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{{tnr}}'''Milorad Blagojevich,''' (born December 10, 1956) commonly known as '''Rod R. Blagojevich''', is a [[Democratic Party (United States)|Democratic]] politician and the former [[Governor]] the state of [[Illinois]]. Blagojevich previously served as a representative of Chicago, Illinois in the United States Congress. He is the second Serbian American to be elected governor of any state of the United States (George Voinovich from [[Ohio]] was the first).  
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{{retired official submit info}}{{Polinfobox
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|Project =SEO
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|Name = Rod Blagojevich
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|Profile picture =RodBlagojevich.jpg
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|Position = [[Governor of Illinois]]
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|Status = Former officeholder
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|Tenure = January 13, 2003-January 29, 2009
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|Assumed office = 2003
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|Political party = Democratic
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|First elected =2002
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|Prior office =Representative, United States House of Representatives
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|Prior office years =1996-2002
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|Bachelor's =Northwestern University (1979)
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|J.D. =Pepperdine University School of Law (1983)
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|Birthday =December 10, 1956
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|Place of birth =Chicago, Illinois
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|Religion =Eastern Orthodox
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}}{{tnr}}'''Milorad Blagojevich,''' (born December 10, 1956) commonly known as '''Rod R. Blagojevich''', is a [[Democratic Party (United States)|Democratic]] politician and the former [[Governor]] the state of [[Illinois]]. Blagojevich previously served as a representative of Chicago, Illinois in the United States Congress. He is the second Serbian American to be elected governor of any state of the United States (George Voinovich from [[Ohio]] was the first).
  
Blagojevich is married to the former Patricia Mell, daughter of Chicago Alderman Richard Mell. The couple has two daughters, Amy and Anne. Anne was born just months after her father was sworn in as governor. Blagojevich has no middle name, but uses the initial "R" in honor of his late father Radisaz Blagojevich.
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==Biography==
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Blagojevich was born and raised in Chicago's northwest side in a middle-class family. His father was a former Chetnik who immigrated to the United States and found work as a steel plant laborer. He has an older brother, Robert. Blagojevich spent much of his childhood working odd jobs to help the family survive. He was a shoe shiner and pizza delivery boy before working at a meat packing plant. In order to afford college, Blagojevich worked at the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System|Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System as a dishwasher.<ref>[http://san.ba/index.php?id=4531 ''SAN Dnevne Novine,'' "Hercegovac pokušao prodati Obaminu senatorsku funkciju," accessed January 9, 2009]</ref><ref>[''Copley News Service,'' "Three Democrats battle for party's nomination for governor," March 9, 2002]</ref>
  
==Education==
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He graduated from Chicago's Foreman High School after transferring from Lane Technical College Prep High School. After graduation, he enrolled at the University of Tampa because, with his lackluster grades and an ACT of 18 or 19, he could not get into a more prestigious school. After two years, he transferred to Northwestern University in suburban Evanston, Illinois where he obtained his bachelor's degree in 1979. He attended Pepperdine University law school where he obtained his doctorate of jurisprudence in 1983. Upon his return to Chicago, Blagojevich entered the legal profession in the public sector. He served as Cook County Assistant State's Attorney, prosecuting domestic abuse crimes and felony weapons cases.<ref>[http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/232/rod-blagojevich#.UQltWugiioQ ''Project Vote Smart,'' "Rod Blageojevich's Biography," accessed January 30, 2013]</ref>
Blagojevich was born and raised in Chicago's northwest side in a middle-class family. His father was a former Chetnik who immigrated to the United States and found work as a steel plant laborer. He has an older brother, Robert. Blagojevich spent much of his childhood working odd jobs to help the family survive. He was a shoe shiner and pizza delivery boy before working at a meat packing plant. In order to afford college, Blagojevich worked at the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System|Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System as a dishwasher.
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He graduated from Chicago's Foreman High School after transferring from Lane Technical College Prep High School. After graduation, he enrolled at the University of Tampa because, with his lackluster grades and an ACT of 18 or 19, he could not get into a more prestigious school. After two years, he transferred to Northwestern University in suburban Evanston, Illinois where he obtained his bachelor's degree in 1979. He attended Pepperdine University law school where he obtained his doctorate of jurisprudence in 1983. Upon his return to Chicago, Blagojevich entered the legal profession in the public sector. He served as Cook County Assistant State's Attorney, prosecuting domestic abuse crimes and felony weapons cases.
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===Education===
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*Juris Doctor - Pepperdine University School of Law (1983)
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*Bachelor's of Arts - Northwestern University (1979)
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*Foreman High School
  
==Legislator==
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==Political career==
With the backing of his influential father-in-law, alderman Richard Mell, Blagojevich ran for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly and won in 1992. Most of his legislative accomplishments centered on crime and justice issues. He took from his experiences as a prosecutor to pass laws that he argued would strengthen the state's judicial system and cut down on crime.
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===Governor of Illinois (2003-2009)===
  
The Fifth Congressional District, in which Blagojevich lived, had long been represented by powerful Chicago Congressman Daniel Rostenkowski, who served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. However, following his loss in 1994 (Rostenkowski pled guilty to mail fraud), the overwhelmingly Democratic district was represented by Republican Michael Patrick Flanagan.  
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Following his arrest on charges of an attempt to sell the vacant [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] seat, and after an entrenched public relations campaign, Blagojevich was impeached on January 8, 2009 and removed from office on January 29, 2009.
  
