Governor Quinn: Candidate Profile

1st Appellate District (Democratic)

  • Governor Quinn, running for 1st Appellate District

    Governor Quinn, running for 1st Appellate District

Updated 10/9/2014 11:23 AM

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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City: Chicago


Office sought:

1st Appellate District

Age: 65

Family: Two sons.

Occupation: Governor

Education: B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.

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Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.

Elected offices held: Cook County Board of (Tax) Appeals 1982-1986. State Treasurer of Illinois 1991-1995. Lt. Governor of Illinois 2003-2009. Governor of Illinois 2009-present.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.

Questions & Answers

Regarding the governor's role as chief executive officer of the state, what do you consider the key to an effective working relationship between the governor's office and legislative leaders? To what extent is this relationship effective now and to whatever extent it may not be effective, what would you do to improve it?

Communication and respect are important to maintaining an effective working relationship with the legislative leaders. We may not always agree on everything, but overall we work together for the common good. From education reforms that have become a model for the nation, to landmark pension, worker’s compensation, Medicaid and unemployment insurance reforms, to making marriage equality the law of the land, we worked together to get the job done on major issues for the people of Illinois.

If the Supreme Court, strikes down the SB 1 pension reform, what is your Plan B and how will you work with the General Assembly to pass it?

I expect the landmark law I signed to be upheld as constitutional. I worked with legislators in both parties to get the job done on pension reform last year and it is important that the Supreme Court now be heard. We will take the feedback of the court and respond swiftly and appropriately to ensure the state’s finances are secured and protected. I will not support a move to a risky 401(k)-style plan, which would cost billions more dollars up front that the state doesn't have.

As it stands now, the 2011 income tax increase will expire as planned on Jan. 1. Do you think that expiration should be reconsidered? Would you support making the increase permanent or extending it for some period of time? Please be specific about what level of tax increase, if any, you would support.

I cut state spending by more than $5 billion; enacted historic pension reform, overhauled Medicaid and cut waste, fraud and abuse; and enacted many more reforms, consolidations and efficiencies that have saved the state hundreds of millions in addition to raising revenue in 2011. These steps have allowed us to pay down the backlog of bills by $6 billion and today we are closer than ever to a timely 30-day bill cycle. I’ve proposed a balanced budget plan that includes the largest investment in the classroom in Illinois history. This honest, responsible plan will continue paying down our bills; avoid radical cuts to education, public safety and human services; prevent property tax increases; and maintain the state’s income tax rates where they are today. All three credit ratings agencies voiced support for my budget plan, which provides long-term stability to our finances while properly funding our classrooms.


Do you support cuts in state spending? If so, what specifically do you suggest cutting and how will those cuts be sufficient to restore the state's financial health and economic climate?

After inheriting a budget crisis from decades of mismanagement and the worst recession since the Great Depression, I have taken hard but important steps to stabilize the state’s finances. I fought for and enacted a mix of needed budget reductions, reform, and revenue. I cut state spending by more than $5 billion, enacting efficiencies and making tough choices, including closing facilities. I overhauled the Medicaid program and rooted out waste, fraud and abuse, reducing Medicaid spending by more than $3 billion. I signed into law pension reform for new employees, and I enacted comprehensive pension reform that Moody’s credit rating agency said could be the most significant pension reform in the nation. I signed worker’s compensation reform and unemployment insurance reform to make our business climate more attractive, and strengthen our recovery with more growth. I will continue to identify efficiencies and fiscally responsible reductions to the budget wherever possible.

What changes, if any, do you believe the state should make in the area of education? If lawmakers approved the so-called pension cost-shift to local schools, would you sign it or veto it?

We need to continue to deliver stronger education, which is why my five-year blueprint for Illinois includes raising state investment in the classroom to its highest point in Illinois history, helping modernize classrooms across the state and teachers have the resources they need. My plan also includes doubling MAP grant funding to make sure deserving students in need can attend college; expanding dual enrollment and early college programs; and my Birth to Five Initiative, which is based on three keys: access to prenatal care, early learning, and parent support. By contrast, my opponent has presented a Tax Plan that puts an additional $1 million in his own pocket while slashing education funding by an estimated $4 billion. That’s the wrong way to go. I believe that it is critical for our economic competitiveness to properly invest in the classroom and provide every student with access to a quality education.

What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?

Candidate did not respond.

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

Pope Francis.

What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?

My sons, my brothers, and I learned the ethic of service to others from my parents"P.J. and Eileen Quinn.

If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?

I don’t believe in “coulda, shoulda, woulda.”

What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?

History. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?

As Helen Keller once said, there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. The hardest challenges are the most rewarding.