevich in 2006 as a Green Party candidate.

“If these allegations are even remotely true, they would represent a shameful breach of the public trust and be cause for the governor’s immediate resignation.” – U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill.

I’m thinking, holy cow, Christmas came early.” – Pontiac Mayor Scott McCoy, whose central Illinois town has been rankled about Blagojevich’s plan to shut down the local 570-worker prison.

“Our state cannot afford to remain engulfed in this unfolding scandal. Our government’s ability to deal on a daily basis with the fiscal and economic crises we currently face demands leadership and integrity. Our governor cannot provide either.” – State Comptroller Dan Hynes, a Democrat.

“Now officially facing serious corruption charges, Governor Rod Blagojevich should immediately do the honorable thing and resign from office. If he refuses to resign, any and all options to remove him from office should be on the table, including impeachment.” – Rep. Chapin Rose, a Mahomet Republican.

“What first comes to mind is, it’s about time.” – Steven Poe, 54, owner of East Side Marine in Springfield, the city stung recently by Blagojevich’s decision to move the state’s Traffic Safety Division – and about 140 jobs – to southern Illinois.

“These are very serious charges, and we must allow the legal process to go forward. The people of Illinois will be best served if this matter is considered in a timely and efficient manner.” – U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville.

The Governor’s Press Office had this to say, “Today’s allegations do nothing to impact the services, duties or function of the State. Families will continue to receive healthcare, seniors and persons with disabilities the support and services they need, the hundreds of thousands of unemployed Illinoisans will still receive assistance. Our state will continue to ensure health, safety, and economic stability for the citizens of Illinois.”

Rachel Rubin, Melissa Silverberg and the Associated Press contributed to this report.