Quinn takes over as Illinois' 41st governor


Pat Quinn is now Governor of Illinois. He took the oath of office shortly after the senate voted unanimously to removed Rod Blagojevich from office.

Quinn had served for two terms under Blagojevich, but they had little in common. Quinn has said the two have not spoken in more than a year and Blagojevich said last year that Quinn wasn't even part of his administration. Quinn is a 60-year-old former state treasurer and tax attorney. He is best known for his grass-roots efforts to cut big government and protect the little guy.

The new governor said the state's problems demand honest leadership from officials and sacrifice from the public. Pat Quinn spoke publicly for the first time as governor Thursday evening and then signed his official oath of office. That gives him the authority to start acting as governor. Quinn said leaders must restore confidence in government. He mentioned the state's faltering economy and government's huge backlog of unpaid bills.

Quinn faces many challenges as governor. The state has a $3 billion budget deficit this year and a similar deficit next year. Hospitals and pharmacies that care for the poor aren't being paid on time. Unemployment is rising. Lawmakers and state financial officers planned to meet with Quinn Thursday night to get started. House Republican Leader Tom Cross says he thinks Quinn is capable of handling the steep learning curve he faces.

Quinn canceled former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's security detail. Quinn says Blagojevich's security detail ended when he arrived home from the state Capitol Thursday after he became a private citizen following the senate's vote.

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