Quinn expresses full confidence in running mate, Sheila Simon

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn introduced lieutenant governor candidate Sheila Simon at the Illini Union Pine Lounge on Monday.

Despite delays in transportation, Quinn and Simon arrived at the University to a crowd of about 100 people at about 2:30 p.m. on their fourth stop in a six-city fly-around that began in Chicago Monday morning.

In her speech, Simon spoke about her enthusiasm for being a part of Gov. Quinn’s re-election campaign.

“I’m really proud to be a part of this campaign and associated with this guy (Quinn),” Simon said.

“He’s someone who is straightforward and tackles problems even when it’s the unpopular thing to do.”

Quinn and Simon were greeted with enthusiasm and applause from most who came out for the event including State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-103, State Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-52, and several members of the Illinois Student Senate.

Quinn expressed confidence in his running mate and said he is honored to be on the same ticket as Simon. He said her background makes her a strong candidate for lieutenant governor.

“Her record stands for itself,” Quinn said. “Sheila is perfectly capable of helping lead our state as lieutenant governor.”

Simon is not new to the political scene, as she comes from a family with a history in government. Her father, Paul Simon, is a former Illinois lieutenant governor and U.S. Senator.

Quinn said he has known Simon for over 25 years and said her family has been an inspiration to him throughout his life.

“When I was in college, Paul Simon got sworn in as lieutenant governor and I have always admired his career and his family as well,” he said.

Quinn added that similar views between him and Simon will help if they are elected.

“She and I have the same kind of progressive philosophy about helping people using the power of government,” he said. “We the people make sure we make life better for ordinary people who don’t have lobbyists or big shots on their side.”

Both Quinn and Simon addressed several issues during their speeches, including the importance of funding education in the state.

Quinn said a one percent tax surcharge would help address funding issues for education.

“If we get that money, it’s over $300 billion, we can pay the bills that are owed to the educational institutions, we can preserve the MAP (Monetary Award Program) grant programs to make sure we have dedicated funding for the MAP grant,” Quinn said. “We can also make sure we pay for early childhood education and everything else that comes with education. I’m the education governor and I want to stay that way.”

Before the governor and his running mate’s arrival, Jakobsson and Frerichs spoke and expressed excitement for the lieutenant governor candidate.

“I think it’s exciting to know that we’ve got someone with her background and her interests,” Jakobsson said. “The kinds of issues that are important to her, I believe are the kinds of issues that are important to us here in this room.”

David Wall, vice president-external for ISS and sophomore in LAS, also spoke before Quinn and Simon’s arrival.

“Personally as a student, I think having a progressive candidate secures the rights of all students and all citizens,” Wall said. “I believe that education is a right. It is a necessity for us to grow. During this recession, this economic downturn, education is more important now than it ever has been.”

Carey Ash, graduate student who has worked with Gov. Quinn on the reinstatement of MAP grants, spoke alongside Quinn and Simon. He said he believes both the governor and his running mate will be dedicated in maintaining the quality of education in the state.

“Our governor understands one very important fact; that education is key to our future,” Ash said.