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June 3, 2011
Democrat State Senator punches colleague on chamber floor
There is never a dull moment in the Illinois Legislature. In the bluest of blue states the Republican minority isn't supposed to question the ruling Democrats. Apparently Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) didn't read his copy of How to win friends and meekly submit to the will of the ruling Democrats, but lucky for him fellow Senator Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline) was willing to teach him how things work in the capitol.
With the spring session drawing to a close, McCarter foolishly chose to act on behalf of his constituents by opposing a bill sponsored by Jacobs. The Bloomington Pantagraph reports:
The fracas started during a debate over legislation being sponsored by Jacobs that would grant Commonwealth Edison and Ameren Illinois automatic rate hikes in exchange for the utilities upgrading their equipment.
McCarter pointed out that Jacobs' father, former state Sen. Denny Jacobs, is a registered lobbyist for ComEd. Although the senator noted his father's lobbying activities on his most recent state disclosure forms, McCarter said he believes Jacobs shouldn't have been the lead sponsor of the measure.
After the rate hike was narrowly approved (along party lines -- go figure), Jacobs crossed the senate floor and confronted McCarter in a profanity laced exchange which reached its climax when Jacobs punched the unsuspecting McCarter in the chest. Obviously unaware of the long tradition of political intimidation by the ruling party in Illinois, McCarter remarked "We can't continue to do business like this."
WQAD reports that Senator Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) who is the former Lee County Sheriff witnessed the attack:
"I was sitting right there. Not only did McCarter not initiate it, when Sen. Jacobs hit McCarter, you could hear the thump on his chest. It knocked Senator McCarter backwards," Bivins said by phone Wednesday morning.
He said Sen. Darin LaHood of Peoria, a former prosecutor, was on the other side, and has also given statements to police.
"We both witnessed it," Bivins said, saying Jacobs was calling McCarter a profanity that rhymes with "mother trucker."
"I spent close to 33 years in law enforcement. These are the facts. He dropped the f-bomb twice. There was no smiling, no laughing, it was intense," adding he still has a bruise from jumping over his desk to try and calm the situation.
An unrepentant Jacobs remarked that "Senator McCarter is full of (bleep)," and called his colleague someone who "couldn't even really polish my shoes." In defense of his sponsorship of the bill in question, despite his father's connection to the energy giant, Jacobs said "I know it's just the way we do things and that's the way Illinois politics is." In fairness to Senator Jacobs, he is correct when he says "that's the way Illinois politics is."
An angry Jacobs said "To my friend across the aisle, my young friend. It's not what you know that gets you in trouble in this building. It's what you don't know that just ain't so. The reason I support this bill is because it's the right bill. We need to move Illinois forward. If you don't have the courage to do it, I will. And I don't care, you can look under my underwear. I don't care where you look...."
The articulate and statesman like East Moline Democrat stands as a prime example of how things work in Illinois, which of course explains why Illinois is the laughing stock of American states.
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