Glimpses of Rauner's inauguration day
SPRINGFIELD -- Republican Bruce Rauner's inauguration as Illinois governor Monday brings a new face to a Capitol often full of conflict.
But before reality sets in, there was a party topping off a day of pomp and ceremony. Here are some glimpses.
Rauner's inauguration is the first of a Republican governor in Illinois since 1999, when former Gov. George Ryan was sworn in, everyone was worried about Y2K and "American Beauty" was headed for the Best Picture Oscar. Over the weekend, Rauner and his family held an event at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, a building where Ryan's name is on the cornerstone.
Along with Rauner, Republicans Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti of Wheaton and Comptroller Leslie Munger of Lincolnshire took office Monday, as did Democratic Treasurer Mike Frerichs of Champaign. The only two officials who are repeat performers from 2010 are Democratic Secretary of State Jesse White and Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who also took the oath of office Monday. Republican Judy Baar Topinka was re-elected comptroller but died suddenly last month.
At least three prayers were part of the ceremony, including an invocation by recently appointed Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago Blase Cupich, who knows something about taking on a new job. One of the others was by former Democratic state Sen. James Meeks of Chicago, a minister who is Rauner's pick to lead the Illinois State Board of Education.
In his inauguration speech, Rauner spoke about Keats Manufacturing in Wheeling, which he toured last year. "Back in 1958, Bert and Glenn Keats started a metal stamping company in a storefront on Cicero Avenue in Chicago. Their father had never made it past high school, but both of them made it through college and were eager to start out on their own," Rauner said. Today, their grandsons are feeling the pressure of high taxes and high regulation, Rauner said. "The grandsons of Bert and Glenn Keats tell me they couldn't have started their company in Illinois today."
Rauner's reception after his swearing in was at the Old State Capitol. It's where Abraham Lincoln served in the Illinois House and gave his celebrated House Divided speech. It's also where Obama announced his first bid for president. Dinner followed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Rauner had company among Republicans across the country in picking a country act, Toby Keith, to headline his inaugural concert Monday night. Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia will have Alan Jackson. Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico had Lonestar and Gov.-elect Greg Abbott of Texas will have Lady Antebellum. Blues legend Buddy Guy also performed at Rauner's concert, which replaced the traditional inaugural ball. Tickets were $125, $75 for students and military personnel.
Rauner also had the Boat Drink Caucus, a band of three state lawmakers who named their group after a Jimmy Buffett song. State Rep. Mike Tryon, a Crystal Lake Republican; state Rep. Chad Hays, a Catlin Republican; and state Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, make up the trio.
Rauner's wife, Diana, became the first Illinois first lady in six years, since Patti Blagojevich. Gov. Pat Quinn is single. Rauner has six children.
Even as Rauner's inauguration ceremony was getting underway, Quinn was taking last-minute action to sign a handful of bills and grant clemency to 43 people. In his final moments in office Monday, Quinn signed at least four bills, his staff said in emailed announcements that arrived as late as 12:10 p.m., just as Rauner was about to begin his speech. Among the bills is one regulating ride-sharing services such as Uber that includes minimum insurance requirements, driver background checks and safety provisions.
Paying the bill
Private money paid for the inaugural festivities. The list of donors to Rauner's inaugural and transition committees includes some of the biggest lobbying groups in the state. Giants like the Illinois Hospital Association and Illinois Manufacturers Association each gave up to $100,000. Arlington International Racecourse Chairman Dick Duchossois gave up to $50,000 and the lobbying arms for realtors, beer distributors, State Farm and Walgreens each gave up to $25,000.