However, in 1996, Blagojevich defeated Flanagan with support from his father-in-law, and served three terms in the United States House of Representatives. (Following Blagojevich's election as governor, the Fifth District elected former Clinton aide and 1992 financial chief Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel was chosen to head the DCCC for the 2006 election cycle.)
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===Issues===
 
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After the 2002 elections, Democrats had control of the Illinois House, Senate, and all but one statewide office. Since taking office, Blagojevich signed numerous pieces of progressive legislation such as ethics reform, death penalty reform, a state Earned Income Tax Credit, and expansions of health programs like KidCare and FamilyCare. Blagojevich signed a bill in 2005 that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit.  
In Congress, Blagojevich continued to champion anti-crime measures, especially gun control legislation. In general, though, he was not known as a particularly active Congressman. Blagojevich was thrust into international prominence in the late 1990s when he traveled with Jesse Jackson to Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia to negotiate the release of American prisoners of war with president Slobodan Milošević.
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On October 10, 2002, Rod Blagojevich was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
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==2002 Gubernatorial election==
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In 2002, Blagojevich ran for his party's nomination to become governor. Blagojevich won a close primary campaign against former Illinois Attorney General [[SunshineReview:Roland Burris|Roland Burris]], whose base was largely African-American voters, and Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas, who ran strong in the suburban "collar" counties of Chicago. Blagojevich won the primary largely by dominating the downstate Illinois (i.e., outside Chicago and the collar counties) vote.
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In the general election, Blagojevich defeated Republican [[Illinois Attorney General]] Jim Ryan handily (Ryan chose to run for Governor instead of running again for the Attorney General position, which is now held by [[Illinois Attorney General - Lisa Madigan|Lisa Madigan]]). Ethics scandals had plagued the previous administration of Republican George Ryan (no relation to Jim), and Blagojevich's campaign focused on the theme of "ending business as usual" in state government.
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==Gubernatorial administration==
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After the 2002 elections, Democrats had control of the Illinois House, Senate, and all but one statewide office. Since taking office, Blagojevich has signed numerous pieces of progressive legislation such as ethics reform, death penalty reform, a state Earned Income Tax Credit, and expansions of health programs like KidCare and FamilyCare. Blagojevich signed a bill in 2005 that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit.  
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*'''Death penalty'''
 
Shortly after taking office in 2003, Blagojevich continued support of a "moratorium" on executions of Death Row inmates, even though no such executions are likely to occur for years (his predecessor, George Ryan, commuted all of the death sentences in the state shortly before leaving office in 2003). This support continued through his administration.
 
Shortly after taking office in 2003, Blagojevich continued support of a "moratorium" on executions of Death Row inmates, even though no such executions are likely to occur for years (his predecessor, George Ryan, commuted all of the death sentences in the state shortly before leaving office in 2003). This support continued through his administration.
  
Other notable actions of his term included a strict new ethics law and a comprehensive death penalty reform bill that was written by [[President of the United States|now-U.S. President]] [[Barack Obama]] (when he was serving as an Illinois State Senator), and the late U.S. Sen. Paul M. Simon.
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*'''Gun Control'''
 
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Blagojevich was a long time supporter of gun control. He tried to raise the price of an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card from $5.00 to $500.00, saying that such a large increase was necessary so people would think twice about wanting to own a gun. Blagojevich vetoed 3 gun bills in 2005, which would have:
Despite an annual budget crunch, Blagojevich oversaw an increase in funding for health care and education every year without raising general sales or income taxes. He was, however, criticized by Republicans and many moderate Democrats for failing to adequately fund the state pension system. On 10 January 2006, Blagojevich announced a proposal for a new three billion (US) Dollar spending plan for Illinois roads, mass transit, and schools, to be paid for by increased tax revenue and new gambling proposals (such as Keno and Lottery games). The proposal met with immediate opposition by members of the Republican Party in Illinois and many Democrats, who view it as "an election year ploy." The suggestion to legalize Keno within Illinois was later withdrawn.
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Another early 2006 proposal included "universal preschool" for all three and four year old children in Illinois.  Legislation authorizing the program was adopted as part of the fiscal 2007 budget.
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Governor Blagojevich was a long time supporter of gun control. He tried to raise the price of an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card from $5.00 to $500.00, saying that such a large increase was necessary so people would think twice about wanting to own a gun. Blagojevich vetoed 3 gun bills in 2005, which would have:
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# Eliminated the police database of gun purchases
 
# Eliminated the police database of gun purchases
 
# Eliminated the waiting period for someone wanting to buy a rifle or shotgun, when trading in a previously owned weapon
 
# Eliminated the waiting period for someone wanting to buy a rifle or shotgun, when trading in a previously owned weapon
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In February 2006, in his "State of the State" address, he talked of the need for a state ban on semi-automatic firearms, prompting threats from several gunmakers in the state to leave. Among these were ArmaLite Inc., Rock River Arms, Les Baer Custom and the legendary Springfield Armory.  
 
In February 2006, in his "State of the State" address, he talked of the need for a state ban on semi-automatic firearms, prompting threats from several gunmakers in the state to leave. Among these were ArmaLite Inc., Rock River Arms, Les Baer Custom and the legendary Springfield Armory.  
  
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*'''Safety'''
 
Blagojevich proposed and signed into law a bill that was concerned with making seatbelt enforcement a primary offense (no traffic offense required before being stopped for a seatbelt violation). He also signed a bill allowing the Illinois State Police to operate photo radar on Illinois Tollways in construction zones. He vetoed a bill that would permit trucks to drive 65 mph instead of the current 55 mph.
 
Blagojevich proposed and signed into law a bill that was concerned with making seatbelt enforcement a primary offense (no traffic offense required before being stopped for a seatbelt violation). He also signed a bill allowing the Illinois State Police to operate photo radar on Illinois Tollways in construction zones. He vetoed a bill that would permit trucks to drive 65 mph instead of the current 55 mph.
  
Following his arrest on charges of an attempt to sell the vacant [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] seat, and after an entrenched public relations campaign, Blagojevich was impeached on January 8, 2009 and removed from office on January 29, 2009.  
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*'''Budget'''
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Gov. Blagojevich was criticized for using what his opponents call "gimmicks" to balance the state budget. Republicans have also claimed that he is simply passing the state's fiscal problems on to future generations by borrowing his way to balanced budgets. Indeed, the 2005 state budget called for paying the bills by shortening a state employees' pension fund by $1.2 billion.  
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In May 2003, Blagojevich passed a series of measures aimed at raising revenue from businesses around the state to help balance his budget. Among the new sources were a 10-fold to 20-fold increase to automobile dealer license fees and a measure to make businesses print their own tax forms (and all other state forms).  These measures are considered controversial because they caused a greatly increased financial burden on small business without attracting much public attention [http://dcglobal.webmakerx.net/DCImages/Documents/09June03.pdf].
  
