SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Pat Quinn, who after four decades in politics and government service stepped into governor’s office when his predecessor was ousted for corruption, returned to the state Capitol Monday to unveil his formal portrait.
The 68-year-old Democrat donated to the Hall of Governors its first “interactive” painting, with illustrations of significant people and events from his past which visitors can research later at home or on the spot with a smartphone.
The painting features Quinn, wearing his “lucky” purple-striped tie, standing in front of a background of 44 “found items” representing key people, issues and events from four decades of public work. It was created by Illinois artist William Chambers, who also created the images of Republican Govs. James Thompson and Jim Edgar.
“As we look at all these portraits of men who were elected to lead the state of Illinois, it’s important to remember all of the men and women whose votes brought them into office,” Quinn said. “We hope to remind visitors that, in a democracy, the highest office is the office of citizen, and that all of us have a responsibility to participate in our government.”
Quinn, who conducted his own private fundraising campaign to finance the painting, served from January 2009, after ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached for corruption and ejected from office, until 2015.
One of the found items in the painting is a photo of Quinn signing legislation for an advisory ballot referendum on a minimum-wage increase while surrounded by supporters, many of them racial or ethnic minorities. Quinn noted the photo is the first to appear in a portrait in the Hall of Governors, covering 197 years of executive leadership. Those in the photo with him stood to applause when he introduced them.
There’s a wedding-day photo of his father, Patrick, and mother, Eileen, whom the ex-governor pointed out was born before women’s suffrage. But most of the items recall milestones in Quinn’s public life, including his advocacy for Illinois military families, his work on a $31 billion capital construction program just after he took office during a deep recession, expansion of the earned income tax credit for low-income working families, and his signing same-sex marriage into law.
Each is explained on the “Governor Quinn Portrait ” website. With the Thyng app, pointing a smartphone at the portrait will automatically launch a video describing some of the items.
The 41st governor’s portrait joins 39 others in the north wing of the Capitol’s second floor. Absent is that of No. 40, Blagojevich. In 2010, as governor, Quinn signed legislation barring the use of tax dollars to subsidize the portrait of any governor removed from office.
Public money had traditionally been used to help finance portraits. The last one hung, that of Republican George Ryan - who also spent time in federal prison for corruption but was not convicted until after leaving office - cost $15,000.
Quinn lost a bid for re-election in 2014 to incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Contact Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/john%20oconnor
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