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Patrick Joseph Quinn

Assumed office 
January 29, 2009
Lieutenant Vacant
(Attorney General Lisa Madigan next in line of succession)
Preceded by Rod Blagojevich

In office
January 13, 2003 – January 29, 2009
Governor Rod Blagojevich
Preceded by Corinne Wood
Succeeded by Vacant

In office
January 14, 1991 – January 9, 1995
Governor Jim Edgar
Preceded by Jerome Cosentino
Succeeded by Judy Baar Topinka

Born December 16, 1948 ( 1948-12-16) (age 61)
Hinsdale, Illinois
Political party Democratic
Children Patrick Quinn IV, David Quinn
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Alma mater Georgetown University
Northwestern University School of Law
Profession Tax Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

Patrick Joseph "Pat" Quinn III (born December 16, 1948) is the 41st and current Governor of Illinois and a member of the Democratic Party. Quinn became governor of the state of Illinois on January 29, 2009, when the previous governor, Rod Blagojevich, was impeached and removed from office.


Education and personal life

Born in 1948 in Hinsdale, Illinois, Quinn attended the local Catholic grade school, St. Isaac Jogues. He graduated in 1967 from Fenwick High School, a Catholic school in Oak Park, Illinois run by the Dominican Order of Priests[1]. While a student at Fenwick, Quinn was the cross-country team captain and the sports editor of the school newspaper. Quinn went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University in 1971 with a bachelor's degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. After taking a few years off from education, he received a Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1980.[2]

Quinn is divorced and has two sons, Patrick IV and David, born on April 12, 1983, and December 16, 1984, respectively. Both sons, like their father, competed in scholastic sports, specializing in track and field events.[3]

Quinn was briefly a practicing tax attorney before his career in public office.

Political career


Political activism

Before running for public office, Quinn was already involved in political action, serving as an aide to Governor Dan Walker.[1] He was first put on the political map in the late 1970s by leading a petition to amend the 1970 Illinois Constitution with the "Illinois Initiative". This amendment was intended to increase the power of public referendums in the political process and recalls for public officials.[1] The petition drive was successful, but the Illinois Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the Illinois Initiative was an "unconstitutional constitutional amendment," and thus never was presented to voters.[3]

Quinn drew more attention to his causes by holding press conferences on Sundays, seen as a slow news day.[1] While still in law school, Quinn scored his first political success in 1980, earning him the reputation as a reformer on the Illinois political scene. Through his organization named "The Coalition for Political Honesty" he initiated and led the statewide campaign for the Cutback Amendment to the Illinois Constitution, ultimately reducing the size of the Illinois House of Representatives from 177 to 118 members.[3][4] This also earned him some enemies among the state's establishment, since they had fewer seats and possibly less power.[1]

In 1982, Quinn was elected as commissioner of the Cook County Board of Tax Appeals, now known as the Board of Review.[1] During this time, Quinn was instrumental in the creation of the Citizens Utility Board, a consumer watchdog organization. He did not seek re-election in 1986, but waged an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination for Illinois State Treasurer, which was won by Jerome Cosentino. After this defeat, Quinn briefly served in the administration of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington as Revenue Director.[5][6] He was later fired from that position. In a video filmed in 1987, on why he hired him, Washington said, "I was nuts to do it. I must have been blind or staggering. Pat Quinn is a totally and completely undisciplined individual who thinks this government is nothing but a large easel by which he can do his (public relations) work. He almost created a shambles in that department".[7]

Quinn's bid for office was successful in the 1990 election. He was elected Illinois State Treasurer and he served in that position from 1991 to 1995. During this period, he was publicly critical of Illinois Secretary of State and future governor George Ryan. Specifically, he drew attention to special vanity license plates that Ryan's office provided for clout-heavy motorists. This rivalry led Quinn to challenge Republican George Ryan in the 1994 general election for Secretary of State, unsuccessfully.[5]

Quinn then took his aspirations to the national stage. When United States Senator Paul Simon chose not to seek re-election in 1996, Quinn entered the race. Dick Durbin won the Democratic primary and eventually the Senate seat.[8]

Quinn sought the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor in 1998, but was narrowly defeated by Mary Lou Kearns. Quinn did not initially accept the count and charged fraud, but several weeks after the election he declined to ask the Illinois Supreme Court for a recount and endorsed Kearns.

