“Governors want to project a sense that they’re in charge, and that the state’s moving in the right direction, and there are things to talk about besides huge budget deficits and financial crisis. That’s been pretty hard to do,” says Kent Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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Quinn in the spotlight, though, does not evoke images of predecessors Jim Thompson or Jim Edgar, says Redfield. “You had a sense of someone being in charge and being able to use the office … This governor has not, up to this point, been able to use the office in ways that build public confidence – or confidence within the members of the legislature.” In a number of recent years, governors have chosen to combine the State of the State and budget messages. Redfield says those are years in which there has not been much good news. An e-mail from the governor’s office reminds us there are two speeches by law, and combining them is supposed to be the exception and not the rule. Last year’s inauguration address, the e-mail continues, substituted for the State of the State.