Gov.-elect Rauner names key advisers, cabinet directors
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner named a Democrat, a former Republican legislator, campaign workers and ex-employees of an Indiana governor to top staff and cabinet positions Saturday.
Rauner, a Republican who will take the oath as the 42nd Illinois governor on Monday, got a jump on areas that were crucial to his successful campaign last fall against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn: the state budget, economy and jobs, education and transportation.
The businessman from Winnetka reached across the party line in naming the Rev. James Meeks as chairman of the State Board of Education. Meeks was an education advocate as a Democratic member of the state Senate and is pastor of the 15,000-member Salem Baptist Church in Chicago.
Rauner's budget director will be Tim Nuding, who's spent 25 years with Senate Republicans and is currently Minority Leader Christine Radogno's chief of staff.
Former GOP Rep. Jeff Mays, president of the Illinois Business Roundtable, will be director of the Department of Employment Security. He served five terms in the House of Representatives.
For the Department of Transportation, which has been criticized for improper hiring under Quinn, Randy Blankenhorn was tabbed as secretary. He has been executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Before that, he was a two-decade IDOT employee.
Rauner previously named Mike Zolnierowicz, his transition committee director, as his chief of staff. Other former Citizens for Rauner campaign staff workers who will continue serving the incoming governor include Richard Goldberg as deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs; Mike Schrimpf as deputy chief of staff for communications; and Aaron Winters, deputy chief of staff for policy.
Jason Barclay, announced in December as general counsel, was legal counsel to former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, whom Rauner wants to emulate. Two others Rauner named - David Wu as director of government transformation and Allie Bovis as deputy press secretary - also served under Daniels.
Contact John O'Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor