SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) called on two Democratic state senators, Sen. Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) and Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Frankfort), to resign Thursday due to misconduct allegations.
“They should answer the charges and have their day in court,” Pritzker said. “But in the best interests of their constituents, these men must resign from their offices.”
Read the full statement below:
Integrity is essential to public service, and corruption for personal gain and abuse in private or public is unacceptable. Illinoisans deserve to have elected leaders who are focused on representing them – not on holding office when facing serious and credible charges. Sen. Jones is accused of accepting bribes. And Senator Hastings is accused of abusing women. They should answer the charges and have their day in court. But in the best interests of their constituents, these men must resign from their offices. Resigning only their leadership roles falls short of what the public should expect. I want to send a clear message to the people of Illinois: corruption and abuse have no place here.Gov. JB Pritzker in a statement Thursday
Jones III was indicted on federal charges Tuesday due to lying to federal officials about accepting bribes from the traffic light company SafeSpeed. He is connected to a FBI raid of then-State Senator Martin Sandoval, and is the fourth Illinois elected official to be indicted from the raid.
Hastings has been accused of abuse by his ex-wife. A police report originally obtained by the Edgar County Watchdogs found that Hastings “battered her, by placing her in a chokehold in a choke hold/neck restraint, and slammed her body into a door multiple times.”
Environmental lobbyist Jen Walling also said in an interview with WBEZ that Hastings physically intimidated her multiple times while lobbying to him. She reacted to Pritzker’s statement in a Tweet Thursday.
“I am grateful for the public support of Governor Pritzker and want to echo his call for Sen. Hastings to resign,” Walling wrote. “I hope other senators will support this call and support anyone else who comes forward. This individual is a liability to the state of Illinois and the lawmaking process.”
Republicans have criticized Senate President Don Harmon for not calling for Jones and Hastings’ resignation prior to Pritzker’s statement.
“What is this ‘high ethical standard’ in today’s Democrat-controlled Senate?” said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy. “Is everything short of a federal indictment and conviction ok?”
Both Hastings and Jones resigned from their leadership positions in the Senate due to the allegations.
However, Hastings told WBEZ Thursday morning that he plans to continue his re-election campaign and has no intent to resign.