In 1978, Quinn protested an increase in state legislators' salaries by urging citizens to send tea bags to Jim Thompson, then the governor. The tactic was a reference to the Boston Tea Party; Quinn was born on December 16, the anniversary of that event.[9] As Lieutenant Governor, he repeated the tactic in 2006, urging consumers to include a tea bag when paying their electricity bills, to protest rate hikes by Commonwealth Edison.[10]

Lieutenant Governor

Quinn won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor in March 2002 and subsequently won the general election on the Democratic ticket alongside gubernatorial nominee Rod Blagojevich. In Illinois, candidates for lieutenant governor and governor run in separate primary elections, but are conjoined as a single ticket for the general election.[1] This same ticket won re-election in 2006, where Quinn was unopposed in the primary.[3] While lieutenant governor, according to his official biography, his priorities were consumer advocacy, environmental protection, health care, broadband deployment, and veterans' affairs.[11]

On December 14, 2008, when David Gregory asked Quinn on NBC's Meet The Press about his relationship with Blagojevich, he said, "Well, he's a bit isolated. I tried to talk to the governor, but the last time I spoke to him was in August of 2007. I think one of the problems is the governor did sort of seal himself off from all the statewide officials... Attorney General Madigan and myself and many others..."[12] Quinn has stated that his relationship with Blagojevich has been estranged at best, pointing out that Blagojevich officially announced that Quinn was not part of his administration in 2006.[13]

Governor of Illinois

On January 29, 2009 Rod Blagojevich was removed from office by a vote of 59-0 by the Illinois State Senate.[14] Quinn was sworn in as Governor of Illinois, after earlier signing a written oath, at the chambers of the Illinois State House of Representatives by Illinois Supreme Court Associate Justice Anne M. Burke at 5:40 p.m. Central Standard Time.[15]

Unlike Blagojevich, who continue to live in his Ravenswood, Chicago, home while commuting via state plane to Springfield and preferred to execute his gubernatorial duties from within his home and, less commonly, the governor's office in Chicago's Thompson Center, Quinn moved into the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield, saying it would be an honor to live "in the people's house" [16]. Quinn works primarilly from his office in the Illinois State House.


Quinn has announced several "belt-tightening" programs to help curb the economic ailments of Illinois. He has also had meetings with other statewide officers of Illinois, in stark contrast to Rod Blagojevich's seclusion from others. In July 2009, Quinn signed a $29 billion capital bill to provide construction and repair funds for Illinois roads, mass transit, schools, and other public works projects. The capital bill, known as Illinois Jobs Now!, was the first since Governor George H. Ryan's Illinois FIRST plan, which was enacted in the late-1990s.

[17] On July 7, 2009, he for the second time in a week vetoed a budget bill, calling it "out of balance", his plan being to more significantly fix the budget gap in Illinois.[18] In March 2009, Quinn called for a 50 percent increase on income tax for individuals.[19]

Ethics reform

On February 20, 2009, Quinn called for the resignation of US Senator Roland Burris, the man appointed to the United States Senate by Blagojevich to fill the vacant seat created by the resignation of Barack Obama. He changed his position, however, following pressure from prominent African Americans who threatened electoral repercussions.[20]

On March 3, 2009, the Associated Press reported that Quinn had "paid his own expenses" many times as Lieutenant Governor, contradicting Blagojevich's accusations against Quinn.[21][22] As a rule, he either paid his own way, or stayed at "cut rate hotels" (such as Super 8), and never charged the state for his meals.[22][23]

In June, Quinn launched a panel, chaired by Abner Mikva, to investigate unethical practices at the University of Illinois amid fears that the prior investigation would have no clout. The panel is charged with searching the admissions practices, amid reports that the public university is a victim of Illinois corruption.[24]

2010 Election

In the Democratic primary, Quinn defeated State Comptroller Daniel Hynes with 50.4% of the vote.[25] His running mate was Scott Lee Cohen of Chicago, who won a separate primary for lieutenant governor but then bowed out due to allegations about his past.[26]

