Gov. Pat Quinn, whose time in office ends today (Monday), says he had a productive six years in office. Quinn, who took office at the depth of the Great Recession in 2009, says boosting employment was his priority, and he succeeded: Unemployment was 8 percent at the time, but it was on the way up to over 10 percent by 2011. Now it’s 6.4 percent.
He says the capital construction program was a key. “If you’re going to recover in as tough a recession as we had, the deepest recession in my lifetime, you couldn’t just run in place. You had to make investments, and you had to get the funding for those investments. It was a $31 billion program that has produced over 400,000 jobs across Illinois,” he said in a farewell speech this week.
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The construction program resulted in 8,980 miles of roads, 1,475 bridges and 1,050 schools built or repaired. Money was also used for state universities and community colleges, rail systems, water system and for a housing program for veterans.
Quinn also claims credit for getting the mentally ill and developmentally disabled out of institutional care, record tourism numbers, same-sex marriage and the end of the death penalty.