Difference between revisions of "Pat Quinn (Former governor of Illinois)"

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* [http://www.illinois.gov/gov/ Pat Quinn on the Office of Governor of Illinois website]
* [http://www.illinois.gov/gov/ Pat Quinn on the Office of Governor of Illinois website]
* [http://www.quinnforillinois.com/ Pat Quinn's campaign website]
* [http://www.quinnforillinois.com/ Pat Quinn's campaign website]
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Revision as of 13:46, 6 June 2013

Pat Quinn
Pat Quinn.jpg
Governor of Illinois
In office
January 29, 2009 - Present
Term ends
January 12, 2015
Years in position 6
PredecessorRod Blagojevich
Base salary$177,412
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Lieutenant Governor of Illinois
January 13, 2003 – January 29, 2009
Illinois Treasurer
January 14, 1991 – January 9, 1995
Bachelor'sGeorgetown University, 1971
J.D.Northwestern University, 1980
Date of birthDecember 16, 1948
Place of birthHinsdale, Illinois
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Patrick J. Quinn (b. December 16, 1948) is the current Democratic Governor of Illinois. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in 2002 and took office in 2003. In 2009 he assumed the office of Governor following the impeachment of Rod Blagojevich. Quinn ran for, and won, a full term in 2010.[1] Before ascending to the governorship, Quinn served six years as Lieutenant Governor of Illinois and one term as state treasurer of Illinois. Prior to entering politics, Quinn briefly made a living as a tax attorney.

Quinn intends to run for his second full term as governor in 2014. According to race ratings released by Governing Politics anaylyst Larry Sabato's "Crystal Ball," Quinn is among the top five governors considered most vulnerable to losing re-election in 2013-2014.[2]

His time as governor has thus far been marred by steep, deeply unpopular budget cuts and tax increases stemming from long-term state debt. As lieutenant governor under Blagovevich, Quinn sought to expand the role beyond statutory bounds, dedicating the office's resources and limited powers to issues such as finding aid for families of military service members. Quinn is the fifth of the state’s forty-six previous lt. governors to have succeeded to the top job mid-term. Since becoming governor, Quinn has emphasized improving the state government's ethical standards and protecting public-sector labor unions.

Quinn is the grandson of an Irish immigrant, who left a strong imprint of Catholicism on Quinn's father, a public relations official in the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago, as well as Quinn.[3]


Quinn, born in 1948, was the oldest of the three sons of P.J. and Eileen Quinn. He attended Catholic grade school, and then Fenwick High School in Oak Park. For college, Quinn attended Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in international economics. He went on to obtain his law degree from Northwestern University's School of Law in 1980.[1]

Before entering public service, Quinn was a tax attorney. He gained some early fame in the 1970s by leading an ultimately unsuccessful drive to amend, via a petition drive, the Illinois Constitution with the "Illinois Initiative." This amendment would have provided people from Illinois with the same power to enact statutes through the process of referendum that is used in other states, notably California. Though Quinn's petition drive was successful, his efforts were blocked by the Illinois Supreme Court that ruled that the Illinois Initiative was an "unconstitutional constitutional amendment", and it was never allowed to be placed before the voters.

He also led the charge in 1980 for the one initiated constitutional amendment that has ever qualified for the Illinois ballot: Illinois Ballot Question 1 (1980). This amendment reduced the number of members of the Illinois House of Representatives from 177 to 118. As the petition drive to put the measure on the ballot gained momentum, it also inspired the members of the state legislature to act to eliminate a practice whereby they paid themselves two years' advance pay at the start of each two-year legislative session.[4]

Quinn expressed his appreciation for the initiative process in his state as the campaign proceeded, saying, "Lawmaking by initiative is both practical and workable in Illinois. Other large industrial states like Michigan Ohio, Massachusetts and California have found the initiative process to be an excellent way of directly involving average citizens in state government decisionmaking. Average voters should not be looked upon as little children who need to be protected against themselves. They have common sense and good judgment for making responsible decisions on tough policy questions that affect their lives and pocket-books."[4]


  • Fenwick High School (1967)
  • BA, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (1971)
  • JD, Northwestern University School of Law (1980)

Political career

Governor of Illinois (2009-Present)

Quinn is the 41st and current Illinois Governor. Quinn, formerly the lieutenant governor, ascended to the governorship on January 29, 2009 after the Illinois State Senate impeached former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Quinn won election to a full term on November 2, 2010, which he began serving on January 10, 2011. Quinn's current term will expire on January 12, 2015.