===Criticism, controversies, and scandal===
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*'''Healthcare'''
  
Governor Blagojevich has been criticized by the Illinois State Rifle Association, saying that "Rod should spend more time catching criminals and less time controlling guns." His support for tightening the gun laws of Illinois has earned him the ire of gun owners groups.
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Blagojevich issued a controversial executive order in 2004, requiring pharmacists in the state to dispense any drugs for which a customer had a valid prescription, including "morning after" birth control medication, even if they reject on moral or religious grounds. This order was not well received by some pharmacists (see [http://www.upi.com/HealthBusiness/view.php?StoryID=20060201-033743-9067r],[http://www.comedycentral.com/sitewide/media_player/play.jhtml?itemId=58791]). Blagojevich appeared on ''The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'' to discuss the controversial measure, which was being challenged on the show by state legislator Ron Stephens from Highland in the 102nd District [http://www.ronstephens.com/index.htm].  Blagojevich was interviewed by Jason Jones who repeatedly pretended to be unable to pronounce Blagojevich and simply called him "Governor Smith." This prompted Blagojevich to turn to the camera and ask "Is he teasing me or is that legit?"  Two weeks after the interview, Blagojevich admitted that he was unaware of the nature of the show.[http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/23/illinois.gov.spoof.ap/index.html]
  
Gov. Blagojevich has been criticized for using what his opponents call "gimmicks" to balance the state budget. Republicans have also claimed that he is simply passing the state's fiscal problems on to future generations by borrowing his way to balanced budgets. Indeed, the 2005 state budget called for paying the bills by shortening a state employees' pension fund by $1.2 billion.  
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In October 2005, the State of Illinois had $1.4 billion in overdue medical bills, yet in November 2005, Blagojevich created two new government agencies and signed the All Kids health insurance bill into law. The bill, criticized as Socialist medicine by its opponents, obligates Illinois to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance to every child in the state.
  
In addition, Blagojevich has been criticized for rapidly expanding the role of Illinois State government, despite current difficulties in funding existing programs.
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In spring, 2007, Blagojevich proposed a $7.6 billion dollar tax increase, with proceeds earmarked to provide universal healthcare in Illinois. The plan, a gross receipts tax on businesses, would have been the largest tax increase in state history. When it became apparent that the plan would be defeated, Blagojevich announced that supporters should vote against it. It was defeated by a vote of 107-0. [http://www.lincolncourier.com/story.asp?SID=5920&SEC=8], [http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010071]
  
In May 2003, Blagojevich passed a series of measures aimed at raising revenue from businesses around the state to help balance his budget. Among the new sources were a 10-fold to 20-fold increase to automobile dealer license fees and a measure to make businesses print their own tax forms (and all other state forms). These measures are considered controversial because they caused a greatly increased financial burden on small business without attracting much public attention [http://dcglobal.webmakerx.net/DCImages/Documents/09June03.pdf].
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====Executive Mansion====
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As Governor of Illinois, Blagojevich was entitled to live in the Illinois Executive Mansion, located in the state capital. However, he and his family have opted to remain in Chicago (other governors have also chosen not to reside in the Mansion, usually retaining their residences in other towns). One reason he gave was an unwillingness to move his infant daughter away from home. In the governor's absence, the ''Illinois Times'', a newspaper based in Springfield, held a satirical contest in 2003 for readers to decide how the mansion should be used. Suggestions ranged from using it as a hotel or homeless shelter to converting it to a "house of ill repute."
  
In October 2005, the State of Illinois had $1.4 billion in overdue medical bills, yet in November 2005, Blagojevich created two new government agencies and signed the All Kids health insurance bill into law. The bill, criticized as Socialist medicine by its opponents, obligates Illinois to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance to every child in the state.
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===United States House of Representatives (1996-2002)===
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The Fifth Congressional District, in which Blagojevich lived, had long been represented by powerful Chicago Congressman Daniel Rostenkowski, who served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. However, following his loss in 1994 (Rostenkowski pled guilty to mail fraud), the overwhelmingly Democratic district was represented by Republican Michael Patrick Flanagan.  
  
On December 30, 2005, it was reported that a leasing deal reached for occupants of the remodeled Illinois Tollway oases has come under investigation by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. This is in addition to other investigations in the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Children and Family Services (see [http://www.dailyherald.com/story.asp?id=137371], [http://www.dailyherald.com/news/illinoisstory.asp?id=137738]). Investigations into other programs related to Illinois' Tollway System, specifically the delivery of I-Pass transponders, have also been announced (see [http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-igor26.html]).
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However, in 1996, Blagojevich defeated Flanagan with support from his father-in-law, and served three terms in the United States House of Representatives. (Following Blagojevich's election as governor, the Fifth District elected former Clinton aide and 1992 financial chief Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel was chosen to head the DCCC for the 2006 election cycle.)
  
Blagojevich issued a controversial executive order in 2004, requiring pharmacists in the state to dispense "morning after" birth control medication, even if they reject on moral or religious grounds. This order was not well received by some pharmacists (see [http://www.upi.com/HealthBusiness/view.php?StoryID=20060201-033743-9067r],[http://www.comedycentral.com/sitewide/media_player/play.jhtml?itemId=58791]).
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In Congress, Blagojevich continued to champion anti-crime measures, especially gun control legislation. In general, though, he was not known as a particularly active Congressman. Blagojevich was thrust into international prominence in the late 1990s when he traveled with Jesse Jackson to Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia to negotiate the release of American prisoners of war with president Slobodan Milošević.
  
