* Dear top-level Pat Quinn administration official,
I contacted you last week to ask about rumors that former Rep. Bob Flider would be named as the state’s Agriculture Director. You waved me off the story.
Former state Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, will be named Wednesday director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, an official in the administration of Gov. Pat Quinn said.
Flider has apparently been sitting in cold storage over at Connected Illinois while waiting for the heat to die down over his vote to raise the income tax in the 2011 lame duck session. Flider lost his reelection bid in 2010 after campaigning against a tax hike…
Speaking in October [of 20100, Flider called the income tax hike proposed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn “the absolute last thing we need to be doing” and urged the state to “eliminate waste” and make “hard choices.”
Flider might have been given the Ag spot or another top job after he left office, but Quinn stirred up a huge media controversy by appointing former Rep. Careen Gordon to the llinois Prisoner Review Board. Gordon also lost her 2010 race and then voted for the tax hike. Her appointment came three days after that vote. Quinn then waited six months before appointing former Rep Mike Smith to the Educational Labor Relations Board. Smith was another lame duck who voted “Yes” to raise the income tax.
* All told, 12 lame duck House members voted for the tax increase. Counting Flider, five have now received public payroll jobs (Gordon, Smith, John O’Sullivan, Michael Carberry). The husband of former Rep. Betsy Hannig is now Quinn’s legislative director, but that’s not exactly connected. Quinn needed Hannig a whole lot more than Hannig needed Quinn.
*** UPDATE 1 *** I missed one, so it’s six of the twelve, not five. Thanks to a commenter for pointing out that former Rep. David Miller was hired by IDPH.
*** UPDATE 2 *** The governor’s office asked if I would pretty please post these nice things people are saying about Flider. Here you go…
“Bob Flider worked well in the agricultural arena when he served in the General Assembly and on the House Agriculture committee. Bob’s door was always open and we look forward to working with him in his new role as Director of the Department of Agriculture,” said Philip Nelson, President of the Illinois Farm Bureau. “We look forward to sitting down and addressing the many needs of agriculture with him.”
“The Illinois Soybean Association is pleased to support the appointment of a new director of agriculture who comes from the heart of Illinois soybean production and processing. It’s important for Illinois soybean producers to have a strong leader to help grow animal agriculture, improve crucial transportation infrastructure and lead the industry. We look forward to working with Director Flider on issues that promote a healthy food production system in Illinois.” –Matt Hughes, Illinois Soybean Association chairman from Shirley, Illinois
“Bob has a thorough understanding of the issues facing agriculture and agri-business, and he will be a strong advocate for all the state’s agricultural sectors as Director,” said Chris Olsen, Vice President of Community and Government Affairs at Tate & Lyle.
“Bob has lived most of his life in a rural area and represented a rural district as a state legislator, which makes him very familiar with issues important to farmers,” President and CEO of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives Duane Noland said. “He has also been in public service for a long time. He knows his way around the Capitol as well as the rural areas, so he will be very effective in his new role.”
“Bob was always someone that was supportive and understanding of issues impacting agriculture when he was a member of the General Assembly,” said Jim Kaitschuk, Executive Director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. “He certainly has the knowledge and understanding of the legislative dynamics, as well as how important agriculture is to the viability of Illinois. These tools will be essential in helping him continue his positive relationship with agriculture and working with the many dedicated people in the industry and within the Department.”