Proposal to eliminate Illinois lt. governor post

On April 11, 2013, the Illinois House of Representatives approved a proposal seeking to eliminate the position of lieutenant governor by constitutional amendment. In order for the measure to be passed, it must win approval of both the State Senate and Illinois voters. If the proposal is approved in a statewide public vote, the office will remain intact for one final term following the 2014 election.[5] After the bill passed in the state House, Quinn spoke out in favor of preserving the office, which he previously held for six years until former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment caused him to ascend to the governorship. "I believe in that office, for sure, he said of the lieutenant governor, who is empowered to oversee the Illinois River Coordinating Council, the state’s Rural Affairs Council and the Illinois Main Street Program, in addition to being first in the line of succession to take over in the event there is a vacancy in the governor's office. Next in line after the lt. governor is the attorney general. When Quinn was lt. governor under Blagovevich, he stretched the role of lt. governor's beyond statutory bounds, and dedicated the office's resources and limited powers to issues such as finding aid for families of military service members. Quinn is the fifth of the state’s forty-six previous lt. governors to have succeeded to the top job mid-term.

“There are some issues that fall between the cracks, and somebody has to stand up for those issues,” he said, and cited his work helping veterans, among other issues, Quinn said. “It’s good to have a backup quarterback.”[6]

Gun control

According to Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson, the governor "believes strongly" that restrictions on semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines should be passed in 2013.[7]

High speed rail

In November 2010, Quinn reached out to Wisconsin’s train manufacturers and tried to get some of the state's high speed rail federal money. His administration is openly courting Talgo Inc., which is slated to build Wisconsin’s high speed rail cars.

Illinois received $1.2 billion in federal stimulus dollars earlier this year to install high speed rail-lines across the state. Instead, Illinois is using the money to improve the lines that run from Chicago to St. Louis and Chicago to Madison, Wisconsin. Missouri and Wisconsin also received federal funding for high-speed rail lines. These states were supposed to finish Illinois’ projects when they cross into their states. However, with the Wisconsin election of Republican Scott Walker, the state's commitment to the $810 million project has become unclear.

Quinn said that Illinois would be happy to take the extra federal money if Wisconsin refuses it. “I’ve already talked to the vice president about it, Vice President Biden,” Quinn said. “I told him that if some states, Ohio and Wisconsin turn back money on high speed rail, we’ve got our hand up right away. We want to make sure we use that money in Illinois.”[8]

On December 23, 2010, the several entities involved in making the decision came to an agreement about how to proceed with development. The Illinois Department of Transportation, Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad gave the agreed on a deal that will allow federal funds to start flowing to the state. IDOT will administer the funds and Amtrak will be responsible for the running the trains. Union Pacific Railroad owns the track that the trains will run on.

“We’re very proud that this agreement has been reached,” said Josh Kauffman, spokesman for IDOT. “The agreement allows Illinois to access $1.1 billion in (federal) stimulus funds in order to move high-speed rail forward.” Quinn praised the agreement. “It’s a wonderful day for Illinoisans as we celebrate a milestone achievement towards becoming the first state in the nation to bring high-speed rail to fruition," he said in a press release.[9]

Civil unions

Gov. Quinn promised to sign the legislation to legalize civil unions as soon as it lands on his desk. The law would come into effect on July 1.[10]

Quinn entered the chamber during lawmakers' closing speeches, and later declared the bill’s passage "right." “I think it is the right thing to do because it’s the right of conscience of people of our state that they should have this right,” Quinn said. “I think it is important that we respect the diversity that we have in our state and be a tolerant state of Illinois.”[11]

Tax increase

The Illinois State Senate passed a plan for a two point income tax hike, from 3 percent to 5 percent. At the start of the 2011 session, Quinn met with Democratic leaders to speak about passing tax hike legislation in the House. Quinn is pulling for a hike of at least 1 percent.

Senate President John Cullerton said the House is going to have to act first. "We already passed an income tax out of the Senate," Cullerton said. "So they're talking about getting the vote to pass an income tax out of the House."

