Five years ago, Sheila Simon was an SIU law professor with a famous name and experience as a city council member in Carbondale. Now she is preparing to leave the lieutenant governor’s office. Illinois Democrats appointed her to the ballot after a pawnbroker with a record of domestic violence was nominated in the primary and was urged to drop out. That episode led to a new law in which candidates for governor and lieutenant governor are yoked in the primary season.
Click here for summary
Simon’s departure from state government follows her decision not to seek another term as lieutenant governor and run instead for comptroller. She lost but claims no regrets.
“You enter every election knowing that there are two possibilities,” Simon says. “I’m glad I was a participant.”
She counts awareness of preparedness for college as a high point of her tenure as lieutenant governor, saying she surprised even herself to learn that math education – or, more appropriately, the lack thereof – is a barrier to college success. She says between students, parents, and schools, every college-bound student should know to take four years of math.
As for Simon's successor, Lt. Gov.-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti – who, like many in the circle of Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, keeps a low public profile – she says, “Now’s the time to get to know (Sanguinetti). Let’s see what happens, and, as I always did during my term, wish that the governor has very good health and continues to stay fit and active.”
Simon won’t contribute to the bromide of the lieutenant governor’s office being the seat of boredom: “Anyone who thinks this is a boring position is uninspired,” she says.
And, somewhere, Dave O’Neal’s ears are burning. Maybe Bob Kustra’s, too.