Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New governor to live in Springfield, while family remains in Chicago

Excuse me for thinking it a non-issue in terms of recent reports that Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker says he intends to live in the Illinois capital city while serving in office.
PRITZKER: Moving to Springfield

The state does, after all, provide an official residence for the governor – the Executive Mansion, located one block away from the Capitol building in Springfield.

IN FACT, THE state in recent years performed significant renovations on the governor’s mansion, with some people going so far as to point out rather sarcastically that soon-to-be former Gov. Bruce Rauner kicked in some of his own money for the project, just to improve a house for his successor.

As though that makes the current governor the ultimate sucker!

But Pritzker says he’ll move to Springfield, although he admits his wife and two sons will remain in Chicago – they’re still in school and he doesn’t want to disrupt their lives, he says. Besides, the mansion is actually a series of formal ballrooms, with a private quarters on the top floor. Basically, it’s an over-glorified apartment.

Which is a fact I’m sure will manage to offend many of the people whom Pritzker was probably hoping to pacify with his residential announcement. Because there are people who are going to think anything short of the entire Pritzker family loading up the moving van to haul their belongings to Springfield is nothing more than a snub of the Illinois capital.
A Lincoln Park resident while governor

IT IS ONE of the laughable issues I recall from my days as a Springfield-based correspondent – downstate people convinced that everything had to be based downstate, and who resented those state agencies that maintained significant Chicago presences.

These are the people who were bothered by former Govs. James Thompson living with his wife and kid in a Lincoln Park neighborhood mansion, Rod Blagojevich eventually trying to run the entire state from a private office he maintained in his Ravenswood Manor neighborhood home, and Pat Quinn only occasionally staying in the mansion when not at home in the Austin neighborhood.
He rarely left Ravenswood Manor

Of course, even Jim Edgar wound up having a home in the Springfield suburbs (the “log house,” a home done up in a log cabin motif), while also maintaining an apartment in downtown Chicago for those days when his work brought him to the city.

If anything, George Ryan may have been the recent governor who made the best effort to get around the state – living in a Chicago apartment, the mansion in Springfield and spending weekends at his family home in Kankakee.
A West Sider (Austin neighborhood)

MEANING HE’D MAKE a complete circle around Illinois every single week!

As for Pritzker, he’ll use the mansion as a job-related residence, although we probably should expect he’ll be making many back-and-forth trips between Chicago and Springfield.

Which will bother those who want to think Illinois centers around Springfield – even though I’d argue the realities of the modern world mean we probably should have governors who are mobile and traveling about the state. The idea that he’s supposed to sit behind a desk inside the Capitol and never leave Springfield would be evidence of a governor not doing his job.
RAUNER: Helped renovate the mansion

Just as it can be argued that having a governor like Blagojevich who would have preferred never to have left his house was evidence alone that the job was not being done properly back in his gubernatorial era.

WHAT AMAZES ME is that some people will be willing to make an issue of all this – either that the governor never spends time in Springfield, or else is there far too often and neglecting the rest of the state’s needs.
RYAN: Actually lived around Ill.

You’d think with all the issues, financial and social, that confront Illinois government these days, there’d be far more important things for people to concern them about.

But then again, some people will want to find something to gripe about – no matter what.

Just as they’ll want to move along to the other statewide constitutional officers, who are required by law to maintain a residence in Springfield – even though the state makes no provision for their own housing. Just think how they’d moan if the state budget also included provisions for, say, an Illinois attorney general mansion?


No comments: