Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
A number of people I talked with had problems staying awake during the inaugural addresses of Governor Quinn and Speaker Madigan last week. Personally I like to listen to the speeches for any clues about their agendas and possible legislation I will be facing.
The closest the Governor came to setting an agenda for the next four years was to say “we will pay our bills” and his highest priority is to create “J-O-B-s.” He spelled out the word for emphasis but as for a plan, all he could suggest was “[t]oday is our giant hour, and nothing less than gianthood will do for all of us in Illinois to confront our awesome challenges.”
Unlike many other governors, Quinn didn’t use his inaugural to talk about specific ideas for recovery, how his administration might make it less costly to do business in the state, or suggest he would streamline government operations. Governor Quinn was more interested in quoting poets and former presidents than in saying something profound that would catch the imagination of a people longing for responsible leadership.
Speaker Madigan, on the other hand, in his inaugural address reviewed a long list of accomplishments of the 96th General Assembly and then tipped his hand (as he rarely does) about his agenda for the next year. He is laser focused on worker compensation reform that arguably is the key to attract more businesses to Illinois and get current ones to expand here. He is also planning education reforms which include making it easier to remove poor teachers from the classroom, and additional state pension reforms.
The speeches were quite a contrast in leadership styles and forced listeners to realize there will be no change in who is setting the direction for our state in the next two years.
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