Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner has appointed two new members of his incoming administration: Jason Barclay as general counsel and Kathy Lydon to lead his Washington office.
Rauner confirmed the hires Thursday, saying in a press release: "Jason and Kathy will both bring invaluable experience and expertise to the governor's office. Jason has a top flight legal and strategic mind and brings a deep understanding of how one (of) the country's most successful governor's offices operated. Kathy already has relationships with our Congressional delegation and knows how to navigate the federal government as well as anyone in Illinois. Most importantly, both are committed to transforming Illinois and making it the most compassionate and competitive state in the nation."
Background on the two: Barclay is a hotshot trial lawyer and partner at the Indiana-headquartered firm Barnes & Thornburg; previously he served as legal counsel to ex-Indy Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, a job where he displayed a "sharp focus on public ethics," according to the Rauner release. As for Lydon, she was chief of staff to former Illinois GOP congresswoman Judy Biggert for a 14-year stretch following stints at the U.S. State Department and in the office of the late Sen. Charles Percy.
Rauner, a Republican, will officially replace Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn on Jan. 12, the day of his swearing-in. He announced his transition team days after winning November's statewide election, vowing to include advisers with diverse experience, backgrounds and points of view. While Lydon has a long resume within the tangled web of Illinois politics, Barclay—just one state away—certainly counts as an outsider here. That bringing-in-of-new-blood is another sign of Rauner's distaste for government-as-it-were, as endlessly emphasized in his 2014 campaign slogan to "Shake Up Springfield."