In early-2006, after the appointment of Claudette Marie Muhammad, chief of protocol of the Nation of Islam to an Illinois anti-discrimination commission, five other members of this commission resigned. Muhammad has distanced herself from statements made by Louis Farrakhan, and Blagojevich has promised to "oversee meaningful dialogue with leaders of the Jewish, black and gay communities." Despite this, the Anti-Discrimination League has been calling for her removal from the state panel. [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/lake/chi-0603100260mar10,1,1021968.story] The resignation or removal of fellow commission member Rick Garcia has also been called for by the Illinois Family Institute, over statements made by Garcia about Francis Cardinal George. [http://www.illinoisfamily.org/news/contentview.asp?c=32336] Republican candidate for Governor Jim Oberweis echoed the call for Garcia's removal or resignation in an e-mail release as part of his campaign for the Illinois Republican gubernatorial nomination. [http://view.exacttarget.com/?ffcb10-fe991072776d067c77-fdfa15757362067d7015727c-fef215797c6d05]
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On October 10, 2002, Rod Blagojevich was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
  
On June 30, 2006, it was revealed that state Attorney General Lisa Madigan had received a letter from United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, stating that Fitzgerald is looking into "very serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud" in the Blagojevich administration, and thanking Madigan  for turning over her office's investigation to the federal authorities.[http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/01/ap/politics/mainD8IISTH00.shtml][http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/news/politics/14942138.htm]
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===Illinois State House of Representatives, District 33 (1992-1996)===
Madigan later stated that she could not endorse Blagojevich because of her office's role in the investigation.[http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/local_story_228185139.html][http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/news/politics/15289626.htm]
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With the backing of his influential father-in-law, alderman Richard Mell, Blagojevich ran for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly and won in 1992. Most of his legislative accomplishments centered on crime and justice issues. He took from his experiences as a prosecutor to pass laws that he argued would strengthen the state's judicial system and cut down on crime.  
  
In September 2006, it was revealed that Blagojevich had accepted a $1,500 check from Mike Ascaridis in 2003, whom the governor described as one of his closest friends.  [http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=local&id=4585992]  The check was given two weeks after Ascaridis' wife, Beverly, received a state job at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  Mrs. Ascaridis received this appointment despite having failed a state hiring exam.  [http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=local&id=4585992] Blagojevich initially asserted that the check was written as a birthday gift to his oldest daughter.  He then later said it was a gift for his younger daughter's christening.  [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/05/AR2006100500857.html] U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/05/AR2006100500857.html] and the FBI [http://cbs2chicago.com/politics/local_story_258190341.html] are investigating the matter.
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==Elections==
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===2006===
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Blagojevich formally launched his 2006 re-election campaign for Governor of Illinois on February 19, 2006 [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0602200172feb20,1,1677391.story]. He defeated challenger Edwin Eisendrath in the Democratic Party primary election on March 21.
  
On October 2, 2006, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a company that contributed close to $120,000 to Blagojevich's 2002 gubernatorial campaign won a no-bid contract. Even though the contract was awarded by the Illinois' Capital Development Board [http://www.cdb.state.il.us/default.shtml], the board still reports to the Governor [http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=local&id=4619388].
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On November 7, he was declared winner in the re-election campaign against challengers Judy Baar Topinka and Rich Whitney.
  
On October 11, 2006, Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin Rezko was indicted for participation in a scheme to obtain kickbacks from investment firms seeking business from the state teachers' pension system.[http://weather.myfoxchicago.com/weather/charging_documents.pdf][http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/custom/newsroom/chi-061011rezko,0,6245665.story?coll=chi-news-hed]
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===2002===
Friends of Blagojevich also accepted a $10,000 campaign contribution from the Elevator Constructors Local 2 PAC fund on July 23, 2003. In return the IUEC received several board positions on the Illinois Elevator Safety Board. In addition, the governor's wife, Patricia Blagojevich was a business partner of indicted fundraiser Antoin Rezko for at least a decade. In 2004, she received over $38,000 in real estate commissions from him.  [http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/local_story_292074251.html]
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In 2002, Blagojevich ran for his party's nomination to become governor. Blagojevich won a close primary campaign against former Illinois Attorney General [[Roland Burris|Roland Burris]], whose base was largely African-American voters, and Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas, who ran strong in the suburban "collar" counties of Chicago. Blagojevich won the primary largely by dominating the downstate Illinois (i.e., outside Chicago and the collar counties) vote.
  
In October 2006, it was revealed that Patricia Blagojevich, a licensed real estate broker, earned $113,700 in commissions from Anita and Amrish Mahajan. The amount was the only commissions earned by Patricia Blagojevich this year. Anita Mahajan owns a urinalysis company that holds a no-bid contract with the state Department of Children and Family Services.  Amrish Mahajan is president of a bank that has two requests pending before state regulators to acquire two out-of-state banks. [http://www.wbbm780.com/pages/115844.php?contentType=4&contentId=230995]
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In the general election, Blagojevich defeated Republican [[Illinois Attorney General]] Jim Ryan handily (Ryan chose to run for Governor instead of running again for the Attorney General position, which is now held by [[Illinois Attorney General - Lisa Madigan|Lisa Madigan]]). Ethics scandals had plagued the previous administration of Republican George Ryan (no relation to Jim), and Blagojevich's campaign focused on the theme of "ending business as usual" in state government.
  
On November 27, 2006, a day after the indictment of lawyer Milberg Weiss, "Friends of Blagojevich" returned a $10,000 contribution his campaign received from Milberg Weiss, records show that Blagojevich has not returned another $40,000 from Melvyn Weiss and other lawyers in Weiss' firm. Weiss paid $5,000 toward lodging, meals and entertainment for Blagojevich and others with him during the December 2003 trip to New York. [http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/150442,CST-NWS-pension27.article]
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==Controversies==
  
In spring, 2007, Blagojevich proposed a $7.6 billion dollar tax increase, with proceeds earmarked to provide universal healthcare in Illinois. The plan, a gross receipts tax on businesses, would have been the largest tax increase in state history. When it became apparent that the plan would be defeated, Blagojevich announced that supporters should vote against it. It was defeated by a vote of 107-0. [http://www.lincolncourier.com/story.asp?SID=5920&SEC=8], [http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010071]
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===Feud===
  
====Federal arrest and corruption charges====
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A major event of 2005 was Blagojevich's feud with his father-in-law, Richard Mell. The feud went public when Blagojevich shut down a landfill owned by a distant cousin of Patti Blagojevich for environmental problems and it was revealed that Mell had served as an advisor to the cousin. Legislation was eventually passed giving the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency more authority over landfills and preventing relatives of top Illinois officials from owning landfills.
  
