Governor of Illinois

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The Governor of the State of Illinoisis an elected Constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in Illinois. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and has no term limits.

Current officer

The 41st and current governor of Illinois is Pat Quinn, a Democrat. Quinn became governor after the Illinois State Senate voted to remove Rod Blagojevich from office. Quinn won a full term in the November 2010 midterms, which he began serving in January 2011.

As Quinn is divorced, there is no official First Lady of Illinois.


The state Constitution addresses the office of the governor in Article IV, the Executive Department.

Under Article V, Section 8:

The Governor shall have the supreme executive power, and shall be responsible for the faithful execution of the laws.


A governor is required to be:

  • at least twenty-five years old,
  • a United States citizen,
  • a resident of Illinois for three years prior to election.


Illinois elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not Presidential election years. For Illinois, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the second Monday in the January following an election. Thus, January 10, 2011 and January 12, 2015 are inaugural days.


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancies are address under Article V, Section 6.

In the event of a vacancy, respectively, the Lieutenant Governor, the elected Attorney General, and then the elected Secretary of State to succeed to the office as either the Governor or the Acting Governor.

The Governor may temporarily remove himself from office by stating a serious impediment to discharging his office to the Secretary of State and to the officer who would succeed him. The Governor may resume his office the same way. Removing the Governor against his will for reasons for mental or physical health is in the hands of the Illinois Supreme Court.



Charged with upholding and faithfully executing all laws, the Governor of Illinois is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. With the Senate's confirmation, the Governor appoints all offices not otherwise provided for in law; the Governor enjoys the power of making recess appointments when the Senate is not in session and of removing any serving gubernatorial appointee for any reason (§ 9, 10).

§ 13 dictates the Governor give a 'State of the State' to the General Assembly at the outset of each regular session and at the end of her term.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Reorganizing state departments and, if needed to so, convening extraordinary sessions of the General Assembly by Executive Order (§ 11).
  • Under § 12, the Governor may grant pardons, reprieves, and commutations "for all offenses on such terms as he thinks proper".


§ 21 mandates that the Governor's salary be set by law, that no sitting Governor may receive any other compensation, and that no pay increase or decrease take effect until the next term.

As of 2010, the Governor of Illinois is paid $177, 500 a year, the 9th highest gubernatorial salary in America.

Official residence

The governor of Illinois resides in the Illinois Executive Mansion at 410 East Jackson in Springfield, Illinois. Its first occupant was Governor Joel Aldrich Matteson. He took residence at the mansion in 1855. It is one of three oldest governor's residences in continuous use in the United States.

The governor is also given the use of an official residence on the state fair grounds, also located in Springfield. Governors have traditionally used this residence part of the year.

However, some governors, such as Rod Blagojevich, have chosen to not to use the governor's homes as their primary residence, instead commuting either by car or plane to Springfield from their home cities. Many Chicago-based governors also have done much of their business out of the governor's office in Chicago's James R. Thompson Center, an office building owned by the state named for the governor who served through the 1980's.


Six Illinois governors have been charged with crimes, either during their administrations or after.

The first, Lennington Small, was acquitted. Otto Kerner, Jr., Daniel Walker, and George Ryan all served time in prison. William G. Stratton was acquitted of tax evasion charges.

Former governor Rod Blagojevich was charged by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald with several offenses, including mail fraud and wire fraud, and attempting to sell Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat for personal financial and influential gain. He was impeached on January 9, 2009, by the Illinois House of Representatives, and removed from office by the Illinois Senate on January 29, 2009. He was not sentenced to prison. Blagojevich was the first Illinois governor to be impeached.

Contact information

Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-0244
TTY: 888-261-3336

Office of the Governor
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-814-2121

See also

External links