socastcmsRssStartBy Greg Bishop | Illinois News NetworksocastcmsRssEnd
Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker has selected his transition team.
The team includes a former governor, a union leader, a social services professional and others.
“I am honored to be chairing the transition committee with a remarkable group of leaders who represent the diversity and strength of our state,” said Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton who is serving as chairwoman of the committee. “From day one, J.B. and I have made a commitment to making sure Illinoisans across the state have a seat at the table as we build an administration to put Springfield back on the side of working families.”
“[Pritzker] won in a landslide,” said state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills. “Nobody can argue with that. He has the ability to pick his own team, and that’s how I look at it.”
The team includes former Gov. Jim Edgar, who “brings decades of government experience to his role on the transition,” a release from Pritzker’s campaign said.
“During his time as governor, he eliminated a backlog of $1 billion of unpaid health care bills, provided income tax relief and left an unprecedented $1.5 billion in the treasury for his successor,” the Pritzker statement said of Edgar who serves as a co-chair.
Edgar, a Republican, is also a member of private financing group Illinois Financing Partners. Illinois Financing Partners is one of only a few companies to become a qualified buyer of state debt. The company buys state debt, pays the service and keeps the annual interest of up to 12 percent that the state is required to pay on past-due bills. The company has received nearly a billion dollars of group health debt.
McSweeney, who was unopposed in his re-election bid Tuesday, wouldn’t comment on any perceived conflict of interest.
“I really am not going to be critical of [Pritzker’s] personnel picks,” McSweeney said. “What I’m more interested in is what he actually does with his policies and that’s really going to be what I focus on in the future.”
As governor from 1991 to 1999, Edgar oversaw a change in pension funding that led to higher payments in later years that some blame for putting more strain on the state’s finances. The policy infamously became known as the "Edgar Ramp."
Another commission member is Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan, who has a long history with organized labor. He serves as the transition team’s co-chair.
Other committee members include co-chair Barbara Bowman, Co-Founder of the Erikson Institute and an Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development, who has a background in early childhood education. Sol Flores, who has a background in social services, also is on the team.
Also serving as a co-chair is Vistria Group LLC co-CEO Marty Nesbitt, who had served as an executive of the Pritzker Realty Group.
Transition committee staff includes Pritzker campaign manager Anne Caprara as chief of staff, former Democratic state Comptroller Dan Hynes, and Democratic state Rep. Christian Mitchell, among others.
Hynes was comptroller for three terms from 1998 through 2001. Mitchell is the executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
Others on the transition team are Michael Sacks, CEO of investment management firm GCM Grosvenor; Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners President Jesse Ruiz; and Pritzker campaign staffers Nikki Budzinski and Sean Rapelyea.
“The two people I know well are Sacks and Mitchell, two people that I’ve disagreed with on some things, but very good people,” McSweeney said. “If Pritzker wants to work with Republicans on bipartisan workers’ compensation reform, on property tax reform, real pension reform, then I’m more than happy to work with them, but I will oppose them on tax hikes and oppose them on a big expansion of government.”
In a concession speech Tuesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner promised to help with a smooth transition.
People interested in positions with the administration can apply online at jbandjulianatransition.com.