It's been quite a year in Illinois politics. After a lively and contentious race for the governor's mansion, Gov. Pat Quinn was ousted by Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. When Rauner is sworn in as governor in two weeks, it'll be the first time a Republican has held the office in 12 years.
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We asked Illinois Public Radio's statehouse bureau chief Amanda Vinicky to give us the rundown of what happened in 2014, and how a new Republican administration could shift the dynamics in Springfield in 2015.
Though Rauner ran on the promise to "shake up Springfield," Vinicky notes that the party change in the governor's mansion was one of the only adjustments; Democrats in the General Assembly held onto their veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate in November, and down-ballot Republicans did not do as well as Rauner -- as in the case of the race for state treasurer. Weeks after Election Day, state Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) was finally declared the winner of that contest against former Republican House minority leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego).
Much was made of Democratic plans to extend the 2011 income tax hike, but the New Year will see that tax rate roll back, something Rauner will have to contend with as the state faces a gaping hole in its budget.
And what of Gov. Quinn? He's been around state government for four decades, in roles actually in government, or as an antagonistic gadfly, calling for good-government reform. Where will Quinn go after holding the state's highest office?