Pat Quinn

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Just a few months ago, it looked as if the scandal surrounding the “Meritorious Good Time Push” prisoner-release program could cost Gov. Pat Quinn a win in the primary election. Under the program, exposed by the Associated Press in December, the Illinois Department of Corrections was awarding prisoners months of early release time for good behavior in the first few days of their sentences, thus returning some violent offenders to the streets after they spent just a few weeks behind bars.

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Pat Quinn is a breath of fresh air after the impeachment and removal of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. While Quinn has revived at least some of the cooperative spirit in the Capitol, GOP Sen. Dave Luechtefeld of Okawville said last month that the expectation was for Quinn to purge agencies of “bad appointments” after a decade of alleged corruption under Blagojevich and former Gov. George Ryan, a convicted felon.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Pat Quinn is no Rod Blagojevich. Most obviously, he’s not just days away from being indicted by federal prosecutors on political corruption charges.

More importantly for the state’s fiscal well-being, Quinn has the courage to remind Illinoisans of a basic truth his disgraced predecessor preferred to ignore: If you want government services, you have to be willing to pay for them.

His critics and supporters alike say Quinn is clean when it comes to funding his campaigns and prioritizing ethics. But some worry more about whether he, as Illinois governor, would work with the legislature and how he would navigate the ship of state
Bethany Jaeger / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The new governor of Illinois once was booed on the House floor. When this magazine last profiled Quinn in 1980, Statehouse insiders described him as a gadfly who persistently challenged the government establishment and grabbed headlines by holding Sunday news conferences (see Illinois Issues, February, 1980, page 4).

Gov. Pat Quinn takes issue with the gadfly stereotype. He cites a number of reforms that he spurred by organizing grassroots movements, all in the name of democracy in the Land of Lincoln.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Pat Quinn, governor of Illinois.

Thirty years ago, the notion that the gadfly populist someday would be the state’s chief executive was laughable.

Traipsing around the state back then on a quixotic mission to change Illinois politics, Quinn was viewed widely as a burr under the saddle of the powers-that-be, but certainly not a serious prospect for high office.

Even after his 1990 election as state treasurer, political insiders still saw Quinn as the quintessential outsider, disliked by many for his role in cutting the size of the Illinois House by one-third.

Question & Answer: Constitutional Convention

Oct 1, 2008
Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

In Illinois, the very first question on the ballot November 4 — even before the question of who shall be president — will ask voters whether Illinois should open up the state Constitution for a potential rewrite.

It’s a choice voters might not get for another 20 years.

The last time they saw that question on the ballot was in 1988, when they rejected the idea by a 3-to-1 margin, with 900,109 voting in favor of a convention and 2,727,144 voting against it. But 1 million other voters skipped the question entirely.