Illinois Governor Taps Schools CEO for Running Mate
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has named former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas as his Democratic running mate for next year's election.
Vallas, an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002 against Rod Blagojevich, fills the vacancy on the ticket left by incumbent Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon's decision to run for state comptroller next year.
A new state law requires candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to run as a team before nominating petitions can be filed. Petition filing begins later this month.
"I've known Paul Vallas for 30 years and he's never been shy about fighting for education, reform and opportunities for working people," Quinn said in a statement. "We have made great progress these last few years, but serious challenges remain and our mission is not yet accomplished."
Quinn called Vallas "an independent problem solver with a proven record of reform."
Vallas said he was "honored to join forces with the strongest reform governor in the country."
After leaving CPS, Vallas headed public schools in Philadelphia, New Orleans and, most recently, Bridgeport, Conn. A Connecticut judge has ruled that Vallas did not hold the proper qualifications to be superintendent of the state's largest school system.
There also may be questions about Vallas' eligibility to run here. The state constitution requires statewide candidates to be Illinois residents for at least three years before the election. Voting records, however, indicate Vallas has been registered to vote from an address in Palos Heights since 2008. Vallas requested a 2010 Republican primary ballot, but did not actually vote, according to the Cook County Clerk's office.