Pat Quinn (Former governor of Illinois)

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Pat Quinn
Governor 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
Campaign $$27,122,201
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
Personal website
Campaign 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 is set to run for his second full term as governor in 2014. According to race ratings released by Governing Politics and analyst Larry Sabato's "Crystal Ball," Quinn is among the incumbents considered most vulnerable to losing re-election heading into the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle.[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.


Pension reform

During the July 2013 legislative session, Quinn announced that Illinois state lawmakers would not be receiving another paycheck until the legislature found a fix to the growing debt from the public employee pension plan. The day before Quinn's announcement, the Illinois General Assembly ignored a deadline put forth by Quinn to pass the bill on pension reform. At that time, the state's debt from the pension plan had reached $100 billion because of "high borrowing costs, low credit ratings, and money being squeezed from social services." Quinn used his line-item veto power on a budget bill to eliminate lawmakers' pay for August 1st from the budget. Quinn's veto would trim $13.8 million from the budget by eliminating salaries and stipends for state lawmakers. Quinn voluntarily suspended his own pay until a deal could be reached. Judy Baar Topinka, the state comptroller, questioned the legality of Quinn's budget cut. She promised to complete a legal review on Quinn's action before the scheduled date that lawmakers were supposed to receive their paychecks. Rep. Mike Smiddy (D) and other lawmakers were not surprised by Quinn's action, and had known for weeks that this could happen if the legislature did not find a solution to the pension debt problem. Quinn expressed hope that this act would force state lawmakers to resolve the problem quickly.[5][6][7]

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.[8] 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.”[9]

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.[10]

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 was openly courting Talgo Inc., which was slated to build Wisconsin’s high speed rail cars.

Illinois received $1.2 billion in federal stimulus dollars earlier in 2010 to install high speed rail-lines across the state. Instead, Illinois planned to use the money to improve the lines that run from Chicago to St. Louis and install lines from 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 became unclear.

Quinn said that Illinois would be happy to take the extra federal money if Wisconsin refused 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.”[11]

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 agreed on a deal that allowed federal funds to start flowing to the state. IDOT would administer the funds and Amtrak would be responsible for the running the trains. Union Pacific Railroad owns the track that the trains would 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.[12]

Civil unions

Gov. Quinn promised to sign legislation to legalize civil unions as soon as it landed on his desk. The law went into effect on June 1, 2011.[13]

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.”[14]

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 advocated for a hike of at least 1 percent.

Senate President John Cullerton said the House was 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 hesitated to support any tax increase without concessions from Quinn and legislative Democrats. State Rep Jil Tracy said while there had been talk of Medicaid, workers' comp and education reform, talk wouldn't 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 wanted GOP votes as a shield against angry voters.[15]

Concealed carry

In May 2011, Gov. 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 could 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 be 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 worked 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 hoped that would be 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 wouldn't matter what the governor chose to do with the legislation if there were not 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."[16]

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.[17]

Health care reform

The day after the United States House of Representatives narrowly passed the Senate reconciliation bill on health care reform, Governor 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 stood at $12.8 billion at the time. [18] [19]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Quinn was ranked number 30. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[20][21]

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 ran for re-election in 2014.[22] 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.[23]The general election took place November 4, 2014.

2014 Hypothetical match-up polls

Between November 26-28, 2012 Public Policy Polling surveyed 500 registered Illinois voters through live telephone interviews. The respondents were given a series of hypothetical match-ups between Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn and three potential Republican candidates, and asked which of the two candidates they would vote for in the 2014 election. The margin of error is +/- 4.4%. [24]

Hypothetical match-ups for Governor of Illinois
Kirk DillardDan RutherfordAaron Schock
Percent of the vote44%43%39%
Pat Quinn's percent of the vote37%39%40%


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.[25]

Quinn's competition in the February 2, 2010 Democratic Party primary was Illinois State Comptroller Dan Hynes.[26] 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[27].

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

Comprehensive donor information for Quinn is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Quinn raised a total of $27,122,201 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 8, 2013.[28]

Pat Quinn (Former governor of Illinois)'s Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor of Illinois Not up for election $1,597,763
2010 Governor of Illinois Won $24,000,701
2008 Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Not up for election $386,851
2006 Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Won $238,161
2004 Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Not up for election $199,086
2002 Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Won $589,835
1998 Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Defeated $109,804
Grand Total Raised $27,122,201


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.[29] 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. "Chicago Tribune", "Quinn hits lawmakers 'in the wallet' as pension dispute simmers," July 11, 2013
  6. "Huffington Post", "Pat Quinn Pay Freeze: Lawmakers React After Illinois Governor Pulls Harsh -- And Maybe Illegal -- Move ," July 11, 2013
  7. "New York Times", "Illinois: Lawmakers May Miss Payday," July 11, 2013
  8. The Chicago Tribune, "House votes to eliminate lieutenant governor post," April 12, 2013
  9. The State Journal Register, "Quinn against eliminating lieutenant governor post," April 15, 2013
  10. USA Today, "Where each state stands on gun-control legislation," January 14, 2013
  11. "Quinn Tries to Get Wisconsin Jobs, Federal Money for Illinois," Illinois Statehouse News, November 11, 2010
  12. "High-speed rail agreement reached," Illinois Statehouse News, December 23, 2010
  13. "Civil unions to become law in summer — then what?" Illinois Statehouse News, December 1, 2010
  14. "Civil unions gain House passage; medical marijuana, death penalty on hold," Illinois Statehouse News, December 1, 2010
  15. "Dem leaders talk tax hike," Illinois Statehouse News, January 4, 2011
  16. "Gov’s threatened veto of concealed carry may not matter," Illinois Statehouse News, May 3, 2011
  17. The Huffington Post, "Illinois Borrowing Money From Charities To Pay Bills In Budget Crisis," June 28, 2011.
  18. Canadian Business Online "Gov. Quinn: Illinois won't stand in way of health care reform like other states proposing" 22 March, 2010
  19. Progress Illinois "Civic Fed Report Pegs Illinois Deficit At $12.8 Billion" 25 Jan. 2010
  20. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  21. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  22. Quinn for Illinois Official Campaign Website, "Home," accessed June 11, 2013
  23. Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 11, 2012
  24. Public Policy Polling, "Quinn in deep trouble, Dems favor Madigan," November 29, 2012
  25. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named elect
  26. Chicago Tribune, "Major union snubs Quinn, Hynes in Democratic governor's race", December 12, 2009
  27. [1]
  28. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Pat Quinn," accessed July 8, 2013
  29. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Rod Blagojevich
Governor of Illinois
January 29, 2009 – Present
Succeeded by