Note from Illinois Channel: Interestingly, when the Illinois Channel got reaction to Gov Quinn's Budget Address, Sen. Garrett was critical of the Governor's proposed tax increase, and said she favored an approach that would first look to cut more waste.
Posted by Rick Pearson and Ray Long at 7:59 p.m. Thursday night 3/18/10
Veteran suburban lawmaker Sen. Susan Garrett has emerged as a leading choice of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn to become his running mate, top party sources familiar with the discussions said today.
The 60-year-old from Lake Forest shares Quinn’s liberal views, and the governor believes she could help articulate his message as the lieutenant governor candidate in what’s already a contentious general election battle, said the sources, who asked not to be named so they don’t pre-empt Quinn.
Garrett acknowledged that she was contacted Sunday by the governor’s chief of staff, Jerry Stermer, about her interest in the post, then met privately with Quinn this week. Garrett said Thursday that she’s submitting an application to the Web site Democrats have set up for prospective lieutenant governor nominees.
The senator said she would bring an independence to the office, along with her promotion of ethics reforms at the Illinois Toll Highway Authority, clean water issues, health care and job creation.
“I’ve often thought that sometimes, as a legislator, you can go so far, but maybe as a constitutional officer, you might be able to have more say into how reforms are made,” Garrett said. “In this case, you have the ear of the governor.”
Garrett’s interest in the job comes as the Democratic State Central Committee prepares to interview candidates for the vacant job Saturday. Chicago pawnbroker Scott Lee Cohen won the Feb. 2 primary but stepped down amid revelations about his personal life. The 38-member panel is scheduled to pick a replacement March 27 in Springfield.
Garrett, whose state Senate seat is not up for election this fall, is a member of Democratic Senate President John Cullerton’s leadership team. Prior to entering the Senate in 2003, she served four years in the House.
Garrett also has been an outspoken advocate on women’s issues, a demographic in which Quinn suffered some problems in his narrow primary in over Comptroller Dan Hynes for the Democratic governor nomination. A Tribune poll before the primary found Quinn with only a 38 percent job approval rating among female voters.
Republican governor candidate Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington is a conservative who has opposed abortion rights and expanded health coverage for women. Those views are considered a potential liability, particularly among moderate women in the still heavily Republican suburbs.