Blagojevich was accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, as well as soliciting bribes to fill the Illinois Senate seat vacated when Obama was elected president. On December 9, 2008, at 6:15 a.m., FBI special agents arrested Blagojevich and his chief of staff, [[John F. Harris]].<ref>[http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-blagojevich-harris-13dec13,0,7613958.story "Blagojevich co-defendant resigns post," ''Chicago Tribute'', December 13, 2008]</ref>
+
Regarding his decision to shut down the landfill despite the fact the landfill was owned by a relative, he said, "This is the kind of thing that I think frankly separates the men from the boys in leadership.  Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that knowing what's coming your way?  I say I do."  This remark was both ridiculed as an undignified comment for a governor as well as criticized for being sexist. [http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/local_story_138131737.html]
  
U.S. Attorney [[Judgepedia:Patrick Fitzgerald|Patrick Fitzgerald]] charged Blagojevich with several offenses, including mail fraud and wire fraud, and attempting to sell Obama's vacant [[U.S. Senate]] seat for personal financial and influential gain.
+
In June, Mell served as honorary co-chairman of an event for state Representative Jack Franks, a longtime Blagojevich critic.  
 +
Blagojevich's [[Lieutenant Governor]] was [[Pat Quinn]], with whom he had a sour relationship after taking office. Quinn and Blagojevich publicly disputed the latter's proposed "Gross Receipts Tax" to increase revenue for schools and other projects within Illinois.
  
On January 8, 2009, the [[Illinois House of Representatives]] voted to impeach Blagojevich by a 114–1 vote on the grounds of corruption and misconduct in office. He was then convicted and removed from office by the [[Illinois State Senate]] with a unanimous 59–0 vote on January 29, 2009. The state senate appointed [[Pat Quinn]] (D) in his stead. Before Blagojevich left office, he appointed former Illinois Attorney General [[SunshineReview:Roland Burris|Roland Burris]]
+
===2006 re-election===
 +
During 2005-2006, he served as Federal Liaison for the Democratic Governors Association. Numerous scandals brought the Governor's approval rating as low as 36%, with 56% "disapproving" near the end of 2005 [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=eb952d0f-9d58-4c0f-9933-a9da05b7e78e] The most recent polling has his approval rating at 38% with 59% dissaproving. [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=1ef045f0-538c-4989-9806-84a33c9a522b]  
  
After a year and a half, Blagojevich's trial in the [[Judgepedia:Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals|Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals]] began June 3, 2010 and is expected to last six months.<ref>[http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/blagojevich/2390562,blagojevich-case-timeline-061410.article "Blagojevich case timeline," ''Chicago Sun-Times'', June 14, 2010]</ref>
+
By early-2006, five Republicans ran in the primary for the right to challenge him in the general election, with state treasurer [[Judy Baar Topinka]] eventually winning the nomination.
  
==Daily Show appearance==
+
===Federal arrest and corruption charges===
  
In early-February 2006, Blagojevich appeared on ''The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'' to discuss his executive order that pharmacists must dispense any drugs for which a customer had a valid prescription, including birth control pills and Levonorgestrel. This controversial measure was being challenged on the show by state legislator Ron Stephens from Highland in the 102nd District [http://www.ronstephens.com/index.htm].  Blagojevich was interviewed by Jason Jones who repeatedly pretended to be unable to pronounce Blagojevich and simply called him "Governor Smith". This prompted Blagojevich to turn to the camera and ask "Is he teasing me or is that legit?"  Two weeks after the interview, Blagojevich admitted that he was unaware of the nature of the show.[http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/23/illinois.gov.spoof.ap/index.html]
+
Blagojevich was accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, as well as soliciting bribes to fill the Illinois Senate seat vacated when Obama was elected president. On December 9, 2008, at 6:15 a.m., FBI special agents arrested Blagojevich and his chief of staff, [[John F. Harris]].<ref>[http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-blagojevich-harris-13dec13,0,7613958.story "Blagojevich co-defendant resigns post," ''Chicago Tribute'', December 13, 2008]</ref>
  
===Feud===
+
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald charged Blagojevich with several offenses, including mail fraud and wire fraud, and attempting to sell Obama's vacant [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] seat for personal financial and influential gain.
  
A major event of 2005 was Blagojevich's feud with his father-in-law, Richard Mell. The feud went public when Blagojevich shut down a landfill owned by a distant cousin of Patti Blagojevich for environmental problems and it was revealed that Mell had served as an advisor to the cousin. Legislation was eventually passed giving the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency more authority over landfills and preventing relatives of top Illinois officials from owning landfills.  
+
On January 8, 2009, the [[Illinois House of Representatives]] voted to impeach Blagojevich by a 114–1 vote on the grounds of corruption and misconduct in office. He was then convicted and removed from office by the [[Illinois State Senate]] with a unanimous 59–0 vote on January 29, 2009. The state senate appointed [[Pat Quinn]] (D) in his stead. Before Blagojevich left office, he appointed former Illinois Attorney General [[Roland Burris|Roland Burris]].
  
Regarding his decision to shut down the landfill despite the fact the landfill was owned by a relative, he said, "This is the kind of thing that I think frankly separates the men from the boys in leadership.  Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that knowing what's coming your way?  I say I do."  This remark was both ridiculed as an undignified comment for a governor as well as criticized for being sexist. [http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/local_story_138131737.html]
+
After a year and a half, Blagojevich's trial in the [[Judgepedia:Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals|Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals]] began June 3, 2010.<ref>[http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/blagojevich/2390562,blagojevich-case-timeline-061410.article "Blagojevich case timeline," ''Chicago Sun-Times'', June 14, 2010]</ref>
  
In June, Mell served as honorary co-chairman of an event for state Representative Jack Franks, a longtime Blagojevich critic.
+
It was expected to last six months, however, on July 21, 2010 Blagojevich's attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, ended the 19-month saga with the words: “At this time the defendant Rod Blagojevich rests.
Blagojevich's [[Lieutenant Governor]] is [[Pat Quinn]], with whom he has had a sour relationship since taking office. Most recently, Quinn and Blagojevich have publicly disputed the latter's proposed "Gross Receipts Tax" to increase revenue for schools and other projects within Illinois.
+
  
