Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn was “put on this earth” to solve his state’s problems, he says. And that is exactly what he plans to do beginning in early January.
The governor, and other elected officials, will face two major problems, the decades-old pension crisis, and a critical approach to gambling expansion.
Although Quinn said he believes the issues will be resolved through bipartisan approaches, he already has launched an effort to gain public support for pension reform without discussing it with members of the legislative pension committee.
And as far as gambling is concerned, it seems possible the lawmakers will attempt to override a promised veto of a bill that would authorize the licensing of five casinos and would permit the state’s racetracks to install slot machines.
Although Quinn has indicated he would favor a casino in Chicago, a move that has the strong backing of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, he strongly opposes the bill that easily passed both legislative bodies.
Quinn’s governing style has come under severe criticism. One fellow Democrat, Rep. Jack Franks, was quoted as saying, “I’m embarrassed for him. As a leader, he should be coming up with ideas and meeting with rank and file and all those stake holders to come to an agreement.”
Another, a Republican, said, “He never seems to be able to utilize the leverage he has as governor to get what he wants to get done.”
Yet, faced with the prospects of political opposition from his own party as well as the Republicans, Quinn told the Associated Press last week, “ I know how to compete and don’t underestimate me when it comes to election campaign.
“But, it’s not time for that. It’s time for problem-solving in a bipartisan way, to really put some of these issues behind us in Illinois so we can go forward.”
Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.
Contact Ray at [email protected].