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January 13, 2003

Blagojevich Names Broad-Based, Bipartisan Board of Advisers, Transition Team
Former Governor James Thompson to play prominent transition role; David Wilhelm to lead transition team -- Blagojevich to reject $250,000 in state funds budgeted for transition

RELEASE DATE: December 3, 2002

CHICAGO - Governor-elect Rod Blagojevich announced a 26-person Transition Advisory Council today comprised of a cross-section of Illinois business and labor leaders, educators, academics, clergy, health care professionals and elected officials.

The broad-based group announced today will be led by two Co-Chairmen, including former Governor James R. Thompson, a signal that Blagojevich will reach across party lines and build bipartisan consensus to meet the challenges facing the state of Illinois.

Joining Thompson as Co-Chair is Margaret Blackshere, President of the Illinois AFL-CIO, the first female president of the state federation. Serving as Vice-Chairs of the Advisory Council are Roland Burris, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, State Representative Jay Hoffman and Mary Lee Leahy.

"This distinguished group of Illinois leaders represents the diversity of our state, but they have one vital quality in common: a desire to confront our state’s challenges and move Illinois forward," Blagojevich said.

The Advisory Council will meet on a regular basis to advise the governor-elect on policy, personnel and all elements of an efficient transition. The group is comprised of leaders from the private sector as well as government. Other members include Jacklyn Naughton, an award-winning teacher at Niles North High School; Sona Wang, a leader in the venture capital industry; Mary Nelson, the President of Bethel New Life; and Doug Scott, the Mayor of Rockford.

"I thank this distinguished group of Illinois leaders for their dedication to serving our state. I look forward to their advice and counsel. I am particularly honored that Governor Thompson has agreed to contribute his expertise and I will regularly look to him for his thoughts on how to effectively serve the people of our state," Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich also announced today that he will reject the $250,000 in the state budget for transition expenses and fund the transition effort out of campaign funds. He will accept no taxpayer-dollars for his transition effort.

"Leaders should sacrifice first during these tough budget times. I will insist the Governor’s office – beginning with our transition efforts -- sets the pace in our state for austerity and efficiency," Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich also officially named a 14-person transition team that has already begun full-time work coordinating all elements of the transition effort. Leading the transition effort are Transition Team Director David Wilhelm and Transition Team Deputy Director Senator Carol Ronen.

Other key members of the transition team include Personnel Director Alonzo Monk, Communications and Policy Director Doug Scofield, Political Director Jay Hoffman, Logistics Director Brian Daly, Director of Public Outreach Louanner Peters, Press Secretary Billy Weinberg, and Policy Directors Deanne Benos and Deborah Stone.

Blagojevich also named an Inaugural Committee today comprised of Chair Chris Kelly, Vice-Chair Leslie Fox, Executive Director Kelly Glynn and Inaugural Director Talia Stein.

"I have given every individual involved in this important transition effort one clear requirement: remember that the people of Illinois have demanded change. The people we have named today are as diverse as the state of Illinois but must be united in fulfilling the people’s mandate to end business as usual in state government. Today signal’s the beginning of an aggressive, non-stop effort to move Illinois forward and shake up the status quo," Blagojevich said.


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