Illinois governor-elect stocks up on Daniels alums

Illinois Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner named a Democrat, a former Republican legislator, campaign workers and ex-employees of an Indiana governor to top staff and cabinet positions Saturday.

Rauner, a Republican who will take the oath as the 42nd Illinois governor on Monday, got a jump on areas that were crucial to his successful campaign last fall against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn: the state budget, economy and jobs, education and transportation.

The businessman from Winnetka says Daniels is the person he "studied under" and wants to emulate during his stint as chief executive.

Both are Republicans and successful businessmen. Like Rauner, Daniels inherited a budget shortfall when he took office in 2004, but he turned the deficit into a surplus, largely through spending cuts. Along the way, he privatized the Indiana Toll Road and angered labor unions by using an executive order to strip state workers of their power to collectively bargain.

Rauner reached across the party line in naming the Rev. James Meeks as chairman of the State Board of Education. Meeks was an education advocate as a Democratic member of the state Senate and is pastor of the 15,000-member Salem Baptist Church in Chicago.

Jason Barclay, announced in December as general counsel, was legal counsel to former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, whom Rauner wants to emulate. Barclay most recently has been a partner at the Indianapolis law firm Barnes & Thornburg. Two others Rauner named—David Wu as director of government transformation and Allie Bovis as deputy press secretary—also served under Daniels.

Rauner's budget director will be Tim Nuding, who's spent 25 years with Senate Republicans and is currently Minority Leader Christine Radogno's chief of staff.

Former GOP Rep. Jeff Mays, president of the Illinois Business Roundtable, will be director of the Department of Employment Security. He served five terms in the House of Representatives.

For the Department of Transportation, which has been criticized for improper hiring under Quinn, Randy Blankenhorn was tabbed as secretary. He has been executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Before that, he was a two-decade IDOT employee.

Rauner previously named Mike Zolnierowicz, his transition committee director, as his chief of staff. Other former Citizens for Rauner campaign staff workers who will continue serving the incoming governor include Richard Goldberg as deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs; Mike Schrimpf as deputy chief of staff for communications; and Aaron Winters, deputy chief of staff for policy.


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