The governor’s office is denying it but judging from all the evidence it does seem likely to me that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich threatened to withhold $75 million needed for Western Illinois University’s Quad-Cities campus unless our state senator, Mike Jacobs, voted for the Governor’s universal health care plan. Read more about it in the Dispatch/Argus. A wimpier politician than Mike Jacobs probably would have felt that it would be better for his district as well as his own career not to create a public feud with the governor by calling a press conference and creating a public uproar. If the governor decides to punish Mike Jacobs this part of Illinois has more to lose than just the $75 million for the WIU – Moline campus.
But, just as fish have got to swim and birds have to fly Mike Jacobs cannot back down from a bar fight when he feels he has been challenged. Although the people of north-western Illinois did not actually pick Mike Jacobs to be our state senator from among a crowded field of candidates (he was initially appointed to the position when his father retired) he is the only state senator we have. I suggest we make the best of it by taking whatever satisfaction we can from the thought that our senator cannot be intimidated.