==2006 re-election==
+
Trial observers and the prosecution were surprised at this as Blagojevich’s defense team had told the 18 jurors Blagojevich would be taking the stand in his own defense.
During 2005-2006, he served as Federal Liaison for the Democratic Governors Association. Numerous scandals brought the Governor's approval rating as low as 36%, with 56% "disapproving" near the end of 2005 [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=eb952d0f-9d58-4c0f-9933-a9da05b7e78e] The most recent polling has his approval rating at 38% with 59% dissaproving. [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=1ef045f0-538c-4989-9806-84a33c9a522b]
+
  
By early-2006, five Republicans ran in the primary for the right to challenge him in the general election, with state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka eventually winning the nomination.
+
“It is my decision under advice of counsel (not to testify),” Blagojevich told federal Judge Zagel after the jury was dismissed.
  
Blagojevich formally launched his 2006 re-election campaign for Governor of Illinois on February 19, 2006 [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0602200172feb20,1,1677391.story]. He defeated challenger Edwin Eisendrath in the Democratic Party primary election on March 21.
+
Blagojevich faced more than 400 years in prison if convicted of the more than 20 corruption charges, including racketeering.<ref>[http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/3740/blagojevich-doesnt-take-stand-as-his-defense-rests/ ''Illinois Statehouse News'', "Blagojevich Doesn’t Take Stand as His Defense Rests," July 21, 2010]</ref>
  
On November 7, he was declared winner in the re-election campaign against challengers Judy Baar Topinka and Rich Whitney.
+
==Personal==
 +
Blagojevich is married to the former Patricia Mell, daughter of Chicago Alderman Richard Mell. The couple has two daughters, Amy and Anne. Anne was born just months after her father was sworn in as governor. Blagojevich has no middle name, but uses the initial "R" in honor of his late father Radisaz Blagojevich.<ref>[http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2010/08/milorad.html ''The Chicago Tribune,'' accessed August 3, 2010]}}</ref>
  
==Trivia==
+
==See also==
 
+
*[[Governor of Illinois]]
As Governor of Illinois, Blagojevich is entitled to live in the Illinois Executive Mansion, located in the state capital. However, he and his family have opted to remain in Chicago (other governors have also chosen not to reside in the Mansion, usually retaining their residences in other towns). One reason he gave was an unwillingness to move his infant daughter away from home. In the governor's absence, the ''Illinois Times'', a newspaper based in Springfield, held a satirical contest in 2003 for readers to decide how the mansion should be used. Suggestions ranged from using it as a hotel or homeless shelter to converting it to a "house of ill repute".
+
*[[Pat Quinn]]
 
+
==References==
+
*[http://www.kwqc.com/Global/story.asp?S=4137290&nav=7k7NJ1IJ Il. Gov. creates Office of New Americans Policy and Advocacy]
+
*[http://www.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=1&RecNum=4486 Gov. Blagojevich signs law creating new Illinois Juvenile Justice Department]
+
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
*[http://www.illinois.gov/gov/ Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich] Official state site
+
*[http://www.illinois.gov/gov/ Illinois Governor Official website]
 
*[http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?si=200614&c=417180 Follow the Money - Rod Blagojevich] 2006 campaign contributions
 
*[http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?si=200614&c=417180 Follow the Money - Rod Blagojevich] 2006 campaign contributions
 
*[http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/rod_r_blagojevich/index.html New York Times - Times Topics: Rod Blagojevich] Collected news and commentary
 
*[http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/rod_r_blagojevich/index.html New York Times - Times Topics: Rod Blagojevich] Collected news and commentary
 
*[http://www.ontheissues.org/Rod_Blagojevich.htm On the Issues - Rod Blagojevich] Issue positions and quotes
 
*[http://www.ontheissues.org/Rod_Blagojevich.htm On the Issues - Rod Blagojevich] Issue positions and quotes
*[http://www.vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=BC031097 Project Vote Smart - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich] Profile
+
*[http://www.vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=BC031097 Project Vote Smart - Former Governor Rod R. Blagojevich] Profile
 
*[http://www.rodforillinois.com/ Rod Blagojevich for Illinois] Official campaign site
 
*[http://www.rodforillinois.com/ Rod Blagojevich for Illinois] Official campaign site
 
*[http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/b000518/ Washington Post - Congress Votes Database: Rod Blagojevich] Voting record 1997-2003
 
*[http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/b000518/ Washington Post - Congress Votes Database: Rod Blagojevich] Voting record 1997-2003
 
*[http://herndon1.sdrdc.com/cgi-bin/can_detail/H4IL05031 Federal Election Commission - Rod Blagojevich] Campaign finance reports and data 2001-2002
 
*[http://herndon1.sdrdc.com/cgi-bin/can_detail/H4IL05031 Federal Election Commission - Rod Blagojevich] Campaign finance reports and data 2001-2002
 
*[http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.asp?CID=N00004816&cycle=2002 OpenSecrets.org - Rod Blagojevich] Campaign contributions 2002
 
*[http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.asp?CID=N00004816&cycle=2002 OpenSecrets.org - Rod Blagojevich] Campaign contributions 2002
 +
*[http://www.kwqc.com/Global/story.asp?S=4137290&nav=7k7NJ1IJ Il. Gov. creates Office of New Americans Policy and Advocacy]
 +
*[http://www.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=1&RecNum=4486 Gov. Blagojevich signs law creating new Illinois Juvenile Justice Department]
 +
 +
==References==
 +
{{reflist}}
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{{s-off}}
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{{succession box | before = George Ryan | title = [[Governor of Illinois]] | years = 2003-2009 | after = [[Pat Quinn]]}}
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{{end box}}
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{{governors}}
 
{{illinois}}
 
{{illinois}}
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[[Category:Former Democratic governor]]
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[[Category:Former Illinois governor]]
 
