SPRINGFIELD - According to Kurt Erickson, members of the Illinois General Assembly are taking some vacation rest following their summer break and before they head back to the Capitol for a short veto session on October 22.
For example, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) is in Italy. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown won't say if the Speaker's trip is personal or a legislative function. However, Madigan is being accompanied on his international sabbatical by Democrat lobbyist Mike McClain, whose clients include ComEd, Anheuser-Busch, Walgreens and Comcast.
State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) is also taking some time off. His district office manager Jim Kirkpatrick wouldn't tell Erickson where his boss is, and explained he couldn't even reach him because he "left his phone here" (Illinois presumably).
Recently State Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) took a trip to Italy. State Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) winged his way to Sicily. And State Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Smithton) visited Turkey.
Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has stayed in the state of late. But he's done his share of globtrotting, including Israel, China, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Spain, and Brazil.
Unlike their representatives, an increasing number of Illinoisans opted for staycations this year. And according to AAA, with personal budgets tight and limited, many families couldn't even afford that.