Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Do Something Country, Governor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gov. Pat Quinn is known for his love of country music. His favorite singer is George (“All My Exes Live In Texas”) Strait. When Martina McBride came to Chicago for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Quinn posed with her like a starstruck fan.

    There is an irony in Quinn’s choice of entertainment, because he’s not a very country guy. In fact, he may be the most urban governor in Illinois history. Last November, Quinn lost every county that contained a cow, a pig, a sheep, or a subscriber to “Outdoor Life.” Raised in the suburbs, a resident of Chicago, Quinn’s disconnect with rural life is striking. Gun control was a centerpiece of his campaign against Bill Brady, as Quinn reveled in the endorsement of anti-gun crusader Jim Brady. This year, he vowed to veto a conceal carry bill, if it came to his desk. Governor, that ain’t country.

    Quinn also vetoed a bill to allow Illinoisans to collect that redneck delicacy, roadkill, and sell the pelts (To quote Jeff Foxworthy, “if the main course at your potluck dinner is road kill, you might be a redneck.”) Quinn’s veto was overridden by the General Assembly. ’Cause they’re country.

    Now Quinn has one last chance to show he’s country. There’s a new gambling bill making its way through the Capitol. This one allows slots at racetracks. In rejecting the last gambling expansion bill, Quinn declared he would never allow the Illinois’s tracks to become mini-casinos. But sponsor Lou Lang left slots-and-tracks in the new bill, knowing it was necessary to win the support of country legislators who want to support the state’s breeding and veterinary industry. In other words, Pat Quinn is less country than a guy from Skokie!

    I wonder whether Quinn has ever ridden a horse. Even if he hasn’t, I’m sure he’s listened to “Beer for my Horses,” by Toby Keith, or “Tennessee Stud,” by Johnny Cash, or “Back in the Saddle Again,” by Gene Autry. His CD collection should have taught that horses are essential to the country lifestyle.

    Governor, for once in your life, do something country. Sign this new gambling bill.