More than Governor Quinn make pledges at inauguration event

12 Jan
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivers his inaugural address after taking the oath of office during inaugural ceremonies Monday, Jan. 10, 2011 in Springfield. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivers his inaugural address after taking the oath of office during inaugural ceremonies Monday, Jan. 10, 2011 in Springfield. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

By Associated Press

Gov. Pat Quinn wasn’t the only state official sworn in Monday in Springfield. Five other Illinois officials—a mix of rookies and veterans, Republicans and Democrats—took the oath of office, too. Here’s a look at them and highlights from their remarks:

— Lieutenant Governor

Sheila Simon, 49, fills an office that has been vacant since Quinn was elevated to the governor’s office. The daughter of former Sen. Paul Simon, himself a former lieutenant governor, she did not initially run for the office. Instead, Democratic insiders picked her for the job after the original nominee dropped out of the race.

Simon’s inaugural speech focused on providing opportunities for young Illinoisans.

“You represent what inspires us to become public servants,” the Carbondale Democrat said to students in the audience. “My goal—our mission—is to pass on a state that’s in better condition than we found it.”

Attorney General

Lisa Madigan, 44, emphasized her role as the “people’s lawyer” in her inaugural speech. Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, has held the office since 2003, and has made consumer protection, foreclosure issues and open government the hallmarks of her tenure.

“You empower me to seek justice on behalf of those who have been wronged,” Madigan said. “They come to us when they’ve lost their son or their daughter is critically ill. They come to us when their government puts secrecy above sunshine. They come to us because they believe that we can help them as we have hundreds of thousands of others.”

— Secretary of State

Jesse White, 76, was sworn in for his fourth term, which he says will be his last. He said he has cleaned up the office after the corrupt administration of former governor and secretary of state George Ryan. White also said that ensuring the safety of Illinois roads is a top priority, noting his success in passing laws such as a ban on texting while driving.

“I was sick and tired of reading and listening to the newspapers report about our teen drivers dying in our roadways,” the Chicago Democrat said.

— Comptroller

Judy Baar Topinka, 66, said she is the first woman in Illinois history to be elected to two different statewide offices. The former state treasurer will now be in charge of paying Illinois’ bills, a huge challenge given the state’s deficit.

She replaces Democrat Dan Hynes, who ran unsuccessfully for governor. One of two Republicans joining what had been an all-Democrat lineup, Topinka said both parties must work together.

“It’s time to fix this state because I am not going away until we do,” she said to a laughing audience. “That should scare you, OK? Our work begins today.”

Treasurer

Dan Rutherford, 55, served for 18 years as a state representative and senator. The Chenoa Republican said he plans to bring a business background to the state’s finances and will be vocal about the state’s financial problems.

“I intend to use this statewide stage and not be an obstructionist to my friends in the Legislature or the executive branch of government,” he said. “But I am not being shy about articulating what I believe is necessary to help the economic standing of this great state of Illinois.”

Rutherford replaces Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. senator.

© 2011 The Associated Press

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