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Where has Governor Quinn been?


By Brady Cremeens
Illinois News Network

Gov. Pat Quinn has spent about 10 percent of his time in Springfield during the past six months.

The Democrat governor found himself absent from the Illinois capital on all but 19 days since August.

In fact, Chicago has accommodated Quinn seven-times more often than has Springfield.

Illinois News Network learned this after obtaining the governor’s schedule through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

The vast majority of the governor’s time has been spent in the Windy City, where he logged 148 days between Aug. 1 and Feb. 7. Other forays included a three-day trip to Tokyo and a three-day trip to Washington, D.C.

“It is unfortunate that Gov. Quinn, like his predecessor, has not spent more time in the capitol city. There is a regrettable lack of engagement and trust-building with the Legislature,” said Mike Lawrence, former senior policy advisor to Gov. Jim Edgar and past director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

“There is also a lack of interaction with state workers, which contributes to low morale among them and negatively affects the day-to-day management of state government,” he added.

Of the 19 days the governor did spend in Springfield during that same time period, only eight were full days. The others were spent flying in for a short time (an average of fewer than five hours) and then leaving again, usually to Chicago.

More than 20 times Quinn flew from Chicago to an in-state location (a couple were out-of-state, including Milwaukee) and then back to Chicago again in the same day in 2013.

State Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, defends the governor’s scheduling priorities.

“I think Gov. Quinn does a good job of spreading his time around the whole state,” he said. “He spends a lot of time with the folks who make up the families and businesses that are so important to our communities.

“He’s in Springfield when he needs to be, and I think he wants the whole state to know he’s their governor too.”

Quinn’s office declined to comment for this story.

Included in the Springfield legislative sessions that the governor missed was a special session on Dec. 3 when Illinois lawmakers were wrestling with the controversial public pension reform bill.

Quinn signed the bill behind closed doors in a private ceremony in Chicago two days after the law was passed in Springfield.

State House Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg, says that a governor should be involved and in Springfield at least while the Legislature is meeting.

“This governor promised that he’d spend the majority of his time in Springfield,” he said. “That he hasn’t kept that promise is really frustrating.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily important that he lives here while the Legislature isn’t in session, but he should be here when we are. It’s important that he’s engaged as part of the process. So far he hasn’t been.”

Taxpayers fund the maintenance and upkeep of the Executive Mansion in Springfield, where the governor resides while he’s in Springfield. Annually, the bill runs about $500,000.

Red Sam Rackham March 28, 2014 at 08:17 AM
The IL bldg in Chciago is a sort of 2nd state capitol. However as governor, Quinn has proven himself to be a total fool/jackass/A-hole totally out of touch with the people who voted him into office after he succeeded a certain ex-Gov now in Club Fed. He's raised taxes with a "temporary" scam, shut down many vital services to save money and taken free meter parking away from folks (including veterans) with disabilities. He also ignored public opinion when signing legislation to abolish death penalty in IL. He's a jerk who should be voted out of office ASAP. I voted against him in the recent DEM primary and will vote for his opponent in November. Say what you will about Rauner, but I'd vote for ANYONE running against Quinn. However I fear the sheeple of IL will probably re-elect the fool. ♣
marty munns March 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM
He has been lying about the "temporary" 5% state income tax. He said it would go back to 3 3/4 rate in January but we all knew it was a bold face lie. Pinocchio has to go!
Sohan L. Khungar March 28, 2014 at 10:39 PM
Bring jobs by encouraging new businesses, expanding existing ones, encourage R&D, internships for students and teachers, give incentives for hiring, particularly the unemployed, encourage home ownership, energy conservation, incentives to get off the vices, like drugs. Convert firearms to ploughs and high tech tools, cars and robots. These will all add revenues and taxes, and we could go back to the good old days of 2 or 3% state income tax. Look at the states with zero state income tax: WA, TX, FL, Arizona, NM, Oegon and others: they are all pro-business, which means more jobs and sales/excise taxes. I hate going to Chicago to pay outrageous parking fees. No such problem in beautiful suburbs like Oakbrook. Bring more jobs to suburbs and the country side. Give incentives to farmers. Why are more ag businesses in Iowa, WI and MN than in IL? I want to start a business which in 3-5 years could add as many as 100 jobs. I went to my village: no incentives! Wyming is giving us "no taxes for 10 years". Wake up IL politicians!
J. Geoff Rove April 10, 2014 at 09:01 PM
"There is also a lack of interaction with state workers, which contributes to low morale among them and negatively affects the day-to-day management of state government,” Please, at least the Ryan Cronnies are OUT. Only new TOLLROADS around here during 26 YEARS of Thompson, Edgar, Ryan gang.
jim April 10, 2014 at 09:11 PM
@Sohan the days of 2 or 3% are long gone. Look for property taxes to take a big jump over next 5 to 10 years to pay for the pension mess and the politic ans that think money grows on trees ( they see a leaf and think its a dollar)

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