House Republicans hesitate to support any tax increase without concessions from Quinn and legislative Democrats. State Rep Jil Tracy said while there has been talk of Medicaid, workers' comp and education reform, talk isn't going to get many votes. "I only hope there's been a lot of real reform talked about that's going to be shown in legislation," she said. "I'm not sure." Tracy said Democrats only want GOP votes as a shield against angry voters.[12]

Concealed carry

In May 2011, Gov. Pat Quinn announced that he would veto the concealed carry bill on which the Illinois Legislature had voted, if it landed on his desk. The bill would allow Illinois residents to carry concealed firearms in public. That threat held little water because the bill had a lot of support and might win through a supermajority (71 votes in the House and 36 votes in the Senate) of votes from both chambers.

Rep. Brandon W. Phelps said he was trying to find enough support in the House to move the plan over to the Senate. Phelps said he wanted to call House Bill 148 for a vote on May 5, regardless of Quinn's opposition. "I just think that (Quinn) is wrong," Phelps said. "And you agree to disagree. Sometimes people within your own party disagree with what they say. And I totally disagree with him today."

Under HB 148, Illinois residents 21 and older could apply for permits to carry concealed firearms in public, except for places like schools, churches and inside state government buildings. Applicants would need to pass a written exam, firearms training exercises and background checks. "About two-thirds of the citizens of our state are steadfastly and strongly opposed to allow private citizens to carry loaded, concealed handguns in public places," Quinn said.

Sen. Gary Forby said the opponents of concealed carry mostly live in and around Chicago and that people downstate, and in other states, support the idea. "I think all we are doing now, we are really helping the state of Illinois with what they got to do to get a license and stuff," Forby said. "So all you are going to do is put guns in peoples' good hands."

Quinn said the plan may lead to more violence. "I don't think that's healthy, if you are going to the grocery store," Quinn said. "You bump into somebody accidentally, and they take offense, they can pull out a loaded, concealed handgun to assuage their anger."

Sen. Larry Bomke said the plan would deter violence, because potential burglars would less likely rob homeowners with guns. "I can only hope that he changes his mind once the bill gets to his desk," Bomke said. "And I feel fairly confident it will. But it will be important that we have enough votes, a supermajority, to override his decision if he chooses to veto the bill." Rep. Jason Barickman said lawmakers have been working carefully to craft the plan. “At the end of the day, we certainly would appreciate the governor's support,” Barickman said. “But with him making it clear that he opposes this right, this constitutional right, this right that a mass number of people support. I think that we just have to continue lining up our legislative votes and push forward."

Rep. Norine Hammond hopes that's enough support. “A lot of people have worked on this very hard — lots of law enforcement input,” she said. “I think it is a very strong bill. And hopefully we could get it passed," she said.

In the end though, Rep. Richard Morthland said it won’t matter what the governor chooses to do with the legislation if there are enough votes. "There is a last minute roll call being taken just trying to figure out where people are, and how we are doing, and do we have exactly the number of votes we need, how close are we,“ Morthland said. “I think it looks good. Hopefully we will be able to move it this week."[13]

Tax money taken from charities

On June 26, 2011, the News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, IL) reported that Quinn's Office of Management and Budget took $1.18 million from charitable donations made on Illinois tax returns to help pay the state's bills during fiscal year 2011. The money came from 11 "tax checkoff funds," financed by the contributions of Illinois taxpayers who can check off a box on their tax returns to automatically donate to one of several charities. A government spokesperson claimed the state was borrowing the money temporarily and would repay it within several months, but some of the affected charities complained the funds were being misused. Tracy Smith, executive director of Feeding Illinois, which runs a network of food banks, claimed the organization had yet to receive any tax checkoff money from the past two years of tax returns.[14]

Health care reform

The day after the United States House of Representatives narrowly passed the Senate reconciliation bill on health care reform, Democrat Governor Pat Quinn stated proudly that, unlike other states, he would not be instructing his state's top law enforcer to oppose the reform measure through litigative efforts. Instead, he added, Illinois would warmly embrace it. Though the new health care legislation would expand Medicaid, Quinn argued that he didn't "think adding participants to the Medicaid rolls would add to Illinois' deficit," which stands at $12.8 billion. [15] [16]

Lieutenant Governor of Illinois (2002-2009)

Quinn sought the office of Lieutenant Governor in 2002, and after winning the Democratic primary in March of that year, he ran together with Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Rod Blagojevich. In Illinois, candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor run separately in the primary election, and are then joined together as a ticket in the General Election. Blagojevich and Quinn defeated Attorney General Jim Ryan and State Senator Carl Hawkinson in the general election. In the Illinois primary election in March 2006, he ran unopposed as a Democrat. In November 2006, he and Governor Rod Blagojevich won re-election to their respective offices.

