Who am I?

I was sworn in as the 41st Governor of Illinois on January 29, 2009 and won election to a full term in 2010. I have served the people of Illinois for 35 years as both a citizen advocate and public official. I have spent my entire adult life fighting for everyday people and working to improve our state one reform at a time.

As governor, I worked to restore integrity to state government with strong new ethics laws, while making job creation and economic growth his top priority. When I took office during the worst recession since the Great Depression, Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois plant had 200 jobs. Today that same plant employs more than 4,500 workers. Our unemployment rate is also at its lowest point in five and a half years.

After inheriting decades of financial mismanagement in Illinois, I worked to restore fiscal stability by cutting spending to historic lows and enacting major reforms to the pension, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and Medicaid systems. I also have made education a top priority, signing landmark education reform to improve school report cards and set clear benchmarks for teacher evaluations that have served as a model for the nation.

Under my administration, Illinois has moved forward on social justice. I abolished the death penalty, improved nursing home conditions and successfully fought for marriage equality for all Illinois couples.

I was born in Chicago and raised in suburban Hinsdale. I graduated from Northwestern University School of Law and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. I am the proud the father of two sons and lives on the west side of Chicago.

Why am I running?

When I took the oath of office five years ago, Illinois was in a state of emergency: two corrupt governors in a row; the worst recession since the Great Depression; and decades of financial mismanagement. My top priority was to clean things up for the people of Illinois.

Now we all knew that repairing the damage that had been done over decades wouldn't happen overnight. But since that dark moment, we've rebuilt one hard step at a time.

We restored integrity to state government, passing a strong new ethics code, campaign finance reform and a new constitutional amendment to allow voters to recall any governor guilty of corruption.

After 10 years with no infrastructure program in place, we passed the largest construction program in Illinois history. So far, we've built and repaired 7,595 miles of road, 1,311 bridges and 978 schools.

We enacted worker's compensation reform and unemployment insurance reform to save hundreds of millions of dollars. We made Illinois a more welcoming state by embracing full marriage equality. We got the job done on education reform, which has since become a model for the nation.

And unlike my predecessors, we’ve made the tough calls to restore fiscal stability and balance the budget. We cut more than $1 billion in state spending and overhauled our Medicaid program to save taxpayers over $2 billion, all the while preserving the safety net to protect the most vulnerable.

We've turned the corner and Illinois is making a comeback. Our state's unemployment rate is currently at its lowest point in five and a half years. The backlog of bills is going down and the ratings agencies are sending positive signals for the first time in recent memory.

But there's much more work to do.

I am running for a second term to finish the job and reform Illinois for the next generation.

My Goals

When I became Governor, Illinois was headed over a steep financial cliff. We had the worst pension crisis in America; our economy was crashing; our backlog of bills was more than $9 billion; our state was overspending and our revenues didn’t match our expenditures.

Repairing this damage hasn’t been easy, but thanks to the tough decisions and hard work we've undertaken over the past five years, Illinois is making a comeback. My five-year plan for jobs and economic growth ensures we continue to build on our progress. Our three key areas of focus are creating an economy that works for everyone, ensuring all students have access to a quality education, and putting Illinois on a path to long-term fiscal stability.

We’ve passed significant reforms that strengthen our economy and support our businesses including comprehensive pension reform, workers compensation reform and unemployment insurance reform. Jobs are the key to economic growth, and we've seen our economy make a comeback because we're getting the job done.

Unemployment is at its lowest point in more than five years, and today we have the most people employed in our state since February 2009 - the first month of my administration. Further, Illinois was recently ranked #3 in Site Selection Magazine for corporate expansion and we've added 27,000 new businesses since 2009.

This progress is significant, but there’s more work to do. I've heard from businesses that one of the keys to their success is having skilled workers. That’s why our five-year plan includes a tax cut for businesses with job training. This tax cut lowers costs for businesses training workers, making it easier for businesses to create new jobs and ensuring workers have the skills to drive a 21st century economy.

I worked to pass the largest construction program in Illinois history. We’ve built and repaired 1,367 bridges, 7,888 miles of roads and 1,050 schools. This critical work made our structures safer and put thousands of people to work. My five-year plan continues to invest in our state and our people.

Fiscal stability is essential for economic growth. We’ve taken the hard steps to cut spending by more than $5.7 billion, reduced the backlog of bills by $5.7 billion and are well on our way to a timely 30-day payment cycle. Today’s cost of running state government is below 2008 levels. These efforts put us on a course to long-term financial stability and better position us for economic growth.

Finally, the best economic tool a state can have is a quality public education system. I believe that we must properly and equitably invest in our schools. That's why my five-year plan includes the largest investment in education in Illinois history, a game-changing investment in early childhood education and doubles our investment in college scholarships for students in need.

Much work lies ahead, but it's clear that our recovery is strengthening every day. We must build on our progress by continuing to make the tough choices to leave a better, stronger Illinois for future generations.

My DFA Values

As Governor of the Land of Lincoln, I strongly believe in DFA’s values of liberty, security and community.

I believe that if we work together as a community, we can accomplish anything. I witnessed this firsthand during the 11 natural disasters that have hit our state while I’ve been governor. When Washington, Illinois, was devastated by a tornado last November, people from across the state came to provide aid and help rebuild. In the wake of each of these 11 disasters, the people of Illinois banded together without hesitation to help their fellow Illinoisans.

And I believe everyone deserves a fair shake and equal opportunity. That’s why one of my top priorities as Governor has been making Illinois the most welcoming state in the nation. From signing into law the DREAM Act and fighting to raise the minimum wage to proudly ensuring equal rights for all married couples, I believe everyone deserves equal opportunities at success and equal treatment under the law. Everyone in – no one left out.

I also believe that everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care – it’s a fundamental right. That’s why I enacted the largest health care expansion in Illinois history and launched the Illinois Marketplace – GetCoveredIllinois.gov. Through Get Covered, more than 555,000 Illinois residents have signed up for health insurance, and that number continues to grow every day.

My Campaign is People Powered!

Our field program follows my clear mandate for "everyone in, no one out." Initially our program pulled from the 100K self identified Quinn supporters (email list subscribers, past volunteers and donors). We are now also actively reaching out to community groups and allied organizations such as labor, environmentalists and women's health groups to have them activate their volunteer base on our behalf. We are also employing digital organizing strategies to ensure that anyone who engages our social portals and indicates an interest in volunteering gets a phone call from one of our organizers within 72 hours. To ensure that we are being responsive and inclusive of established structures within the communities we are organizing, we have a structure of "Coordinators" and "Captains" who essentially act our political and community brain trust. These valuable volunteers have been identified by the political department as people with the pulse of their community. Our Regional Field Directors talk with them weekly to make sure we are including the appropriate local groups and to get a sense of who is interested in doing field work for the campaign. We are also offering unique professional development opportunities in the form of our internship and fellowship programs. We are recruiting for these programs at community colleges, high schools and through our allied networks.

Voice support

Supporters:

  • Andrae Macapinlac, CA
  • Marc Loveless, IL


About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

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