Electoral history


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Quinn Would Face $2 Billion Budget Gap as Blagojevich Successor". Bloomberg News. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  2. ^ Fenwick High School. "Pat Quinn 1967". 
  3. ^ a b c d Political Base. "Pat Quinn - Issues, Money, Videos". 
  4. ^ Stepanek, Marcia (1980-02-08). "Pat Quinn: a man politicians love to hate". Illinois Periodicals Online. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  5. ^ a b Hawthorne, Michael (2008-12-10). "Pat Quinn waiting in the wings". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  6. ^ Associated Press (2009-01-29). "Biographical information on Quinn". Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  7. ^ Heinzmann, David (2010-01-21). "Hynes uses Harold Washington's words against Quinn". Chicago Tribune.,0,356461.story. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  8. ^ Neal, Steve (1995-12-12). "Outsider Quinn Vows to Look Out for the 'Little Guy'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  9. ^ Selvam, Ashok (April 14, 2009), "Quinn tackles income tax plan, gay marriage during Harper visit", Daily Herald,, retrieved 2010-02-02 
  10. ^ Duncanson, Jon (September 18, 2006). "Quinn Wants Boston Tea Party Revolt Against ComEd". CBS Broadcasting, Inc. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Gregory, David (2008-12-14). "'Meet the Press' transcript for Dec. 14, 2008". MSNBC. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  13. ^ Burton, Cheryl (2008-12-15). "Quinn alters his plan for governor". WLS-TV. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  14. ^ Long, Ray; Rick Pearson (2009-01-30). "Impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been removed from office". Chicago Tribune.,0,5791846.story?page=1. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  15. ^ Illinois Senate Kicks Blagojevich Out of Office, Fox News, January 29, 2009.
  16. ^ McDermott, Kevin; Kari Andren (2009-01-30). "Rod Blagojevich removed from office by unanimous vote of Illinois Senate". St. Louis Today. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  17. ^ Ferkenhoff, Eric (2008-12-16). "Pat Quinn: The Man Who Would Replace Blagojevich". Time.,8599,1866690,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  18. ^ Garcia, Monique (2009-07-08). "Gov. Quinn shifts gears on cutbacks and vetoes budget". Chicago Tribune.,0,5608924.story. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  19. ^ Long, Ray; Ashley Rueff (2009-03-13). "Illinois income tax rate may rise by 50%". Chicago Tribune.,0,7352846.story. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  20. ^ Long, Ray; Ashley Rueff (2009-04-06). "Burris election off the table". Chicago Tribune.,0,6431926.story. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  21. ^ "Ill. Gov Quinn mostly paid his own way," USA Today, March 3, 2009, at 3A, found at USA Today website. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  22. ^ a b John O'Connor, "AP review shows new Ill. governor often paid own travel expenses instead of charging taxpayers, AP and Chicago Tribune, March 3, 2009, found at Chicago Tribune website. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  23. ^ "Report: Quinn eschewed tax dollars for meals, travel," ABC Affiliate WLS-TV, Tuesday, March 03, 2009, found at ABC website. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  24. ^ Malone, Tara; Stacy St. Clair (2009-06-11). "University of Illinois clout: Gov. Pat Quinn gives clout-list panel its marching orders". Chicago Tribune.,0,3135671.story. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  25. ^ "Chicago Tribune - Election Results". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  26. ^ Hawkins, Karen (February 7, 2010). "Dem. lieutenant governor candidate exits Ill. race". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  27. ^ "2007-2008 Illinois Blue Book" (PDF). Illinois General Election November 7, 2006 Summary of General Vote (page 466). Office of Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State. 2007-2008. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  28. ^ a b Illinois Blue Book

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jerome Cosentino
Illinois State Treasurer
1991 – 1995
Succeeded by
Judy Baar Topinka
Preceded by
Corinne Wood
Lieutenant Governor of Illinois
2003 – 2009
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rod Blagojevich
Governor of Illinois
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rod Blagojevich
Democratic nominee for Governor of Illinois
Succeeded by
Current nominee


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