CHICAGO — —
"Pat Quinn has always been a populist. That is right out of his playbook," said state Sen. Kirk Dillard, one of four candidates in the Republican gubernatorial primary. "But what is symbolic is that Pat's not getting a paycheck because he has never put forth a pension plan or led his own party."
A pension panel has been meeting to find a solution to the nearly $100 billion unfunded liability after the House and Senate deadlocked earlier this year. Quinn says he will appeal the judge's ruling on the salary withholding.
Quinn's friends and aides say he doesn't have many expenses. He doesn't own a flashy wardrobe and rotates the same half dozen ties at public events, aides say. His dining out during the day often includes McDonald's. He goes on dates with his longtime girlfriend, gave about $7,500 to charity last year and has season tickets to the White Sox, but points out that they're upper deck seats. The divorced father of two adults lives alone.
The governor learned to make do with what he has from his parents, a school secretary and Catholic cemetery manager who lived through the Great Depression, said Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson. His hobbies — reading at home, watching sports, walking — don't cost much.
"He's never played polo and doesn't intend to start," Anderson said. "How can anyone in Springfield justify a paycheck when job 1 is not done?"
Peter Newell, who worked for Quinn while he was lieutenant governor, said Quinn would "have the Super 8 (phone) number memorized." Newell said his time with Quinn has made doing business cheaply "engrained in my DNA."
When Quinn first took office in 2009 after his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, was expelled and later sentenced to prison for corruption charges, Quinn didn't order new stationery. He just crossed out Blagojevich's name on letterhead and business cards, said David Kolata, the head of Citizens Utility Board, which Quinn helped found.