Blagojevich Reaches One Year Mark of Prison Sentence
By Chris Slaby and Sean Powers
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich walked into a Colorado prison a year ago Friday to start his 14-year sentence for corruption charges. State legislators say they hope the governor is reflecting on his mistakes.
State Rep. Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) knows the Blagojevich scandal first hand. As a member of the Illinois House, he voted to impeach Blagojevich in 2011.
Pritchard said he hopes Blagojevich is spending his time behind bars writing a book. He said the former governor should dedicate a chapter to how he destroyed the Illinois economy.
"We're trying to deal with an F-Y 14 budget right now that has 9-billion dollars in unpaid bills and all of it goes back to practices Blagojevich established in our state,” Pritchard said.
State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) was an outspoken critic of Blagojevich when he was governor, and Franks remains one now. He said Blagojevich was a “symptom” of a corruption problem he says still plagues Illinois politics.
Franks said all it takes is a few bad apples to have tarnished the reputation of an otherwise reputable government.
“I wanna cry. It’s terrible. We need to straighten this out or we’re going to lose an entire generation of citizens who don’t believe in public service,” he said.
Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 corruption charges. His wife, Patti Blagojevich, said the former Illinois governor is teaching Civil War history and learning to play the guitar while serving his prison sentence.
"I cannot call it the one year anniversary as the word anniversary implies celebration and all that we have been left with is a aching hole in our lives," she said in a post on her personal Facebook page.
Patti Blagojevich also said the family's attorneys are working on an appeal, but she said there will not be any answers for at least six more months.
"We are very hopeful and truly believe that good things are worth waiting for," she added.
Glenn Selig, a longtime spokesman for Rod Blagojevich, confirmed the posting was from Patti Blagojevich.