* That’s a lot of cabbage…
As Gov. Pat Quinn heads toward a showdown at the polls Tuesday against Republican state Sen. Bill Brady, he has spent much of October announcing construction projects he says could create more than 100,000 jobs.
The running total for the amount Quinn has announced in October stands at $472 million, ranging from a new school in Carterville to a new rail station in Moline.
Most of these programs Quinn has “announced” are already on the books, and have been so for more than a year. But the Republicans knew full well that Quinn would use these projects when they agreed to the proposal. Why? Because they’re using them, too. Even Bill Brady has appeared at some ribbon-cutting events, including one at the Bloomington-Normal Amtrak station.
And it’s not just state money the governor is handing out…
In addition to state construction money, Quinn also has highlighted more than $300 million in federal spending heading to Illinois that will pay for projects ranging from the clean-up of the Waukegan harbor to improving passenger rail service in Chicago and northwestern Illinois.
* Chuck Sweeny rode along with Quinn on one of those state money-handout expeditions the other day…
Quinn’s campaign operates out of a suite of rooms on the third floor. There’s not much furniture except for desks with papers strewn every which way. Campaign staffers’ names are taped to doors. I figure we’ll begin talking to Quinn when he’s done with his interview and comes inside.
Wrong. From a window we watch Quinn hop into a car and speed away. We are left to talk with Quinn’s key campaign staffers, all of whom seem to be about 25. We learn that the governor has gone to his offices on the 16th floor of the Helmut-Jahns designed James R. Thompson Centre at LaSalle and Randolph, for a meeting. We’ll meet him there in an hour.
The campaign people have fetched bagels and coffee for us. But they won’t be going with us today. Spokeswoman Mica Matsoff explains that we will be traveling with “Governor” Quinn, not “candidate” Quinn, so we’ll be accompanied by the governor’s official staff. Ethics rules require that never the twain shall meet, Mica explains.
Also, I’m thinking that “Governor” Quinn doesn’t have to use money from “candidate” Quinn’s campaign. Today’s trip, which looks a lot like a campaign, will be billed to taxpayers.
Go read the whole thing. It’s a good piece. Chuck learned something most of us who cover Quinn have long understood…
On the road I learn quickly that while I had to coax Brady into talking at length about anything on my road trip with him, rarely today will I get a word in edgewise. Quinn is a filibuster machine.
* Southtown: Merry Christmas! Another present right before Election Day
* Quinn Funnels Money to Belvidere Chrysler Plant
* Illinois sets aside $4 million for Embry-Riddle campus
* Belvidere Chrysler Future: Chrysler announced a huge investment to build more vehicles at the Belvidere plant and bump hundreds of part-time workers to full time status.
* Illinois helps secure Belvidere Chrysler plant’s future
* State making huge investment in Belvidere Chrysler plant
* State provides $32M for Joliet transportation hub