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Not exactly just in…

Friday, Feb 27, 2009

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - A little credit - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 11:55 am:

    Interesting times indeed. Though c’mon SJ-R - did you really “break” this story, or grab it from Rich’s coverage this AM? Would have expected a hat tip at least! Reminds me of a funny Mr. Show episode with David Cross where one reporter is chasing another reporter and trying to get comment from him on the story they are both chasing.

  2. - anon again - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:02 pm:

    Rumor at IDOT TS Director next to go as well as chief of personnel

  3. - former state employee - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:13 pm:

    This is great! He’s an excellent choice….so let’s move on to some of the other huge agencies that are soooooo in need of leadership. Hmmm…DHS, DCFS immediately come to mind.

  4. - Ken - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:13 pm:

    A good thing for the Metro East. A bad thing for Jay Hoffman.

  5. - SpfldJimbo - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:17 pm:

    anon again,

    Those would be two very smart moves, indeed.

  6. - George - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:25 pm:

    “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”

    Not to quibble - I think Hannig is a great choice. But wasn’t Milt Sees a downstater as well?

  7. - Dcred - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:30 pm:

    This isnt good or bad for Jay Hoffman. More a wash. I think most of the GA would say Jay worked with them well (or as best he could) when dealing with the psychoticness of blago. The big winner is Madigan. Now Hannig is going to control stimulus projects and all capital bill projects. There must have been a deal cut behind the scenes with madigan and quinn. Otherwise, I dont understand Quinn empowering Madigan.

  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:32 pm:

    ===Otherwise, I dont understand Quinn empowering Madigan. ===

    Keeping the Prince of Darkness happy is never a bad idea when you’ve got a gigantified budget deficit. Actually, it’s not a bad idea any time.

  9. - polwatcher - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:36 pm:

    Congrats to Gary……..he’ll do a good job and be fair!

  10. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:39 pm:

    Hope he has orders to “fumigate” IDOT as well as spend federal stimulus $. Blago’s folks have got to go if we are ever going to improve.

  11. - 47th Ward - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:40 pm:


    First of all, I think Hannig is a great pick. Second, I think this is a huge blow to Hoffman, who was counting on his IDOT patronage army staying loyal to him and only him. Remember, it’s not enough for the Speaker to win, his opponent must also be destroyed.

  12. - Leave a light on George - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    Hey that was me at anonymous 12:39 pm. Don’t know what happend.

  13. - Here We Go Again - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:04 pm:

    Is Hannig an engineer? I personally feel he is a good pick but I thought Quinn was not going to appoint former Reps or Senators. Why is he not, as Quinn stated, “just another political hack” appointment. Rep Granberg was just a qualified as a lawyer and with his legislative experience to be an agency administrator/director as Rep Hannig.

  14. - Louis Howe - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:16 pm:

    Great Choice!!! Hannig understands budgets and downstate issues. He also is concerned about taxpayers…

  15. - Narcoleptic - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:20 pm:

    Hannig is a class act. Congratulations Gary. You really do deserve it.

  16. - the Patriot - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:26 pm:

    While I agree keeping Master Mike happy is a good move it shows Quinn is just another Madigan Hack. How about appointing someonew who has qualifications other then being a legislator. Now Madigan has control of IDOT. Why don’t we just dismember the legislature appoing Mike Madigan as dictator of Illinois.

    This nonesense about being good for downstate is ridiculous. It is just a way for Mike Madigan to expand his power base.

  17. - lifer - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:29 pm:

    Hannig is a downstater and been a loyal dem they must be rewarding him and boosting his pension. Didn’t Blago fire his brother a few years back?

  18. - Unde rthe Radar - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:31 pm:

    Why remove Milt Sees? He is a good experienced engineer who truly understands the needs of IDOT. He was not a Blago lover! This will hurt the real progress of IDOT and put more politics in the process…….Does Hannig have a skeleton in his closet that could come back to haunt him????

  19. - Ghost - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:38 pm:

    I have underestimated Quinn’s political savvy; briliant choice here. If he keeps making sound appointments like this he may be able to capture the next election on shoe string fundraising.

  20. - wow - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:42 pm:

    so who is in line to fill Hannig’s seat? Those are big shoes and there are a lot of state employee’s in that district.

  21. - Captain Flume - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:50 pm:

    I wound up driving behind Rep. Hannig once on a two-lane highway for about 30 miles. He never once broke 55mph.

    But I think he will be an asset for the state in his new position. I think it’s a good choice by the Governor and a nice way for the Representative to get a bigger pension.

  22. - Charles Carmichael - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:51 pm:

    @ Leave a light on George:

    You are exactly right. There is MUCH corruption still going on at IDOT right now. I am amazed at the bravado or stupidity of certain IDOT admin types. Keep cleaning house Gov. Quinn.

  23. - Ghost - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:58 pm:

    Under the Radar, as goes IDOT so goes Illinois.

    in a financial crisis, where we are looking to jump start our economy with, among other things, heavy spending on road cosntruction, we do not need an engineer who can desing a road, we need somone who can navigate the agency through complicated procurment, legislative and spending issues. Such a leader can then employee good engineers.

