Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Pat Quinn Sidekick Profile: Megan Drilling

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Megan Drilling is new to this Illinois politics thing, but she’s already mastered its most important art: nepotism.

    To wit: to publicize her long-shot candidacy for lieutenant governor, Drilling published an Op-Ed in LGBT newspaper Windy City Times. The paper is edited by her cousin.

    You’ve got to start somewhere. That somewhere for Drilling is to make the short list -- the Sweet 17 -- for prospective Lt. Gov. nominees. Quinn chooses his running mate Saturday.

    Drilling has never run for office, or even gone to a family reunion with someone who’s run for office. She’s never met Governor Quinn, her prospective running mate, although “I’m hoping to see him on Saturday,” when the lieutenant governor nominee’s name is announced in Springfield.

    However, she does think they’ll make a better couple than Blagojevich and Quinn did. She wants to help the governor close the state’s $13 billion deficit and lift the public schools ranking higher than 35-th in the nation.

    “I think we’ve learned from the Blagojevich/Quinn era,” says Drilling, a project manager from Glenview. “I don’t think they talked to each other. The lieutenant governor should be able to go out and bring the governor’s message to the state.”

    So why should the Central Committee choose someone who’s not, you know, connected?

    “I think my only glimmer of hope to be chosen is that the Central Committee and Michael Madigan and Governor Quinn are saying, ‘We’re tired of the professional politicians, we need some fresh blood,” said Drilling. “The professional politicians have been there, haven’t they?”

    Drilling has always wanted to go into politics, but she doesn’t own a pawn shop, so she couldn’t afford a statewide campaign. Once she applied to be LG, the party wanted to make sure she didn’t have anything else in common with Scott Lee Cohen. Some of the questions they asked:

    -- Have you ever used performance enhancing substances, including steroids, human growth hormone or amphetamines, except under the legal care of a doctor? (Drilling answer: no)

    -- Have you ever been reprimanded at a business? (Drilling answer: yes. When she was an intern at an architecture firm, a partner “verbally reprimanded” her while waving a highlighter in her face. She was written up for talking back.)

    If Drilling doesn’t get the nod, she’ll remain an obscure suburban woman. And if she does get the nod … she’ll remain an obscure suburban woman. Recently, Drilling came across the name of the first woman to hold the lieutenant governor’s job. It was a name from a long-ago era when Republicans ruled Illinois.

    “I had kind of forgotten about Corinne Wood,” she says.

    Wood left office seven years ago. And in Drilling's defense, Wood was only lieutenant governor.