Ill. Lt. Gov. Steps In After Blagojevich Impeachment Pat Quinn has been sworn in as Illinois' new governor, replacing Rod Blagojevich who was ousted on charges of abuse of power. Quinn is considered a reformer and a political maverick, an outsider even in his own party.
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Ill. Lt. Gov. Steps In After Blagojevich Impeachment

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Ill. Lt. Gov. Steps In After Blagojevich Impeachment

Ill. Lt. Gov. Steps In After Blagojevich Impeachment

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Unidentified Woman: I, Patrick Joseph Quinn.

(SOUNDBITE OF SWEARING IN OF GOVERNOR PAT QUINN)

PAT QUINN: Unidentified Woman: Do solemnly swear.

QUINN: Do solemnly swear.

NORRIS: That I will support the Constitution of the United States.

QUINN: Unidentified Woman: And the Constitution of the state of Illinois.

QUINN: And the Constitution of the state of Illinois.

NORRIS: And that I will faithfully discharge.

QUINN: Unidentified Woman: The duties.

QUINN: Unidentified Woman: Of the office of governor.

QUINN: Unidentified Woman: To the best of my ability.

QUINN: Unidentified Woman: Congratulations, Governor Quinn.

QUINN: Thank you very much.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

NORRIS: Quinn is considered a reformer and a political maverick, an outsider even in his own party. When the corruption scandal began, Quinn urged Blagojevich to temporarily step aside. And later he called for his resignation. After taking the oath today, Governor Quinn said the state's ordeal is over.

QUINN: In this moment, our hearts are hurt, and it is very important that all of us understand that we have a duty, a mission to restore the faith of the people of Illinois in the integrity of our government and to make sure that all of our elected officials have the confidence of the voters.

NORRIS: NPR's Cheryl Corley joins us now from Springfield. Cheryl, tell me more about Pat Quinn. What specific credentials does he bring to this office?

CHERYL CORLEY: Now he is the governor. He has served, like I said, in several positions in the city, as a revenue director for the city of Chicago, he served in a Cook County position on the tax appeals board, been the Illinois state treasurer, and lieutenant governor, of course, here in Illinois. And has made a name for himself working with families of the Illinois National Guard and reservists helping members of the armed services.

NORRIS: Cheryl, you noted that he's a political maverick, but is he at all tainted by having run with Governor Blagojevich?

CORLEY: And in 2006, it's interesting that then-Governor Blagojevich said at one point that Patrick Quinn wasn't even a part of his administration. And Pat Quinn has said recently the relationship that they've had has been estranged at best. He said that that they haven't even spoken to each other for about a year.

NORRIS: What are the biggest challenges that he's going to face now as governor?

CORLEY: Well, what he says is the first problem he's going to face is restoring the state's integrity and really making sure that the state has honest government. One of his hugest problems, though, is going to be the state deficit. By some accounts, it's as high as five billion dollars. Apparently Governor Quinn is going to ask the general assembly to push back the annual budget address by a month in order to get some breathing room to work on this problem, but it's something that he has inherited. And the state has a huge stack of unpaid bills that he's going to have to work with other state elected officials here to solve.

NORRIS: Cheryl Corley, thanks so much.

CORLEY: You're quite welcome.

NORRIS: That's NPR's Cheryl Corley speaking to us from Springfield, Illinois.

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