Governor Pat Quinn. Photo from Wikipedia.
Candidates in their Own Words: Pat Quinn
Democratic Governor Pat Quinn was appointed to the Governor's mansion in January of 2009, rising to the state's top position after the impeachment of imprisoned former Governor Rod Blagojevich, with whom Quinn served as Lt. Governor. Quinn barely won a full term in office in 2010, narrowly beating Republican Bill Brady by around 30,000 votes, winning the race while holding only four counties.
Quinn has served in Illinois politics for over 30 years, starting in 1982 as the Commissioner of the Cook County board of Tax Appeals, later becoming Illinois' State Treasurer in 1990, and ultimately the state's Lt. Governor in 2002. Quinn has also run, unsuccessfully, for United States Senator.
Quinn's "Illinois Job's Now!" jobs program is a cornerstone of Quinn's job growth policy, dealing out state grants to fund several thousand civic construction projects, including the repair of over 7,000 miles of roadway, 978 schools, and over 1,000 bridges. One of his goals for his next term is to raise Illinois' minimum wage to around $10 an hour.
Quinn supports the fracking industry, but believes fracking must be tightly regulated in order to protect the environment.
Governor Quinn's "Rebalancing Initiative" for state developmental facilities, announced in 2011, aims to move the developmentally disabled out of state institutions and into Community Integrated Living Arrangements, or CILA Homes. As part of the initiative, the Quinn put plans into motion to close the doors of the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia, a move that has come under fire by area residents and several disabled rights organizations. However, the closure is supported by organizations such as ARC of Illinois and Equip for Equality, two major disabled rights organizations.
Quinn was a major advocate for Senate Bill 1, the Pension Reform Bill of 2013. When the pension fight came to a standstill, Quinn suspended legislators salaries, including his own, until the pension fight was over. Quinn signed the measure into law and believes it will hold up as constitutional.
Quinn believes his experience at the helm of the state will help him going forward, and has said that Illinois is on the brink of an economic upturn.
Opponents criticize Quinn harshly, with downstate opponents accusing him of only caring about the Chicagoland area, and being motivated by politics and greed in the closure of the Murray Developmental Center. Quinn has a low overall approval rating, even within his own party, and has been listed by the New York Times and NPR as one of the most vulnerable state governor's in the 2014 election.
Quinn's running mate is Paul Vallas, the former superintendent of the Chicago School District.
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