By Nicole Milstead | Daily Herald Staff

SPRINGFIELD - Each of the 59 state senators was given the opportunity during former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s impeachment trial last month to make a five-minute speech. Lake Barrington Republican Dan Duffy, making his first speech ever in the Illinois Senate, stunned many observers with blunt criticism of veteran members for not challenging Blagojevich’s behavior sooner. Here’s a transcript:

“As a freshman senator, let me say it has been an interesting first month in office. It is an honor to represent the people of the 26th District and to sit here in their chair. I have heard over the past few days how the governor has traded official acts in exchange for personal profit and campaign contributions. He did this many times in a variety of ways.

I have also heard how the governor violated state and federal laws. The governor’s speech today was incredible, a very passionate political speech, but it doesn’t change the facts.

The governor’s actions show a pattern of abuse, which clearly tramples over the Illinois Constitution and violates his oath of office.

The testimony presented definitely warrants the governor’s removal from office, but what confuses me is that the testimony shows that this abuse of power has been going on for years and that many people in this government and in this chamber had to have known about it.

According to the governor’s speech today, he said that what he did, he did in conjunction with the Democratic Senate leadership. He said he couldn’t have done any of this without their help and support.

The auditor general’s testimony yesterday reflects how deep and how widespread the corruption has gone.

How is it that the majority in this chamber, the same people who have presented this case reflecting years of corruption, are the same people that have praised the governor by giving him three pay raises over the past two years? Three raises since the 2006 election, increasing the governor’s salary by almost 18 percent at the same time that all this documented corruption was taking place.

Mr. President, we have just scratched the surface of corruption. The governor did not and could not have done all this without a lot of help. We must implement clear and concise transparency laws in this state.

Every single government check written, whether for payroll, bills or expenses, should be posted on the Internet on a Web site for all to see.

Voters should have the ability to recall, if necessary, any elected official in this state.

And we should have a whistle-blowers’ hotline for all legislators, staff and lobbyists to call if they suspect or know of any corruption that’s taking place. This hotline should be maintained by a nonpolitical appointment who will keep names anonymous and offer awards for convictions.

This is just the beginning, Mr. President, and we have a lot of work to do.”