On the national level, a feud between president-elect Donald Trump and longtime Congressman John Lewis is casting a shadow on the spirit of MLK Day, the notion of working together despite difference. But locally, leaders are pointing to a bill that was signed into law today as a new hope for bipartisanship in Springfield.
Flanked by democratic lawmakers at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast, republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill requiring all Illinois schools and childcare centers test drinking water for lead by 2018, an issue Dr. King fought for back in the 60’s.
"This is an indication of what we can do when we come together on a bipartisan basis to deal with the issues and solve a problem and I hope this provides even further momentum for getting good things done and getting a balanced budget soon along with changes to the system," Rauner said.
And when asked for his reaction to the rift between Trump and Lewis, the Rev. Jesse Jackson also spoke of bipartisanship.
"Our hope is that, just as this governor, a Republican, has reached out and Democrats have reached out to him, we can move from battleground to common ground," Jackson said.
Lewis, who was in Miami for a MLK scholarship breakfast this morning, did not address the controversy stemming from his public pronouncement that Trump is not a 'legitimate' president because of Russian hacking. And he never mention the twitter storm Trump unleashed on him, calling the long time civil rights leader all talk and no action. Instead Lewis, who helped organize the 1963 march on Washington with Dr. King, called on those in the audience to be outspoken.
"Never give up, never give in, stand up, speak up. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something and not be quiet," Lewis said.
After tweeting people should celebrate King and honor him for being the great man he was , Donald Trump met with his son, Martin Luther III to talk about voter rights. Afterwards, King tried to calm down the rhetoric.
"Absolutely, John Lewis has demonstrated that he's action- as I said, things we said on both sides in the heat of emotion and at some point this nation, we've got to move forward,” Luther III said.
Trump didn't say anything during an appearance in the lobby of Trump Tower after meeting with King for almost an hour, ignoring questions about Lewis that were shouted at him by reporters. Trump officially assumes the office of president on Friday.