Illinois State Treasurer (1991-1995)

After serving one term as State Treasurer, Quinn ran for the office of Illinois Secretary of State in 1994, losing in the general election to the incumbent (and future Governor) George H. Ryan.



See also: Illinois gubernatorial election, 2014

Quinn is up for re-election in 2014. A report released by Governing in December 2012 named him as one of five governors considered vulnerable to losing re-election in the 2013-2014 gubernatorial elections.[17]


See also: Illinois gubernatorial election, 2010

Quinn was elected on a ticket with Sheila Simon. The pair defeated Bill Brady/Jason Plummer (R), Rich Whitney/Don W. Crawford (G), Lex Green/Ed Rutledge (L) and Scott Lee Cohen/Baxter B. Swilley (I) in the general election on November 2, 2010.[18]

Quinn's competition in the February 2, 2010 Democratic Party primary was Illinois State Comptroller Dan Hynes.[19] After a long election night, Quinn emerged victorious over Hynes in the Democratic race. The two spoke a day or two after the vote about coming together for the November election[20].

Governor and Lt. Governor of Illinois, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngPat Quinn & Sheila Simon Incumbent 46.8% 1,745,219
     Republican Bill Brady & Jason Plummer 45.9% 1,713,385
     Independent Scott Lee Cohen & Baxter Swilley 3.6% 135,705
     Green Rich Whitney & Don Crawford 2.7% 100,756
     Libertarian Lex Green & Ed Ruthledge 0.9% 34,681
     None Write-in 0% 243
Total Votes 3,729,989

Campaign donors

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Pat Quinn's donors each year.[21] Click [show] for more information.


Quinn owns a home in Chicago's Galewood neighborhood. He is the father of two grown sons, Patrick and David.[1]

Recent news

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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               312-814-2121      

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Pat Quinn biography
  2. Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 11, 2012
  3. Michael Barone and Chuck McCutcheon, The Almanac of American Politics: 2012 "p. 512," accessed 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 United Press International, "Pat Quinn: A man politicians love to hate", February 8, 1980
  5. The Chicago Tribune, "House votes to eliminate lieutenant governor post," April 12, 2013
  6. The State Journal Register, "Quinn against eliminating lieutenant governor post," April 15, 2013
  7. USA Today, "Where each state stands on gun-control legislation," January 14, 2013
  8. "Quinn Tries to Get Wisconsin Jobs, Federal Money for Illinois," Illinois Statehouse News, November 11, 2010
  9. "High-speed rail agreement reached," Illinois Statehouse News, December 23, 2010
  10. "Civil unions to become law in summer — then what?" Illinois Statehouse News, December 1, 2010
  11. "Civil unions gain House passage; medical marijuana, death penalty on hold," Illinois Statehouse News, December 1, 2010
  12. "Dem leaders talk tax hike," Illinois Statehouse News, January 4, 2011
  13. "Gov’s threatened veto of concealed carry may not matter," Illinois Statehouse News, May 3, 2011
  14. The Huffington Post, "Illinois Borrowing Money From Charities To Pay Bills In Budget Crisis," June 28, 2011.
  15. Canadian Business Online "Gov. Quinn: Illinois won't stand in way of health care reform like other states proposing" 22 March, 2010
  16. Progress Illinois "Civic Fed Report Pegs Illinois Deficit At $12.8 Billion" 25 Jan. 2010
  17. Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 11, 2012
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named elect
  19. Chicago Tribune, "Major union snubs Quinn, Hynes in Democratic governor's race", December 12, 2009
  20. [1]
  21. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Rod Blagojevich
Governor of Illinois
January 29, 2009 – Present
Succeeded by