  24. - T-villeian - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:06 pm:

    Congrats to Gary Hannig a very good man for the job. Maybe former Mayor Montgomery of Taylorville would be a good candidate for Gary’s old seat.

  25. - Randy Whitmore - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:18 pm:

    The Circuit Clerk of Macoupin County would be a good man for the job

  26. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:26 pm:


    I’ve got an open mind about Hannig, and most reports are good. However, there are a few engineers out there who could design a road (or anything else) AND could navigate a large state agency in a political and financial environment. Don’t believe every stereotype you see or hear, about legislators OR engineers.

  27. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:34 pm:

    Another good t-shirt slogan:

    “Keeping the Prince of Darkness happy is never a bad idea”.

    Well, it’s good as long as there’s a funny picture on the shirt too.

  28. - Here We Go Again - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:10 pm:

    Ghost - just my point, Rep Kurt Granberg could have navigated DNR in a political and financial environment and also hired biologists etc. But, the Governor stated he didn’t want a political hack and appointed someone rightfrom his own office as director and did not give Kurt a chance. I am sure Kurt Granberg would also have liked to reopen the parks closed by Blogojevich and hire employees if he would have been given the okay. It seems the Governor says something for one agency and something different for another. Hopefully, Quinn will not micro manage the agencies and let his directors do their jobs.

  29. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:52 pm:

    Granberg got bounced because he was a midnight appointment by Blago to an agency that Blago had gutted and had expressed contempt for its mission.

  30. - Sporty41 - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:10 pm:

    I have nothing against Representative Hannig.

    That being said Secretary Sees was top notch and seemed to have a good rapport with the GA while also having a strong handle on the business side. I wonder if he will be shown the door completely or will be retained in an advisor role?

  31. - Road dog - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:20 pm:

    Hey, I think Milt is a nice guy but he cast his lot with the Blago bunch and had to go. A new broom sweeps clean. I hope the new secretary sweeps all the hacks and blago appointees out and returns IDOT to the professionalism it once had prior to Blago, especially in southern illinois and those who were in on the traffic safety move debacle.

  32. - honesty in government - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 5:53 pm:

    Did I hear Bingo. Next should be the Directors AND ESPECIALLY THE dEPUTIES THAT ARE MAKING HUGE SALARIES

  33. - seriously - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 6:28 pm:

    you guys are funny….there were no hacks and state gov’t was soooooo professional before Blago…please!

  34. - Anon - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 6:36 pm:

    I hope Sec. Hannig takes a very large broom with him to IDOT with a special sweeping in the corners housing Jay Hoffman’s golfing buddies with emphasis on those that can’t manage their own business or get a college degree.

  35. - 2ConfusedCrew - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 7:09 pm:

    Let see
    Rules reformed signed
    Honest guy gets IDOT

    Memories of Blagoof & Jomes era are really fading fast
    Congrats to gary

  36. - Same old - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 9:04 pm:

    I am sure Hanning is a great guy but isn’t this just the pot calling the kettle black. What happened to getting qualified people and not just political appointees(I know, that is state govt.). Oh well, SSDD.

  37. - Grasso1 - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 9:13 pm:

    Blago fired his brother from IDOC, but they relized what they had done and hired him at IDOT.

  38. - eastern illinoisan - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 9:28 pm:

    I agree with some of the other posters, this is incongruous given what Quinn said about the need for professionals when it came to DNR. I guess we can have a politico in IDOT but a “professional” elsewhere. I also hope he gets around to getting a few more “professionals” to run agencies such as HFS, DCFS and DHS. If Quinn is really a reformer, then he can’t keep a “jobs for the ward guys” director like Maram at HFS and should get someone who actually has ideas about how to reform our healthcare system. And the alleged reformer governor still seems to have a convicted felon on his payroll in the Gov’s office. I suspect that Quinn is only a reformer at Press conferences, somewhat like his predecessor, though he is likely not involved in pay to play as he isn’t very good at raising money.

  39. - tryingtounderstand - Saturday, Feb 28, 09 @ 1:28 am:

    I think this is funny.
    Most engineers at IDOT hate this democratic adminstration.
    Mainly because the current powers don’t think engineeers are the GODS they think they are.

    Most of the engineers take managers positions because there isn’t a need for as many engineers as they hire.
    We aren’t building roads like we did in the 50’s and 60’s.
    But they would embrace Mr. Sees just because he has an engineering degree.

    I think it’s time to do what’s best for this state.

  40. - anon - Saturday, Feb 28, 09 @ 8:02 am:

    It’s unfair to call Mike Madigan “the Prince of Darkness.” He is a decent man and has done a lot of good over many years for his constituents. He is not some Devil.

  41. - south sider - Sunday, Mar 1, 09 @ 5:07 pm:

    Gov. Quinn-Hope you get a little closer to home and start looking at the tollroad authority. This is where the action was at in the last 5 years. spent over 4 billion $. All supervised by HNTB Engineers.

  42. - Alexandra - Monday, Mar 2, 09 @ 8:43 pm:

    Give us fresh leadership and management, please, Guv, before construction season begins!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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