[[Category:Illinois]]
 
[[Category:Illinois]]
[[Category:Governor]]
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[[Category:Democratic Party]]
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[[Category:Former governors]]

Revision as of 07:00, 25 March 2014

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Rod Blagojevich
RodBlagojevich.jpg
Governor of Illinois
Former officeholder
In office
January 13, 2003-January 29, 2009
PartyDemocratic
Elections and appointments
First elected2002
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Representative, United States House of Representatives
1996-2002
Education
Bachelor'sNorthwestern University (1979)
J.D.Pepperdine University School of Law (1983)
Personal
BirthdayDecember 10, 1956
Place of birthChicago, Illinois
ReligionEastern Orthodox
Milorad Blagojevich, (born December 10, 1956) commonly known as Rod R. Blagojevich, is a Democratic politician and the former Governor the state of Illinois. Blagojevich previously served as a representative of Chicago, Illinois in the United States Congress. He is the second Serbian American to be elected governor of any state of the United States (George Voinovich from Ohio was the first).

Biography

Blagojevich was born and raised in Chicago's northwest side in a middle-class family. His father was a former Chetnik who immigrated to the United States and found work as a steel plant laborer. He has an older brother, Robert. Blagojevich spent much of his childhood working odd jobs to help the family survive. He was a shoe shiner and pizza delivery boy before working at a meat packing plant. In order to afford college, Blagojevich worked at the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System|Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System as a dishwasher.[1][2]

He graduated from Chicago's Foreman High School after transferring from Lane Technical College Prep High School. After graduation, he enrolled at the University of Tampa because, with his lackluster grades and an ACT of 18 or 19, he could not get into a more prestigious school. After two years, he transferred to Northwestern University in suburban Evanston, Illinois where he obtained his bachelor's degree in 1979. He attended Pepperdine University law school where he obtained his doctorate of jurisprudence in 1983. Upon his return to Chicago, Blagojevich entered the legal profession in the public sector. He served as Cook County Assistant State's Attorney, prosecuting domestic abuse crimes and felony weapons cases.[3]

Education

  • Juris Doctor - Pepperdine University School of Law (1983)
  • Bachelor's of Arts - Northwestern University (1979)
  • Foreman High School

Political career

Governor of Illinois (2003-2009)

Following his arrest on charges of an attempt to sell the vacant U.S. Senate seat, and after an entrenched public relations campaign, Blagojevich was impeached on January 8, 2009 and removed from office on January 29, 2009.

Issues

After the 2002 elections, Democrats had control of the Illinois House, Senate, and all but one statewide office. Since taking office, Blagojevich signed numerous pieces of progressive legislation such as ethics reform, death penalty reform, a state Earned Income Tax Credit, and expansions of health programs like KidCare and FamilyCare. Blagojevich signed a bill in 2005 that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit.

  • Death penalty

Shortly after taking office in 2003, Blagojevich continued support of a "moratorium" on executions of Death Row inmates, even though no such executions are likely to occur for years (his predecessor, George Ryan, commuted all of the death sentences in the state shortly before leaving office in 2003). This support continued through his administration.

  • Gun Control

Blagojevich was a long time supporter of gun control. He tried to raise the price of an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card from $5.00 to $500.00, saying that such a large increase was necessary so people would think twice about wanting to own a gun. Blagojevich vetoed 3 gun bills in 2005, which would have:

  1. Eliminated the police database of gun purchases
  2. Eliminated the waiting period for someone wanting to buy a rifle or shotgun, when trading in a previously owned weapon
  3. Overridden local laws regulating transport of firearms.

In February 2006, in his "State of the State" address, he talked of the need for a state ban on semi-automatic firearms, prompting threats from several gunmakers in the state to leave. Among these were ArmaLite Inc., Rock River Arms, Les Baer Custom and the legendary Springfield Armory.

  • Safety

Blagojevich proposed and signed into law a bill that was concerned with making seatbelt enforcement a primary offense (no traffic offense required before being stopped for a seatbelt violation). He also signed a bill allowing the Illinois State Police to operate photo radar on Illinois Tollways in construction zones. He vetoed a bill that would permit trucks to drive 65 mph instead of the current 55 mph.

  • Budget

Gov. Blagojevich was criticized for using what his opponents call "gimmicks" to balance the state budget. Republicans have also claimed that he is simply passing the state's fiscal problems on to future generations by borrowing his way to balanced budgets. Indeed, the 2005 state budget called for paying the bills by shortening a state employees' pension fund by $1.2 billion. In May 2003, Blagojevich passed a series of measures aimed at raising revenue from businesses around the state to help balance his budget. Among the new sources were a 10-fold to 20-fold increase to automobile dealer license fees and a measure to make businesses print their own tax forms (and all other state forms). These measures are considered controversial because they caused a greatly increased financial burden on small business without attracting much public attention [1].

  • Healthcare

Blagojevich issued a controversial executive order in 2004, requiring pharmacists in the state to dispense any drugs for which a customer had a valid prescription, including "morning after" birth control medication, even if they reject on moral or religious grounds. This order was not well received by some pharmacists (see [2],[3]). Blagojevich appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss the controversial measure, which was being challenged on the show by state legislator Ron Stephens from Highland in the 102nd District [4]. Blagojevich was interviewed by Jason Jones who repeatedly pretended to be unable to pronounce Blagojevich and simply called him "Governor Smith." This prompted Blagojevich to turn to the camera and ask "Is he teasing me or is that legit?" Two weeks after the interview, Blagojevich admitted that he was unaware of the nature of the show.[5]

In October 2005, the State of Illinois had $1.4 billion in overdue medical bills, yet in November 2005, Blagojevich created two new government agencies and signed the All Kids health insurance bill into law. The bill, criticized as Socialist medicine by its opponents, obligates Illinois to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance to every child in the state.

