February 4, 2009
By Amanda Dahlquist
For many Illinoisans, a much needed turning point in the direction of state politics occurred last Thursday.
Governor Quinn meets with colleagues at the Capitol
The Illinois Senate, with a unanimous 59-0 vote, ousted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on Jan. 29, 2009, marking only the eight time in United States history that a state governor has been removed from office.
With Blagojevich out, Lieutenant Governor Patrick Joseph “Pat” Quinn was sworn in as the chief executive of Illinois. Quinn took the oath of office at 5:40 p.m. in an inauguration led by Illinois Supreme Court Associate Justice Anne Burke.
Quinn, who became the state's 41st governor, was a practicing tax attorney before entering public office. He had been lieutenant governor of the state since 2003, having been elected on the same ticket as Blagojevich.
Blagojevich faces federal corruption charges after an arrest on Dec. 9, 2008. The charges involve the conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and the solicitation of bribery. Specifically, one accusation faced by the former governor involves an attempt to sell the United States Senate seat vacated by President Obama.
Governor Quinn gives his first speech.
After boycotting the first three days of his impeachment trial, Blagojevich appeared on Jan. 29 to plead for a chance to bring witnesses in to testify on his behalf. His protests fell on deaf ears. The Illinois Senate voted on his removal from office, but also resolved to bar the former governor from future office within the state.
After his removal, Blagojevich announced to the press, “I love the people of Illinois today now more than I ever did before.”
In his first speech as Governor, Quinn declared, “I want to say to the people of Illinois, the ordeal is over... I think the people of the land of Lincoln are very, very proud of our elected representatives who reflected the will of the people.”