* 11:44 am - I told subscribers about this earlier today…
Longtime state Rep. Gary Hannig, D-Litchfield, will be named to lead the Illinois Department of Transportation by Gov. Pat Quinn, fellow lawmakers say today. […]
“He’ll bring his expertise from the House,” [ Sen. Deanna Demuzio, D-Carlinville] said. “I’m very excited. He’s from downstate.”
Hannig, 56, has been in the Illinois House since 1979. He is a deputy majority leader to House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and has been the leading budget expert for House Democrats for years.
“I think it’s a great appointment. He knows the budget and to pick a downstater sends all of the right signals,” said Rep. Jim Watson, R-Jacksonville, whose district is next to Hannig’s. “I think it’s a great pick for the governor and it’s a big loss for the speaker.”
* The Post-Dispatch gives a hat tip in this direction and explains…
Why this matters is, A., the Dept of Transportation is among the most major posts in government, B., Hannig is a downstater from the outer edge of the Metro East, which indicates that maybe Quinn is serious about being governor of the whole state and not just of Chicago, as was his predecessor, impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich; and C., Hannig is a top lieutenant of House Speaker Michael Madigan, with whom Blago warred for years, to the serious detriment of the state. Quinn’s relationship with Madigan is still an open question, but a Hannig appointment would go a long way toward answering it.