Pat Quinn was raised in Hinsdale, Ill., and now lives in Chicago. He earned a bachelor's in economics at Georgetown University and a law degree at Northwestern University.
Quinn has spent most of his career in government and public activism, working for Gov. Dan Walker and Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, and also leading petition drives to reduce the size of the Illinois Legislature and change the way lawmakers are paid. In 1982, he was elected to the Cook County Board of Tax Appeals.
He was elected state treasurer in 1990, but lost a bid for secretary of state in 1994. He was twice elected lieutenant governor and then elevated to governor in January 2009, when the Illinois Senate voted unanimously to remove Rod Blagojevich from office for corruption and abuse of power.
Quinn is divorced and has two sons.
Pat Quinn took over a state in crisis when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached and thrown out of office. After struggling to get his balance, Quinn won a full term as governor in 2010 and began an intense period of activity.
He helped pass an income tax increase, legalization of civil unions, significant spending cuts, elimination of the death penalty and an overhaul of the state's workers' compensation system.
With state government's finances still a mess, Quinn wants to close state facilities, such as prisons, and cut retirement benefits for government employees. This comes after an earlier attempt to layoff union employees after taking a no-layoffs pledge.
Quinn has also proposed deep cuts in health care services to the poor and in payments to doctors and hospitals. This would be paired with a $1-a-pack increase in cigarette taxes. His goal is to make up a $2.7 billion shortfall in Medicaid funding.
Quinn endorsed gay marriages in May 2012 and said he would work with legislators to make them legal in Illinois.
Quinn has referred to himself as "the accidental governor" because he was thrust into office when lawmakers ousted Blagojevich. Quinn suddenly found himself dealing with the biggest budget deficit in Illinois history, a weak economy and the public's lack of confidence in the state government's competence and honesty.
Quinn was chosen by voters to run alongside Blagojevich in 2002 and 2006, but the two men were never close politically. During their second term, differences over ethics and tax proposals prompted Quinn to attack the governor and lead efforts to create a recall mechanism that would let voters remove unpopular politicians.
He won his own term in 2010 by defeating Republican state Sen. Bill Brady, who opposed raising taxes and argued Quinn mismanaged the budget after taking office in 2009. Brady portrayed Quinn as an extension of Blagojevich.
To face Brady, Quinn had to win the Democratic nomination in a bruising battle with Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes. Hynes accused Quinn of endangering the public with an early release program for prison inmates that improperly included violent offenders. He also dug up old footage of Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington, criticizing Quinn and saying he was wrong to have hired Quinn for a job in his administration.
Quinn first made his mark in Illinois politics with a series of populist campaigns aimed at lawmakers and utility companies during the 1970s and '80s. He led efforts to change an old policy of letting lawmakers collect a full year's salary on the Legislature's first day in session, and he passed an amendment reducing the number of House members by one-third. Quinn also helped establish the Citizens Utility Board to speak for consumers on issues such as electricity rates.
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Recent winning percentages for office currently held: 47% (2010).
(Last updated by Christopher Wills on May 14, 2012.)