Mike Lawrence does not go back 200 years, but he has seen plenty of Illinois governors come and go. The press secretary in the Edgar administration, now retired from his job as director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, says the inaugural that really stands out to him is one from a man who served only one term as governor – Dan Walker, 42 years ago.
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“Gov. Walker, in his inaugural address, said, ‘The free ride is over,’” Lawrence says. “Legislators took umbrage at (the insinuation) that they were somehow enjoying a free ride, and he had trouble even with members of his own party, the Democrats, in advancing his agenda in the legislature.”
Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, who will be sworn in Monday, will be the first new governor with a full-fledged inauguration since Rod Blagojevich in 2003. Like Blagojevich, Rauner represents a change of party and, to the extent he has shared details of just what he will do as governor, an unknown quantity.
“I’m hoping that doesn’t bode ill for Bruce Rauner,” quips Lawrence on the parallel with the imprisoned ex-governor.