In spring, 2007, Blagojevich proposed a $7.6 billion dollar tax increase, with proceeds earmarked to provide universal healthcare in Illinois. The plan, a gross receipts tax on businesses, would have been the largest tax increase in state history. When it became apparent that the plan would be defeated, Blagojevich announced that supporters should vote against it. It was defeated by a vote of 107-0. [6], [7]

Executive Mansion

As Governor of Illinois, Blagojevich was entitled to live in the Illinois Executive Mansion, located in the state capital. However, he and his family have opted to remain in Chicago (other governors have also chosen not to reside in the Mansion, usually retaining their residences in other towns). One reason he gave was an unwillingness to move his infant daughter away from home. In the governor's absence, the Illinois Times, a newspaper based in Springfield, held a satirical contest in 2003 for readers to decide how the mansion should be used. Suggestions ranged from using it as a hotel or homeless shelter to converting it to a "house of ill repute."

United States House of Representatives (1996-2002)

The Fifth Congressional District, in which Blagojevich lived, had long been represented by powerful Chicago Congressman Daniel Rostenkowski, who served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. However, following his loss in 1994 (Rostenkowski pled guilty to mail fraud), the overwhelmingly Democratic district was represented by Republican Michael Patrick Flanagan.

However, in 1996, Blagojevich defeated Flanagan with support from his father-in-law, and served three terms in the United States House of Representatives. (Following Blagojevich's election as governor, the Fifth District elected former Clinton aide and 1992 financial chief Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel was chosen to head the DCCC for the 2006 election cycle.)

In Congress, Blagojevich continued to champion anti-crime measures, especially gun control legislation. In general, though, he was not known as a particularly active Congressman. Blagojevich was thrust into international prominence in the late 1990s when he traveled with Jesse Jackson to Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia to negotiate the release of American prisoners of war with president Slobodan Milošević.

On October 10, 2002, Rod Blagojevich was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Illinois State House of Representatives, District 33 (1992-1996)

With the backing of his influential father-in-law, alderman Richard Mell, Blagojevich ran for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly and won in 1992. Most of his legislative accomplishments centered on crime and justice issues. He took from his experiences as a prosecutor to pass laws that he argued would strengthen the state's judicial system and cut down on crime.

Elections

2006

Blagojevich formally launched his 2006 re-election campaign for Governor of Illinois on February 19, 2006 [8]. He defeated challenger Edwin Eisendrath in the Democratic Party primary election on March 21.

On November 7, he was declared winner in the re-election campaign against challengers Judy Baar Topinka and Rich Whitney.

2002

In 2002, Blagojevich ran for his party's nomination to become governor. Blagojevich won a close primary campaign against former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris, whose base was largely African-American voters, and Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas, who ran strong in the suburban "collar" counties of Chicago. Blagojevich won the primary largely by dominating the downstate Illinois (i.e., outside Chicago and the collar counties) vote.

In the general election, Blagojevich defeated Republican Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan handily (Ryan chose to run for Governor instead of running again for the Attorney General position, which is now held by Lisa Madigan). Ethics scandals had plagued the previous administration of Republican George Ryan (no relation to Jim), and Blagojevich's campaign focused on the theme of "ending business as usual" in state government.

Controversies

Feud

A major event of 2005 was Blagojevich's feud with his father-in-law, Richard Mell. The feud went public when Blagojevich shut down a landfill owned by a distant cousin of Patti Blagojevich for environmental problems and it was revealed that Mell had served as an advisor to the cousin. Legislation was eventually passed giving the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency more authority over landfills and preventing relatives of top Illinois officials from owning landfills.

Regarding his decision to shut down the landfill despite the fact the landfill was owned by a relative, he said, "This is the kind of thing that I think frankly separates the men from the boys in leadership. Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that knowing what's coming your way? I say I do." This remark was both ridiculed as an undignified comment for a governor as well as criticized for being sexist. [9]

In June, Mell served as honorary co-chairman of an event for state Representative Jack Franks, a longtime Blagojevich critic. Blagojevich's Lieutenant Governor was Pat Quinn, with whom he had a sour relationship after taking office. Quinn and Blagojevich publicly disputed the latter's proposed "Gross Receipts Tax" to increase revenue for schools and other projects within Illinois.

2006 re-election

During 2005-2006, he served as Federal Liaison for the Democratic Governors Association. Numerous scandals brought the Governor's approval rating as low as 36%, with 56% "disapproving" near the end of 2005 [10] The most recent polling has his approval rating at 38% with 59% dissaproving. [11]

By early-2006, five Republicans ran in the primary for the right to challenge him in the general election, with state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka eventually winning the nomination.

Federal arrest and corruption charges

Blagojevich was accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, as well as soliciting bribes to fill the Illinois Senate seat vacated when Obama was elected president. On December 9, 2008, at 6:15 a.m., FBI special agents arrested Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John F. Harris.[4]

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald charged Blagojevich with several offenses, including mail fraud and wire fraud, and attempting to sell Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat for personal financial and influential gain.

On January 8, 2009, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to impeach Blagojevich by a 114–1 vote on the grounds of corruption and misconduct in office. He was then convicted and removed from office by the Illinois State Senate with a unanimous 59–0 vote on January 29, 2009. The state senate appointed Pat Quinn (D) in his stead. Before Blagojevich left office, he appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris.

After a year and a half, Blagojevich's trial in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals began June 3, 2010.[5]

It was expected to last six months, however, on July 21, 2010 Blagojevich's attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, ended the 19-month saga with the words: “At this time the defendant Rod Blagojevich rests.”

Trial observers and the prosecution were surprised at this as Blagojevich’s defense team had told the 18 jurors Blagojevich would be taking the stand in his own defense.

“It is my decision under advice of counsel (not to testify),” Blagojevich told federal Judge Zagel after the jury was dismissed.

Blagojevich faced more than 400 years in prison if convicted of the more than 20 corruption charges, including racketeering.[6]

Personal

Blagojevich is married to the former Patricia Mell, daughter of Chicago Alderman Richard Mell. The couple has two daughters, Amy and Anne. Anne was born just months after her father was sworn in as governor. Blagojevich has no middle name, but uses the initial "R" in honor of his late father Radisaz Blagojevich.[7]

See also

External links

References

Political offices
Preceded by
George Ryan
Governor of Illinois
2003-2009
Succeeded by
Pat Quinn