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updated: 1/19/2011 4:10 PM

Illinois, Wisconsin governors wager on Bears-Pack

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  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
    AP Photo/Morry Gash File

  • Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

      Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

By Jeff Engelhardt

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn promised jobs in his inauguration speech and the Chicago Bears could help him deliver one with a win Sunday.

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will play for more than a trip to the Super Bowl Sunday as Quinn and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have made a friendly wager in which the loser must volunteer at a food pantry in the winner's state while wearing the opposing team's shirt.

Quinn seemed confident Walker would be the one to make the trip across the border.

"I look forward to hosting Gov. Walker after the Chicago Bears are victorious on Sunday," Quinn said. "I am sure Gov. Walker will look great in blue and orange. Bear down, Chicago Bears."

Suburban food pantries such as Elgin Wayside Center would love to have the presence of such a high profile figure.

"It would bring awareness to the struggles that people are facing nowadays on the street level," said Josh Bray, operations manager at Wayside. "I don't see how it can do anything but benefit the community as a whole to see a politician serving."

The wager comes on the heels of verbal sparring that has started to evolve into a rivalry usually reserved for when the Bears and Packers take the field.

Walker has been critical of the income tax increase Quinn supported, saying it will cause businesses to leave Illinois. He even posted the message "Open for Business" on signs welcoming people into Wisconsin as they cross over its borders.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton has criticized Walker, saying the state tax rate is higher in Wisconsin and businesses such as Talgo Inc. are considering leaving to come to Illinois. Cullerton "complimented" Wisconsin saying it's a great state because "they've got great cheese and lots of people vacation there."

No matter which governor claims the bragging rights, one food pantry is sure to win.

Kay Starostovic, supervisor of Grant Township, said she would be excited to add Gov. Walker to her wonderful volunteers at the food pantry, which is near Fox Lake.

"I would be very happy to open the door to him," Starostovic said. "It would be exciting for the area. We have such a giving community and if he were to come I'm sure he would be invited to meet some of those people who work so hard to help others."

However, Gov. Walker is not convinced he would be the one to make the trip.

"I look forward to hosting Gov. Quinn in Wisconsin after a 28-24 Packer victory," Walker said.