Plane Politics

Blago takes state jet while other guvs fly commercial

Sure, the governor has a lot more to worry about than a flap over whether he should have used a state airplane to fly to the National Governor's Association meeting in Philadelphia this week. But after watching the CEOs of the Big 3 automakers get lambasted for flying private jets to Washington to see Congress, you'd think we'd all have this down by now.

"Is he just completely daft?" Rich Miller wrote on The Capital Fax Blog.

"Just days after shuttering several state parks and historic sites and asking for understanding from Illinoisans amid bleak economic times, Gov. Rod Blagojevich took his taxpayer-provided aircraft to Philadelphia to tell fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama how bad things are in the state they both live in," the Daily Heraldreported. "His use of the state airplane has often been criticized. He routinely uses it to commute from Chicago to the Capitol on the days he works in Springfield, leaving in the morning and flying back to Chicago at night."

"Maybe it's a hybrid jet," Illinois Reviewsays.

Blagojevich has at least some company among the nation's governors, though., out of Ohio, looking at their own governor's travels, decided to do a national survey.

"A check of state offices across the U.S. found many governors flew on a commercial plane," the site found. "California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, flew on a private jet, but paid his own way. New Jersey's governor took a train and the governor of Michigan drove . . . The governors of Montana and Nebraska flew to the east coast on a commercial plane; North Dakota and West Virginia state executives took private jets; and the governors of Wyoming and South Dakota didn't make the trip.

"In all, 11 governors took a commercial flight, eight flew on a state plane, officials in Kentucky and Mississippi said their governors flew on a plane but wouldn't specify whether it was a private or commercial jet, and five governors didn't go.There were 22 state offices that did not return our phone calls."

No word from Alaska, but rumor has it the governor up there put the state plane on eBay. Maybe she was ahead of her time.

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