Medical emergency kept Jakobsson from voting on pension bill

Medical emergency kept Jakobsson from voting on pension bill

URBANA — State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, said she missed Thursday's vote on House Speaker Michael Madigan's controversial pension reform plan because of a family medical emergency.

Jakobsson said her husband, Eric, had just been diagnosed with cancer. She left Springfield immediately on Thursday to be with him but returned to the Capitol on Friday.

Eric Jakobsson, a member of the Urbana City Council, learned that he has a melanoma. He will continue to serve on the council, she said.

"He's feeling fine. Sure, he's going to continue to serve on the council," she said. "As he told our granddaughter, 'I have a touch of cancer.'"

Naomi Jakobsson said she would have voted against the Madigan pension proposal — which passed 62-51 with few votes from downstate legislators. Only six of approximately 31 downstate House members, three from each party, voted for the Madigan pension bill.

Jakobsson said her legislative office in Champaign received "a lot" of calls about her missed vote on Thursday. Some, she said, "were unpleasant."

"A lot of people who are calling my office know that I would have voted no. They're not even looking at my previous history and all the no votes I took on the pension bills," she said. "People don't always understand the process, I know that. A lot of people don't realize that even if I had stayed to vote no, it wouldn't have changed the outcome. It wouldn't have dropped the number to 61."

She would have voted no, she said, because "a lot of the things I had voted no on before were in this bill. I have so many constituents who would have been affected."

She said "I have made a commitment to my constituents that I will work to protect their pensions. There might have to be some changes at sometime, but we need to make sure that everyone is at the table for those discussions. We have to make sure we are addressing all parts. With the bill that was presented (Thursday) I could just not vote for that."

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EL YATIRI wrote on May 04, 2013 at 7:05 am
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Sorry Naomi, that doesn't qualify as an "emergency" in my book.

Danno wrote on May 04, 2013 at 8:05 am

Emergency: noun. Sudden, urgent occurrence or occaision requiring immediate action. Eg., Level I Trauma Center Emergency Room 'visit', often involving heart attacks, food allergy attack or, massive loss of blood/limbs and respirators. No future appointments scheduled at your convenience.

I do wish your Husband well.

rsp wrote on May 04, 2013 at 8:05 am

What would have?

EL YATIRI wrote on May 04, 2013 at 8:05 am
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se Danno's post

StateStreetBrat wrote on May 04, 2013 at 8:05 am


I call BS on this "medical emergency"....How convenient to have this urgent and pressing matter keep Naomi Jakobsson from voting. She had the best of both worlds, she acquiesced to Madigan's will and at the same time claimed to serve her constituency by voting an imaginary No to Senate Bill 1. Another phony, self-serving politician on display.....

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on May 04, 2013 at 2:05 pm
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Dang, you all are harsh.


I can see how certain politicians might engender this kind of backlash, but the Jakobssons are nice people.

kyedpa5 wrote on May 04, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I don't like Naomi too much, but you people are heartless!  She is a human being too.  She breaths and bleeds and feels just like the rest of us.  If my spouse of DECADES was just diagnosed with cancer, I would want to be there with them.  Like she said, her vote didn't even matter for the final outcome.  I think if it was going to come down to one vote, she may have stayed.  

I can't believe I just put forth so much effort defending her, but holy cow you people are heartless.

Danno wrote on May 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Her 'Duty' is to stay and vote. Try not to 'think if...' ...'she 'may' have stayed.' Short of an emergency,...'why is she any longer useful' around here? Thanks for the representation,...

Danno wrote on May 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Her 'Duty' is to stay and vote. Try not to 'think if...' ...'she 'may' have stayed.' Short of an emergency,...'why is she any longer useful' around here? Thanks for the representation,...

grateful wrote on May 04, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Wow, you guys are heartless. A cancer diagnosis is a scary and very emotional event. Naomi had the right to leave to be with her husband. It's not as if her vote would have made a difference in the outcome anyhow. Personally, I'm relieved to see a politician show her human nature. If she didn't leave, people would say she's a cold hearted B. She couldn't win...

honesty wrote on May 05, 2013 at 12:05 am

I had lung cancer diagnosed and my wife stayed at work. What was she going to do. Surgery was scheduled nothing more to do but wait. I'm sorry your there and you can't take 5 minutes to vote. That's what I expect out of a far left liberal madigan puppet. Plausable deniability

Loren Anderson wrote on May 07, 2013 at 9:05 am
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And I am continually finding excuses for drinking whiskey.

787 wrote on May 07, 2013 at 10:05 pm

And NOW we find out that the cancer wasn't nearly as bad as initally reported.  It was actually a common form of skin cancer, from overexposure to the sun.

Why did Naomi find it necessary to lie to us?  Of course, since she's a democrat, lying to cover one's butt is apparenty OK.

Next time, Naomi.... you need to be in Springfield, instead of somewhere else..

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 08, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Yes, I have to admit my disappointment that the "emergency" is one that most caucasian, older Americans suffer from.  It would not qualify as an "emergency".  Most crusty spots are burnt off with liquid nitrogen.  Some require minor surgery as an outpatient.

She indicated that she would have voted "no", against the bill.  However, she did not vote either "yes", or "no".  Essentially, the voters in this district were denied their vote.  Madigan, in the past, allowed representatives from large public employee geographic areas to vote against his bills if he already had enough votes.  This time he did not know how tight the vote might be.  He might be just as upset as the electorate are in this area.  She could have incurred Madigan's wrath by voting against his bill.  She could have incurred the public employees, both current and retired, wrath by voting for Madigan's bill.  She could have avoided voting either "no", or "yes" on the bill by being absent.  The only worse thing would have been her being there, and abstaining from voting.

I hope there is more to her reasoning for not being there when she was needed.  I am disappointed with the rhetoric without action. 

Bulldogmojo wrote on May 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I am also calling BS on this. They were voting on one of the most important bills that will have an impact on many generations to come. Jakobsson wasn't elected to be "Nice" she was elected to deliver on the duties of her position.

This whole thing doesn't pass the sniff test. I'm already encouraging Rob Meister to run again so we can unload this sacred cow and get some representation who will show up.

Melanoma?!  Come on...